Hannah once excelled in all things learning-related. Through first grade, she was academically and socially talented, and her parents Scot and Mandy got nothing but good feedback from her teachers.

But when the next school year started, so did Hannah’s struggles, culminating in a significant drop in her grades in the 3rd grade. Homework that should have taken her an hour or less started taking two or three, usually accompanied by temper tantrums and tears. “I can’t tell you how many tear-stained assignments she turned in,” her parents recall, “We tried tutors and after-school programs for her over the next year or so but did not see a significant improvement.”

Luckily for the family, Hannah’s grandmother is a learning disabilities teacher and knew exactly how to recognize struggles in school. While she watched Hannah read, she noticed that her eyes were not moving in straight lines (tracking) across the pages and immediately brought this to the attention of Hannah’s parents. She recommended they see a local developmental optometrist who conducted a comprehensive exam, revealing obvious deficiencies in some of the child’s visual skills. Vision therapy was recommended and the family decided to give it a try.

After some initial concerns about fitting vision therapy sessions into their already-busy life, Scot and Mandy opted for the 7:00 AM slot, which ended up being the best time for Hannah, too. Working on her visual skills first thing in the morning while well-rested and ready to go meant she responded well and even ended up looking forward to her sessions.

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Hannah works on a vision therapy activity called Space Fixation. This works on her eye movements, motor planning, and timing. 

Vision therapy started at the end of 4th grade for Hannah and continued over the summer, finishing a few months into her 5th grade year. In that time, she increased her reading grade level by almost 2 years and her grades overall have improved as well. Once a cause of yelling and crying, Hannah does most of her homework on her own now without being asked. The benefits have extended outside the classroom, too–her parents say “overall, Hanna’s attitude has improved and she is a more happy, confident, and loving kid.”

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Hannah’s graduation from vision therapy

Do you think your child may be struggling with an undiagnosed vision problem affecting learning, just like Hannah? August is Vision & Learning Month to raise awareness of these issues, just in time to head back to school. Schedule a comprehensive exam  with a behavioral optometrist today to ensure your child has every opportunity to live up to their potential!

 

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