I took Bunny to the eye doctor the other day because I was really concerned about the way she was trying to see things while trying read. She was squinting alot, holding the book very close to her face, and she was just mixing things up that I know she knows. This led us both to be very frustrated. I had a few people bring up a vision problems as something that maybe wrong and I thought I should check it out.
The Doctor told us she has a vision problem called Convergence Insufficiency. This is something affects alot of kids. Some numbers put it at about 13%! It is often misdiagnosed at dyslexia or ADHD because it appears that the child lacks focus and cant seem to figure out how to read. The problem it seems is not they they dont know how to, they just cant see well. The eyes will naturally move together a bit in order to read or do things up close. This allows you to bring things into focus. However, with kids who have CI like Bunny, the eyes dont move together correctly. This will cause them to see double, to have bad headaches, the words can fracture or appear broken, they get tired, squint or rub their eyes lot, and other similar things. It makes it really hard for them to read and when the print is small, they often cant distinguish between smaller words. Bunny told me that when she tries to read a paragraph the words get swirly! So this is what we are learning to deal with here and the only option for recovery is therapy. In-office therapy with home therapy is the best method.
However, the options here so far as I can find a few and very expensive. So my night have been filled with research of different exercises we can do at home to help her start to correct this issue. So we are reading in small spurts, our school days are going need plenty of breaks so her eyes dont become fatigued making her head hurt or frustrate her. I can see where having more practical life work for her to do in between more reading and writing work will be very helpful. I knew know where those random screaming fits came from and why reading is something she has such a hard time with. It makes alot of sense, but it is also going to be a hard challenge for her and for me as we move forward. If anyone has any information that would be helpful with this, I would love the tips! And if you dont have any ideas, I would love to have some prayers or positive thoughts as we walk this path together! So if you wondered where I have been and why I have not been at this space alot lately, this is why! 🙂 Research takes a lot of time! The pictures in this post are random work from today and from later last week! I will end this post with a book Bunny wrote all by herself today! Knowing now how hard this can be, I am even more proud then ever! I hope you are all having a wonderful week! Happy Schooling!
My Boys' Teacher
November 14, 2012 @ 6:45 am
I have CI. It didn’t start to bother me until middle school however. I complained to my mother (who had undiagnosed CI at the time) and she said “that’s normal. That just means it’s time to take a rest.” Um…no. It was just “normal” for her and I who both have CI. Since mom didn’t think it was a problem, I just lived with it until college where as a music major I was super frustrated because I couldn’t READ my music as fast as I could/needed to play it. The increased hours practicing and hitting the books were too much for the CI.
Sooo…finally and adult I insisted on seeing a good eye doctor and finally was diagnosed and have special glasses (not for farsighted or nearsighted, but have prisms in them?). And that music exercise book that I had been trying to play for a semester and had only gotten a few pages through? I finished the whole thing in a week with my new glasses. I was told that I could do “exercises” such as hold one index card with a dot on it and tape a second index card on the wall at a distance and practice switching my focus from one to the other to improve my condition. I was also told that the more I wear my glasses the more I would need them…that NOT wearing my glasses strengthens my eyes.
I almost NEVER wear my glasses. I only need them if I am reading EXTREMELY difficult sheet music (probably because I actually have to READ the notes if it gets super hard, not just follow the shape).
I see double within an arms length with certain things. I was told a regular person should be able to hold up their index finger at arms length and focus so they see only ONE finger , not two, and then SLOWLY bring their finger in toward their nose (another exercise I suppose) and still only see ONE finger if they concentrate. I generally see two fingers the whole time. I have to REALLY concentrate to see one.
At the same time, I learned to read by accident at age four. I was a very prolific reader as a young child and spent HOURS doing close, detailed artwork…all with undiagnosed CI. I read at an extremely fast pace now as an adult, and like I said, NEVER wear my glasses. I had to wear them a lot in college, particularly during my PhD, but now that my hours are more relaxed I don’t.
I do find that I tend to read in bed on my side with one eye (the eye nearest the mattress) CLOSED. This takes convergence out of the picture and probably allows me to read longer hours.
I’ve only ever gotten headaches during those times in my life where I’ve continued to try to read something past the point when I can concentrate it into focus. I can see describing it as “swirling”…I remember describing it to my mom in middle school and telling her that the words would “jump” (now I know that “jumping” is like when you look at something with just your left eye with your right eye closed, and then suddenly switch).
So, the good news is that I lived with it until adulthood with no therapy and was super successful anyway during those childhood years. Whatever you do for Bunny will be an improvement on that. What we don’t know is if hers is worse than mine, or if mine didn’t manifest until an older age either. But take heart, reading is my number one SUPERPOWER…WITH CI and without glasses 🙂
November 15, 2012 @ 3:33 am
Thanks so much for that very encouraging advise. It all seems so overwhelming to me, and just knowin some one who is fine and doing great even without all the therapy is super helpful! It makes me feel like I can just keep teaching her and she will get it, even if we ahve to take alot of break! Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your expirience with this! With all the reading I have been doing, everyone says that daily thereapy with a weekly in office session is the only way to cure this, so its good to know someone that has done it without! Thanks you so much for being a great bloggy friend!
My Boys' Teacher
November 15, 2012 @ 7:34 pm
No problem Steph,
As you know I don’t claim to be an expert on it, I’m not “right”, and the way I went through it isn’t probably the best way. I could just feel the panic in your post and I wanted to try to relieve some of that pressure. I haven’t found CI to be that big of a problem. Of course, I’m not Bunny. You can probably continue, “business as usual”, if you made things a lot BIGGER so things don’t have to be so close to her when she reads.
Me Too is in speech therapy right now, same type of thing as with CI treatment….weekly appointments plus practice at home. I am finding that perhaps as a homeschooling parent with a “can do” attitude that I am learning quickly how to correct his speech by watching the therapists and that it’s the daily practice that is more important than the weekly appt. Now that I know HOW to fix it, I can probably just do it on my own.