Rivky started first grade as a bright, charming, fun loving girl. Although she had learned the Aleph Beis for two consecutive years in Gan, it was still new to her when her teacher reviewed it in first grade. This didn't concern us, since we assumed Rivky was too busy having fun, to buckle down and learn.
As the year progressed, Rivky did buckle down but was having real difficulty learning how to read and write. Rivky seemed to be exerting an enormous amount of energy to get through the first line in the page and refused to go further than that. Her penmanship too was illegible. As much as we encouraged her, she couldn't manage to space her words, stay on the line, write evenly sized, neat letters, or copy accurately from the black board. Her notebooks were in big mumble jumble. Needless to say, every time we sat down to practice reading and writing with Rivky, it was a test on our patience and self-control. Mostly we were really frustrated. What's wrong? Why can't Rivky keep up with her class?
Rivky's teacher shared our frustration. She agreed that Rivky is a bright, intelligent and curious child; why can't she learn to read? She suggested that we check her out by the eye doctor. When I assured her that we have already tested her vision as well as her hearing and both results were perfect, Rivky's teacher concluded that she was simply not trying hard enough!!!
Very quickly we watched our Rivky change from a sweet, lovable, happy child, to a high-strung angry little girl. All her self- confidence disappeared, and she was sure that she was stupid and ugly and that nobody liked her. Rivky, who always davened with so much fervor and enthusiasm refused to use her beautiful new Siddur she received from her teacher at her Siddur party. Anytime she came across something that had to be read, Rivky would try far fetched round about ways to do the activity; anything was better and easier than reading it. Rivky was definitely not lazy; something was getting in her way, and we decided to evaluate Rivky in a complete educational analysis. After hours of thorough testing, we were told that Rivky has moderate to severe learning disabilities, including ADD, speech/language deficiency, and poor visual perception. We were recommended to start Speech therapy, Occupational therapy, remedial tutoring, plus perhaps a change to a less scholastically demanding school.
And so we started an exhausting round of testing and evaluating, with the many
new confusing contradictory theories and opinions.
When the occupational therapist completed her evaluation, she claimed that Rivky was up to par to above average in all her ratings, and there was nothing she could gain from O.T. She did notice uneven movement in the pupils and recommended LedermanVision.
After a thorough examination, Dr Lederman explained, to us in simple everyday language, that although Rivky does have perfect vision, she is not using her eyes in the proper way that could enable her to see and perceive what she is reading and learning. She is using an enormous amount of energy just focusing her eyes on the text, leaving her with depleted resources to grasp and develop reading and writing skills. "No wonder that she hates to read. Of course she's angry and frustrated with low self-esteem. How can you expect her to write neatly, if the lines on the page are dancing around together with the word she is writing? Our daughter is not lazy! She is working much harder than you can possibly imagine." Although, we were impressed with the logical, clear way Dr. Lederman explained Rivky's low performance in school, it was the first time we have ever heard of Vision Therapy, and its high success rate and we weren't convinced that this was really the answer. But since we were so desperate to get our daughter out of her miserable state, we decided it was worth the try.
Rivky started therapy by Devorah; the most wonderful therapist I ever met! In her soft gentle way she pushed Rivky to go for a little bit more, to try one more time and reach the next milestone. She cared so much! After about ten weekly sessions, including practice at home, Devorah started Rivky on the home therapy program. At that time we started seeing real jumps in Rivky's performance. Her handwriting actually became beautiful! Rivky started to believe more in herself, and began to take an interest in reading. By the time she finished the twenty sessions of therapy, Rivky was a classic bookworm! She was gobbling up dozens of books, as if to make up for lost time Her teachers and therapists wanted to know the magic formula! Towards the middle of third grade, Rivky had completely caught up, and was on top of her class, All her learning disabilities simply disappeared once again she was our happy, confident, creative, little girl.
So, if there is a parent out there hesitating about starting vision therapy, my advice to you is: trust Dr Lederman! He will only recommend therapy if he feels it can help your child. And if he tells you he can help-go for it! Give your child the opportunity to function at his maximum. Vision therapy is an investment of time, money and effort, but it's a gift of a lifetime!
No words can express our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Lederman, and his wonderful, caring staff at LedermanVision. We wish you many, many more successes in the future.