So it looks like vision therapy is in our future. And I learned something new that I want to share. Take it or leave it, you won’t hurt my feelings. I never thought about this but it makes perfect sense and, had I thought of it (duh moment) things might be different.
(Background)The little brick’s eyes don’t work together. Two years ago we noticed it and also discovered he was slightly nearsighted. We got him glasses and went in for a follow up at the 3-4 month point. Things looked better. His eyes, while not perfect, were better. Fast forward a year, this would be last April, and we go in for the annual eye exam. The doc notices that the little brick’s eyes are still not working together as well as they could be and that he has gotten slightly more near sighted. We talk about school, reading, academics in general, functional vision and all sorts of things. The doc and I agree that we will hold off on a vision therapy evaluation.
Enter current time. About a month ago I called a Student Study Team meeting to talk about spelling issues I have noticed that are not improving and some small issues with reading—specifically with the effort involved. The little brick reads at grade level (actually just above) but really has to concentrate and he seems to have difficulty with the same new words in a passage over and over. The school system tells me that since the MD (Developmental Pediatrician) says he “does not meet the full criteria for Dyslexia” and vision services in the school system only address acuity issues, there is nothing they can do and they refer me to a vision evaluation. Conveniently the vision therapy doc in our area is our regular eye doctor. So I booked an appointment ready to go back to the school and raise all he*# as I proved them wrong.
Nope! I ate a bunch of humble pie (thankfully I had not made a big stink with the school—whew!). Turns out, after a full eye exam and 2 hours of vision assessment, his eyes are not still working together and have gotten considerably worse. He has difficulty with convergence and his brain actually shuts off the weaker/problematic eye because his brain sees that as a better option than seeing double. He has also gotten more nearsighted. Sigh….
Now we have to find out if the vision therapy will be a covered medical expense that we can count toward our deductible and then get covered…but that we can work out, we Autism families have a way of finding the money somewhere.
(Here is the Warning) It turns out that the use of the iPad has exacerbated the vision problems. Using an iPad (or similar device like handheld games, iPod, tablet, etc) causes a narrowing of the field of vision and reduces the eyes ability to move and work together. In a child with no vision issues, (like our older son) this would probably not be a problem, but in the little brick, who already had some issues, the use of the iPad made it worse. In hindsight (no pun intended) this makes perfect sense and I should have thought of it, or at least thought to ask about it, but with all the “stuff” we think about daily and all the concerns that are in the forefront of life this didn’t occur to us. Thankfully it is still early and the doc feels good about a prognosis.
As I said, you will not hurt my feelings if you disregard this post, but I felt the need to share. One of my motivations for starting a blog was to network, inform other families on things I had learned and get information from others on things they have learned. Needless to say we will now be seriously limiting the use of the little brick’s iPad. He is watching YouTube on the TV as I type this now. Thankfully, I do not watch much TV so the new viewing habits won’t impact me! Daddy brick on the other hand….well we’ll see.