What Is Your Opinion on Vision Therapy?

Updated on February 03, 2010
L.C. asks from Rocky Hill, CT
8 answers

Hello mammas! I will give you a little background. My son is 7 1/2 in the 2nd grade. He has a little difficulty with reading. He has letter reversal along with trouble with now, how, know the easier sight words such as they, the , there, then. He is borderline ADD. He is on Adderall. At his PPT meeting in October the OT suggested that we seek out a vision behavior specialist. We went to our local eye doctor that works with children. He did some tests on my son and diagnosed him with convergence insuffiency, occular motor dysfunction and accommadative dysfunction. I was mortified but he said that they usually go hand in hand. Basically my son has difficulty reading without tracking with a finger. He loses his place when reading across in a paragraph. When he reads he tends to move his head rather than his eyes. The doctor also stated that lots of times children with these vision problems are mis diagnosed with ADD. Although he would not guarantee anything. He showed me testamonials of chilren it did work for. My question is did anyone have their children do the vision therapy? If so, what are your thoughts? Our insurance does not cover. It is very expensive $100 for 30 minute sessions for 12 weeks. Initially I thought this was a scam but I feel that if it MIGHT work I better try it for the sake of my son. Thank you.

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answers from Boston on

My daughter was diagnosed with this too in 2nd grade. I have very mixed feelings. Her case was not severe, and she was not ADD. I believe it is a real deficit but I also believe that all children likely grow out of this at some point.....before this was identified what did children 30 years ago do??? Do you see my point.

I did one session with my daughter and paid but had them teach me the activities and then we did them at home for a few months. Her reading improved, she is an A/B student now in 8th grade. She reads all the time, she loves books. I am not sure it helped or not if she had been allowed to use her finger for awhile till she figured out and mastered eye movements would she still be at the same place today? Who knows but a compromise would be to do it how I did it thus saving the high cost of the therapy but still doing the activities to promote the better eye movement.

I hope this helps, good luck!!



answers from Providence on

When I was in school, many kids using their fingers to track. I recall kids using book marks to help with the reading. Your son is young. Some kids grasp reading right away, others grasp math. It will all come in time.
As for moving his head, that will pass.
I honestly believe that we tend to look at every little thing and worry about it. If you let your son think there's something incorrect with his reading, it may make him uncomfortable. Let him be. Let him read with his finger, let him read by moving his head, let him sing his stories or use different voices but let him love reading!
As for the vision therapy, I'd look into it further. To be honest, I'd also haggle. The doctor knows the state of the economy. There's no shame in haggling. My eye doctor gave me $35.00 off my prescription glasses. Admittedly, I have gone to him for a few years. Good luck!


answers from New York on

Personally I'd do some research on the internet and see if there's a program that you could do with your son at home. When our children are struggling, we as parents want to do everything possible to help them out. When an 'expert' says to do something and it should work we are quick to do it because we are trying to solve a problem. Do the research on your own before you make a commitment. If it's something that truly could work then that will come to light in your research.


answers from Hartford on

I also thought it was pure quackery, but I went to a vision therapist. It does require specialized equipment, so it would be difficult to do at home. I only went to one session because my son was only 2 at the time. The doctor prescribed special glasses, told us some activities to do at home, and told us to follow up if we needed more help. Luckily, we did not. Every child is different in how they respond to any therapy. I wouldn't expect a miracle, but I also think you should give it a try. Trust your gut. If you feel that after 2-3 sessions uncomfortable or that there is no chance of it working, then stop going.
Good luck,



answers from Boston on

I have worked with children with special needs and have seen it work miracles for kids who truly need it. It's not a scam - if it is what your son needs, it will help. If it doesn't help, it's because he needs a different treatment - but I personally know people it has worked for, several of them being young boys with learning disabilities. Their reading improved leaps and bounds afterwards.



answers from Hartford on

HI, Our son has at least one of those conditions (I've forgotten their names) and did about 6+ months of vision therapy with Susan Danberg in Glastonbury, CT. My feeling was that we needed to try everything to avoid putting him on meds, and just in general to help him. She got rid of one of his conditions, enabled him to track better on the page. We did other things too including Interactive Metronome with the Talcot Children's Therapy Center, and all in all he's doing much better, however we do have him on low dose of concerta. So I would say vision therapy is real, it really helps some kids, and since they say under 9 years is the time they can correct things, I'd go for it. I'd try to push for your insurance to cover it. Danberg had two ways to cut costs: co-time with another patient was like 60% of the regualar price, and you could pre-pay for 10 or 15% off. Hope this helps and good luck supporting your little guy



answers from Hartford on

My son had Amblyopia and Myopia. There is no associated behavior problems, but he did have difficulty tracking. He also had convergence insuffiency and issues with balance. We did multiple years of patch for the amblyopia. It is better for the most part except for when he is very tired. However, his accuity of vision did not improve significantly. We also had him do vision therapy for 6 month at the associated high cost you mention. It was out of pocket cost as well.
We spent the money because we wanted to do everything we could afford for him and his vision but frankly I am not convinced it helped. I believe any improvement in tracking was really just a function of him becoming a better reader. He started in vision therapy in the summer between 1 and 2 grade. He could track much better in 2nd grade and beyond because he could read better in my opinion. I did not see any of the the balance issues corrected as I hoped.



answers from Springfield on

A relatively recent article from the New York Times that indidcates that exercises are effective for convergence insufficiency - read on:

REALLY?; The Claim: Eye exercises can enhance your vision.

Published: May 26, 2009


For almost a century, eye exercises have been promoted as a way to strengthen vision and ease nearsightedness and astigmatism, much like exercise for the body trims fat and improves health.

Some of the most popular techniques include eye-hand coordination drills, eye movement routines and focusing on blinking lights. The techniques are widely promoted online and advocated by various companies, some even claiming that they can reduce the need for glasses and ease learning disabilities. But several studies have concluded that many of these do-it-yourself techniques are baseless.

One of the latest studies, published in 2009, found little evidence in support of vision exercises that supposedly slow or reduce myopia, ease dyslexia and correct conditions caused by physiological problems, like blurred vision. A similar conclusion had been reached in a 2005 report that reviewed 43 previous studies, finding ''no clear scientific evidence'' for most of the methods reviewed.

But there are some areas of vision therapy that have been scientifically validated, including one called orthoptics. In this therapy, eye doctors prescribe exercises that can relieve double vision, focus problems and conditions like strabismus, also known as crossed eyes. Orthoptics can treat convergence insufficiency, in which the eyes have trouble working together. It affects as many as 1 in 5 people, but with the right exercises it can be all but cured, studies show.


Eye exercises are useful for some problems, but they do not seem to relieve myopia or dyslexia.

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