Amanda Timbre became a Certified Optometric Vision Therapist (COVT) at COVD’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Bellevue, Washington. How did she reach this milestone, and why did she decide to pursue certification? Learn Amanda’s “why” below!
Where are you now?
I work at Suburban Eye Care in Livonia, Michigan, under FCOVD Dr. John Jacobi. He just celebrated his 30th anniversary working at this practice last week! Dr. Jacobi specializes in vision therapy and low vision. We also have another doctor, Brett Arnold, and he specializes in contact lenses and keratoconus. Both doctors do regular comprehensive eye exams and medical visits as well.
How did you get involved with vision therapy, and how did you grow that interest?
I went to school to become a teacher, and I did teach a bit after I received my diploma and teaching certificate. When a long-term sub job ended, I was looking for my next step. Suburban Eye Care happened to be looking for educators, because being a therapist is so similar to being a teacher, and it all just fell into place! I started out as an optometric technician and now I am the practice’s vision therapist. This job is perfect for me, because I have worked with children throughout my life, and I adore doing so. I also really enjoy helping people. Being a vision therapist is so rewarding! I get to learn all the time (which I LOVE) and I’m part of a process that changes lives! It’s absolutely fantastic.
What made you decide to pursue certification through COVD?
Dr. Jacobi approached me and asked if I was interested in becoming certified. I was nervous about the process, but I knew it could only help me become a better therapist, so I jumped at the chance.
What was your biggest hurdle in the certification process, and how did you overcome it?
I wasn’t completely sure what to expect with each step of the process, as there was not another therapist here who had been through the process at the time. Dr. Jacobi was very helpful in answering my questions and reading my papers. He has so much knowledge and is also really open to my views and ideas, which is fantastic.
I was also nervous about everything I had to learn! I really did not want to let my doctor or patients down. I had to find a good balance between studying, patient care, and working, in order to continue to better both myself and the vision therapy program.
Toward the end of my certification process, I received a melanoma diagnosis and had to have a few surgeries (get your skin checked!), the last of which was two weeks before the Annual Meeting and my oral interview. Thankfully, everyone at our practice is lovely and so helpful, and everything worked out in the end.
There is a lot that goes into becoming certified, but it is all carefully thought-out to help therapists gain a better understanding of vision therapy as a whole.
What have you learned? How have you grown? What will you bring back to your patients?
Through the certification process, my understanding of vision therapy has increased dramatically in all areas. In my opinion, reading a book can only take you so far when it comes to vision therapy. I found that the combination of both reading and applying what I learned in the therapy room is what really helped to solidify my understanding and enabled me to become a better, more well-rounded therapist.
Not only that, but I have also gotten to know other professionals in the field through this process. I have made new friends who I can can learn from and discuss cases with. Through tools like Facebook groups and an email forum, I continue to learn so much from others in the field!
It’s not just about patient care, what else matters most to you in your practice/career?
I always love learning and working to be the best person and therapist that I can be. I have learned so much as a vision therapist and I know there is still so much to learn! I’m really lucky that I work for someone who helps me to continue to learn and expand and is open to my views and ideas as well.
What’s next for you? What other things are important to you?
I want to continue learning about different techniques and theories in the vision therapy world. When I’m not reading about things that can help me in the therapy room, I like to run, cook/bake, and yes… sometimes Netflix binge!
Everyone has been so incredibly helpful throughout the certification process – always there to answer any questions and help in any way they can. COVD is really like a big family and I think that is just amazing. Congratulations to all of the other certified therapists and Fellows, and if you are on the fence about the certification process…..DO IT. I’m also here to help anyone if I can!