by Dr. Heike Schumacher, FCOVD
In order to raise awareness about developmental optometry in Germany (a completely unknown profession judged by ophthalmologists to be some fancy new way to snatch money from parents with underachieving children), I needed to be part of a highly-regarded professional group like COVD. Fellowship demands, prerequisites, and qualifications are so high-level and the process itself is so rigorous that no one could dare to doubt its significance.
To set out on this journey, I first had to overcome some language weaknesses. A good example is Dr. Press’s book Applied Concepts in Vision Therapy—I had to read it three times to understand every detail, and this was the case with several other books, as well. I had no problem finding the right cases to report on, to write about my therapy concepts, or to complete the necessary essays; but when the writing was finished, I had to translate every single word. Despite these extra steps, I must say that I deeply enjoyed this process and would do it again anytime. For the first time in an already very long professional career, I had to reflect my own diagnostic procedures, compare long-known concepts with new ones, learn to define terms differently in a different language, and to think about the organization, timeline, and sequence of my therapeutic procedures. Dr. WC Maples was a wonderful mentor! I can’t thank him enough for navigating me through all the cliffs during this long journey.
I give many lectures and seminars to a wide range of physicians, teachers and therapists. To inspire confidence and respect for the still “new” [in Germany] field of developmental optometry, it is extremely helpful being a certified Fellow of a highly-regarded group of professionals with decades of experience like COVD.
Fortunately, the last fifteen years have changed the therapeutic situation in Germany significantly in developmental optometry’s favor, thanks to the hundreds of dedicated opticians who have been willing to pursue a new education and specialization, attend hundreds of hours in seminars and courses worldwide, invite professionals from all over the world to teach them, and create new professional organizations to form a unified front.
This was Dr. Schumacher’s Why for becoming a Fellow of COVD, what will yours be?