Vision Therapy

Do you remember when you started to read?  Did it come easy?  Was it hard?  Do you remember those “stupid” timed reading tests in school? You know the ones where you had to see how many words you could read in a minute or so.  I vividly remember being tested on that in first grade.  I remember our elementary school principal sitting next to us individually with a timer.  Ready. Set. Go. Read.

(I also have some great first grade memories of getting sick at school. LOL!)

Anyway, back to Kory.

Kory has struggled with reading since mid-first grade when the words got bigger and the sentences got longer. His initial timed reading “test” at the end of first grade wasn’t that great. Since we homeschool through a virtual charter school, Kory gets to be a part of these types of tests and assessments. We worked with him over the summer to try to improve the score.  His timed reading tests at the beginning of second grade showed he was still behind on his reading level.  Of course, as a homeschool mom, you wonder, “Is it me? Am I teaching him properly.”

Kory’s “real” teacher has been wonderful through all this figuring out of Kory’s reading.  She has been his teacher since Kindergarten.  One of the things she did after his fall testing was get him access to an online reading program called Reading Eggs to help increase his reading.  He has loved this online reading program, and will frequently play it over the weekend.  “This doesn’t count as school, right!?” he will ask. 😉

In the fall, we also had Kory’s eyes checked at our eye doctor.  His testing showed that medically his eyes were fine. No glasses.  Yet the testing also showed  he was behind level with his focus and tracking.  The recommendation: vision therapy testing to confirm the results.   Because of schedules and such, we weren’t able to have his vision therapy testing done until February.

In January, Kory had his mid-school year testing for reading. While his scores increased greatly, his  hard work and online programs weren’t enough. Sigh. He was still behind where he should have been with his reading.  Yes – I know every child progresses differently when reading – but this was more than just different progressions.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure about vision therapy.  I mean, have you heard of it?! 🙂  I started to research and found it very fascinating about vision therapy. What I found most fascinating was the “checklist” of items.  Once I saw this checklist, I started to realize how things and actions we saw at home were directly related to his reading progression.

We went ahead with the vision therapy testing, and the results showed that indeed his eye tracking and focus were not at the right levels. Thankfully, the testing also showed where he is way beyond expected levels for certain aspects. Since I don’t have the report in front of me, I can’t remember those. 🙂   We actually got a really nice document from the eye doctor with the “technical” wording and testing levels.  All of it very fascinating. All of it backed up things we notice at home. All of it backed up his virtual school testing results.

And that is how we got to vision therapy twice a week for the next six months. A total of 48 sessions. And there will be four days of 20 minutes worth of vision therapy homework each week – all documented.  All with the eye doctor re-testing Kory at three intervals within the 48 sessions. All with the goal of re-training these eye muscles of Kory’s to work properly.

We just finished Kory’s first two sessions.  I’m impressed.  Impressed with the eye doctor’s office. Impressed with Kory and his “mommy, it was just like playing a bunch of games.”  Impressed with Cade’s patience to play in the lobby’s toy area.  Impressed with the tokens each of the boys get when we leave to “spend” in the little toy vending machine.  Yes, Cade needs to get a token too, the lady at the front desk told me.

I’m excited to see the progress of how we can make Kory a better and stronger reader for life!

– Five Hours –

I like to feel productive. Rarely do I take time away from some to-do list I’ve created. I joke often that I have to continually go through my husband’s detox program of doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. It means ignoring the piles of laundry, dishes and toys to curl up with a book or my favorite shows. I have gotten to the point of really cherishing these down-times even though I quickly hit reality when I see piles of dishes and laundry waiting for me.  I have declared today a pajama day.  That means my kids rest and play, while I work on paperwork, laundry, kitchen stuff. It isn’t the same as doing nothing.

The hard part for me, though, is that I “control” when I want to take that time of nothing. And now I am faced withe five hours of “nothing” every week. Two hours for my boys’ gymnastic classes. One hour of joint swimming lessons for the boys. Two hours for vision therapy for my older son.

Five hours. What will I do with five hours of nothing but sitting and waiting?

My boys have been in gymnastics for a couple months. They absolutely LOVE it!  I have to remind them to not show me their gymnastic moves on  the couch or the playground.  I usually use their class time to catch up on magazines   I also text friends and family and check twitter and websites through my phone. Oh, and I end up watching the gymnastics teams who practice for competition. I go between feeling like I should hold up a “10” score card to admiring their arm muscles and secretly wishing I could have arms like that.  🙂

The boys have been in swimming for awhile. Usually I’ve been able to coordinate their swimming so I can work out after (with Cade’s lessons) or during (with Kory’s lessons).  Now they will have lessons on the same day and time, so I will have an hour to sit. Sadly I won’t be able to work out before, during or after this time. 🙁

Then there will be vision therapy sessions twice a week for Kory over the next six months.  Thankfully Cade can come with us and play in the eye doctor’s toy area in the lobby.  Yet I’ll be sitting and waiting and watching the lobby’s tv that plays CNN.

How can I rest and still be productive during these five hours each week?  I’m  half tempted to do reverse lunges or jumping jacks  – oh wait I’ve had three kids and I “can’t” do jumping jacks – while waiting. Okay not to that extreme. I do plan to take magazines as I have them and download ebooks to read. I really don’t want to lug my laptop around to “work” on things as most of these places don’t have wifi, and I really don’t want to be sitting with a stack of bills in an office somewhere.  I’ve already started a bag for my sitting and waiting time.  Currently, it has two books and a word-find book.  I hope to add more things so I can use my time wisely.

How would you use five hours while waiting – with or without Internet access?

Nuggets From Messy and Honest Answers

I read a post one time about how you should never apologize for not blogging regularly.  So I’m not apologizing for my absence from my blog.  Instead it is a reflection of a busy life.

I’ve been immersed in writing and editing this weekend. And I was reminded today of why I really love being a writer and editor.  It isn’t about seeing my name in print – although that is really cool. It isn’t about how much I’m paid per word – although that is really nice (and important).  It isn’t about making sure I write about myself – which I prefer to avoid.

This weekend, writing and editing is about sharing with others the stories that might not ever be shared otherwise. It is about digging into the deep parts of a source’s thoughts and passions to find out what really makes them tick.

I was reminded of all of this as I emailed back and forth with a source on a story I am writing.  I loved her email responses to my questions. Even in her statement of “my answers are messy and honest.”  I loved it. I got to see who she really is.  And I get to share that with others.

It is also about finding the nuggets no one else gets to see. The story I’m working on right now has 4, 114 words of notes all in one document. Some are in perfect paragraph form. Some are just notations of what I need to expand on. Some are questions of where I need more information. Some are just jumbled sentences that need to be “prettied up.”  Sadly, not all those words will remain in the final version. Especially when there is a 1,200 word limit.

What happens to the extra stuff? It gets cut.  And a lot of it is really really good stuff that no one else will see. But you know what I love?  I get to see it.  I get a glance at the nuggets. The words that maybe have no other impact than directly in my life. And I love that!  I love how God speaks to my heart through these “cut parts.”  And the fun part – these nuggets show up in every story I write or edit.

So what nugget did I gain today?  It was about living simplistically.  Simple living of less is more.  Beautiful words and descriptions that touched my heart.