The Plano Child Development Center is the creation of Drs. Robert Johnson and Henry Moore.  Practicing in Chicago, these two optometrists were devoted to helping children, especially those with learning-related vision problems.  They were continually frustrated by their inability to provide services to economically disadvantaged children, especially minority children.  In 1965, their forward-thinking flash-of-brilliance solution was the establishment of a multidisciplinary not-for-profit organization: the Plano Child Development Center.

Today, as Plano’s Executive Director, Dr. Stephanie Johnson-Brown is building on the foundation that her father laid down and taking the Plano Center to new heights.  She embraces the philosophy that was always at the core of her father’s practice:  “Most people are born with the potential for good eyesight. However, vision — the ability to identify, process, and understand what is seen — is learned and developed, beginning at birth.  The Plano program is based on behavioral optometry, which entails the total vision information processing system and its relationship to learning and development. When problems are identified that relate to vision development, the cause may not necessarily be related to eyesight.”

Plano’s mission is to identify, evaluate and treat economically disadvantaged children who have under-developed and/or inefficient vision information processing systems.  Last year, Plano provided in-office vision testing and vision therapy to over 220 patients. Although Plano’s customary fee for vision therapy is significantly less than average, they were able to provide services to about 23% of their patients on a sliding fee scale.  By participating in community-based programs such as Communities in Schools and VSP’s Sight for Students, Plano provided comprehensive vision exams to over 700 preschool and school aged students and vision screenings to more than 400 participants at various health fairs.  Community service vision awareness workshops reached over 250 persons.

One of Plano’s biggest fans is Larry Fitzgerald, pro-bowl wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals!  Larry is the grandson of Dr. Robert Johnson, and the nephew of Dr. Stephanie Johnson-Brown, and he understands first-hand the power of Plano’s philosophy.  His grandfather recognized his visual problems and enrolled him in a vision therapy program.  Aunt Stephanie has also helped him enhance his visual skills.  Now you know the secret of his success as an elite athlete—VISION THERAPY!!.

Why is it called the Plano Child Development Center?  Plano is the designation of a lens with no power.  It is neutral.  It is not black or white, plus or minus.  Drs. Johnson and Moore conceived of Plano as a place where all people could be served– without regard to color, age, or economic status.

Plano Development Center will be celebrating all they have accomplished this past year and reaffirming their dedication to their mission tomorrow, October 18 at their 38th Annual Vision Care Benefit.   Join me in saying thank you to the Plano Child Development Center and their tireless work on behalf of the children (and even the grown-ups) of Chicagoland.

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