The 2017 Annual Meeting may be over, but there’s still so much to talk about! For the newest Fellows and COVTs who earned their certifications this year, this past Meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, is sure to be one that they never forget. 

In order to continue to honor their outstanding effort and commitment, we reached out to each of these newly-certified optometrists and vision therapists to bring you the “WHY” (and how and where!) of their certification process. This week, we bring you Amanda Dorn, COVT’s story!

Where are you now?

  • Where do you practice/work?
    I work in Strasburg Pennsylvania at Comprehensive Rehabilitation Group, formerly known as Advanced Vision Therapy. Dr. Robert Lauver, FCOVD is my referring Doctor and I have been at this practice for five years. We currently have two full-time COVTs (including me) and one part-time vision therapist who is working toward her certification. During my days here in the office, I see patients as young as 2 years and as old as 90. I particularly enjoy working with children who are struggling with school and daily activities, as seeing the success of a child is extremely rewarding.

How did you get involved with VT?

About five years ago, while in school full time studying psychology, I applied to work as an optician for Dr. Lauver at his primary care office here in Strasburg. After two short months, I was approached by Dr. Lauver and his head therapist, Jessica,who asked whether I had an interest working with children who have visual developmental delays. I immediately said yes! My passion for helping others, specifically children, is so strong that I knew it was the right move. I began training under Jessica and my interest to learn more went full force. I read, I asked questions, and to this day I can truly say it was one of the greatest choices I’ve ever made!

The Certification

  • What made you decide to pursue certification through COVD?
    Although getting certified as a COVT is mandatory in our office, I wanted to do so before I even knew it was required! Learning from our head therapist and Dr. Lauver was really great, reading on my own about things I was having trouble grasping was great too – however, I’m one that wants to challenge myself. Certification gave me the ability to prompt the right questions and to truly understand the specifics of vision therapy that I may have been a little wishy-washy on prior to the process. Although nothing is as wonderful as experience, certification was very helpful in not only validating what I know but also in giving me the confidence I needed to be more independent in treating my patients and answering questions.
  • What was your biggest hurdle in the certification process? How did you overcome that hurdle?
    Truly, the biggest hurdle was the anxiety I had for the oral interview. Years of experience and training are all that can help you during that specific process in, my opinion. What I would tell others going through this process is, “you know your stuff and you’ve come this far, take a deep breath before answering the Doctor’s questions – you’ll be fine!”

What have you learned? What will you bring back to your patients?

I’ve learned to be more confident in what I know about vision therapy, especially in treating strabismus and amblyopic patients.  My schooling wasn’t directly related to vision therapy – or any therapy whatsoever. All the tools I’ve learned from practicing under great supervision really paid off during the certification. I will bring back an even bigger smile and joy to my patients, as well as some new techniques in the therapy room. There’s a lot of validation in becoming a COVT, and for that I am thankful.

What else matters most to you in your career?

Getting the word out about vision therapy is very important to me. Although it is a growing field, I feel there are so many children and adults out there that are unaware of the solution to their visual problem (most don’t even know they have a visual problem!) Becoming more of an advocate is a priority for me. I’d also like to continue learning more about neuro-vision rehabilitation and to work with TBI/ABI/Concussions more in-depth than in the past.

There’s more to life than vision care…

  • What other things are important to you?
    More than anything, I love spending time with my husband Eric and our 2 dogs – Lucy (an Entlebucher Mountain dog) and Ringo (a mixed breed we recently rescued). I love food and we specifically spend our date nights trying new restaurants or cooking new meals. I also have a huge passion for traveling. I’ve recently traveled to Costa Rica, Jamaica, Antigua and Iceland. I hope to travel more of the US, as I haven’t seen much! Focusing on being happy in life is my biggest priority and whatever happiness is to me, I try and do it full time!

Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your certification story with us!

Our certification programs are always accepting new applicants and you could be next!