As a parent, very few things are as painful as watching your children struggle through the early years of academic life. At times, my daughter was unable to self-regulate her emotions, which led to generally not fitting in very well with her peers. Listening to various doctors and friends’ advice, I did a variety of different things to try to break the pattern for her, including changing her diet, getting her a tutor, modifying her curriculum, therapy, medication, visits to neurologists and psychologists to formulate behavioral modification plans, social workers, me volunteering more time at her school, etc. While many of these steps improved her overall standing, it still didn’t address some of the root causes, and I was made to feel like I failed my child in the end.
Several years ago, I discovered vision therapy and became aware of the benefits of it. My eye doctor, who was also a developmental optometrist, often shared stories about her successes with practicing it, and how it truly benefited her patients. I had no idea this even existed, of course, but I soon began to wonder if this was the missing piece to what my daughter may have needed earlier in her life.
In the years since then, I had an ear surgery that left me with some very nauseating motion sickness. The ear surgery exacerbated a condition I had already had since childhood, and while it generally got better, it never truly “went away” fully. My eye doctor recommended I do some vision therapy exercises to help with the lingering motion sickness, and once I did, I was surprised at how big an impact it had for me. The experience intrigued me and it led to me wanting to learn more about it.
Not only did I learn more about the amazing benefits of vision therapy, but I also decided that I wanted to have an impact on others’ lives as well, so I became a vision therapist. I no longer carry the guilt of letting my daughter down, because I see her in so many of my students and it drives me to help them. Taking that energy and passion, I help my students feel confident, cared for, and I help them understand that they’re not alone. It has been a joy to watch so many kids develop that passion for reading that they didn’t have before vision therapy, seeing how excited they get to check their next book out at the library. It’s extremely heartwarming to me when someone shares with me that they’re now testing at grade level for reading, when prior to vision therapy they had never done so before.
It’s such a relief, too, when a student shares with me how they’ve used our techniques to conquer their motion sickness. And it’s a privilege to sit next to a parent and witness their relief and joy when they're told that their child’s visual skills have reached the normal range and they’ve achieved the goals we set for them, because I know how hard those kids have worked and I know how much it will benefit them the rest of their lives.
Being a Vision Therapist has been a rewarding job that has taught me so much about compassion, kindness, perseverance, relationships, and patience. I'm thankful for this opportunity that I’ve been given and I'm looking forward to continuing to change lives, two eyes at a time.