In early 2018, the International Examination and Certification Board (IECB) was given the opportunity to add an additional COVT member to its ranks. This coincided with Linda Sanet reaching her term limits, creating the opportunity to vote on two new COVT members! We are excited to share with you the newest elected members of the IECB: Erin D. Pedersen, COVT and Loretta (Lori) Griffith, COVT. In recognition of this occasion, Linda recently reached out to Erin and Lori and we’ll be sharing those conversations here. Read the first interview with Erin.

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Linda Sanet: How did you become interested in vision therapy?

lori edit Lori Griffith:

Like most, I had no idea what vision therapy was. Many years ago, a friend of mine was a vision therapist. The practice she was working for was very busy and in need of another therapist. She knew I worked well with children and thought I would be an asset to the team.  In my first week, I shadowed the therapist and was shocked to see a “younger me” in some of the children. Seeing them struggle with simple tasks was all too familiar to me. This opened my eyes to why I had such a hard time in my younger years and, most of all, it broke my heart. You see, I knew what it was like; I had worn those shoes. The low self-esteem, confidence being chiseled away with every simple task that seemed impossible–this is where the hidden impact occurs. It was then and there that I knew this is where I belonged. A patient needs to understand that all the self doubt and bad feelings they have about themselves are only the result of living with the challenges of their diagnoses. At the end of therapy, it is important that they understand what they have accomplished and that those invisible wounds are healed.  

In a million years, I never would have thought that my own childhood challenges would become my greatest gift in the vision therapy room.

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Tell us a little bit about the practice you work in? What types of patients do you see?  What is your role?

lori edit Lori:

I am very happy to say in recent months I have made a change as far as my place of employment, I work with Dr. Dresely in Chantilly, VA. We are mainly a VT practice, although Dr. Dresely has continued to see some of his non-VT patients from the past. Our patient load runs the full gamut of visual issues and ages. As a senior therapist, I meet with the doctor in creating and enhancing therapist training protocols and programs, lead monthly training meetings, and brainstorm with the team on difficult cases. Dr. Dresely’s team is very welcoming. It has been a pleasant transition for all involved.

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Why did you decide to pursue a position on the IECB? What do you hope to be able to gain from this position?  What do you hope to accomplish?

lori edit Lori: 

Individuals who I hold in high regard were responsible for putting the bug in my ear about joining the IECB. Until recently, the practices I have been a part of have been very busy. Although I was interested in engaging with COVD in a larger way, I was not sure if it would be possible to balance both my position in the office and an additional one on the IECB. Being a COVT mentor for a few years helped me to make this decision, not to mention all the people who gave me their vote of confidence.

In my many years of being employed, I have worn many hats–one of which was being a director of an association. I learned many skills in business and diplomacy, but what I remember most is being surrounded by the most dedicated and passionate people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Being a part of COVD gives me that very same feeling. During my time on the IECB, I will gain knowledge and insight from passionate people which will help me grow as a vision therapist and keep my passion burning.

What I’d like to accomplish on the IECB is an increased recognition of why becoming certified is so important for vision therapists. VTs as a whole work in many arenas of therapy. In a given case, we may touch on occupational, vestibular, physical, and even auditory modalities. We need to be as recognized and respected as other types of therapists are for our knowledge, hard work and dedication. When a VT becomes certified or a doctor becomes a Fellow it shows how knowledgeable, passionate and dedicated their practice is to our profession.

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What are 3 things we don’t know (yet) about you on a professional level?  On a personal level?

lori edit Lori: 

I have a few irons in the fire as far as my professional career. In the past few months, I have been traveling to consult with new doctors as they open their practices or add VT to an existing one. An organization in New York has added me to their list of clinical speakers. In this capacity, I help OTs and PTs understand the importance of vision and the impact of visual deficits. In the near future, I may be working as a senior therapist for other practices in Virginia. This is so exciting for me because I never worked for multiple practices before.

Cooking and entertaining are two of my greatest pleasures. Being an animal lover, I find joy in taking care of my four dogs and cat. At one time, we had many animals: a pig, goats, horses, donkeys and dogs. We rescued the majority of them and were lucky to find them safe forever homes. At this stage of our life, my husband and I like to keep it simple, so we moved back to the city. This stops me from adopting any more large animals!

 Learn more about becoming a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist!

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