Originally Posted by naismama
We started vision therapy in January with our 4 yo daughter, and we stopped after 4 months. Our dd was born with esotropia (inward eye turn) and had nystagmus until after her first surgery at 1 yo. She also had surgery at 2 yo. The surgeries significantly lessened the eye turn, but did not correct it completely. We had looked into vision therapy before any surgeries, but after a lot of research and visits with different doctors and therapists, we decided to do surgery.
After the second surgery, the pediatric opthlamologist put dd in bifocals. We felt that he was getting too aggressive with the prescription, so we decided then would be a good time to start seeing a developmental optometrist. We were happy with the optometrist's approach and eventually followed his suggestion that dd begin vision therapy.
For the first few weeks it seemed like a monumental waste of money. It might sound really horrible to look at something as precious as your child's vision in terms of dollars and cents, but we were paying over $100 dollars per 35-40 minute session for our child to do snow angels in the floor, do jumping jacks on a trampoline, and walk back and forth on a slide board while the therapist asked her questions relating to her peripheral vision and orientation ("how did you know you came to the end of the board?"). The therapists and developmental optometrist (not ours but another one in the practice that seems more gung ho on the therapy) scoffed at the idea that some of the other things dd was doing in her everyday life, might provide some of the same practice with spatial orientation and balance--gymnastics, for example. Gymnastics, other sports, and play in general are fine, they say, but they do not have the visual component. They also distilled any and all of my daughter's behavioral problems down to having strabismus. My husband and I eventually came to the decision that we didn't buy it.
So much of what they focused on was gross motor skills--but here is the problem: our daughter has pretty good motor skills. She has terrific balance, can throw and catch a ball, and can ride a bicycle--no training wheels-- like a champ at 4 yo. What she couldn't do so much, is exhibit the focus and maturity to do the required sessions at home. She'd roll around, play, refuse to cooperate--you know, all the things 4yo's do. And without follow-up and consistency at home with the exercises, there is only so much 40 minutes a week is going to do. And it can be difficult to measure--especially with a kid so young--how well the therapy is working, or whether it is working at all. The only thing I could be sure of week to week was whether she was getting better at doing the exercises.
Now, when we went to therapy sessions, there was a 7 yo boy in there. His sessions made sense to me. He was doing lots of work with tracking and eye control. I wished my daughter could have done that kind of work, but she is just too young to follow complex directions and give the kind of feedback it requires. DH and I will consider putting her back in therapy in a couple of years. For now, we're putting our money toward private school and activities for dd that will stimulate her visually and in other ways! She is still in the bifocals and doing fine with them. She even reads (although they tried to get me to stop that, it's easier said than done) and seems to do fine.
I'm sure you'll get plenty of replies from posters for whom vision therapy really helped their lo's. And that's great and truly wonderful. This is just my family's experience. I think it makes a difference that my daughter has a visual problem that has been present from birth. I don't know if children in that situation get the same degree of help and improvement from VT as kids who start experiencing problems later. Even with their decades of experience and hundreds of patients, the doctors in that office saw much, much more of the latter type of child, not so much of the former.
Best wishes on your journey...please pm me if you have questions or just want to talk.