This week was parent/teacher interviews at my daughter’s school. Admittedly, I normally don’t look forward to this time of the school year. Don’t get me wrong, I like my daughter’s teachers, and we’re very fortunate as our children attend a wonderful school. As a parent, it’s difficult to hear that your child is struggling, and in my daughter’s case, despite all of her hard work, it’s still early days in her treatment and we are not yet seeing the … how should I put this … that “WOW, this is amazing” result we’re expecting at the end of her Vision Therapy program. The improvements thus far have been very subtle. We have a long way to go; we’re not even at the half-way mark yet!
“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.” ~ Samuel Johnson
Late last month I sent packages to my daughter’s teachers. Each package contained a copy of Dr. Stephen Gallop’s article The Visual Process and Learning, a copy of the Teacher/Parent Vision and Learning Guide by The Vision Therapy Center, Inc. Also included was a note from me inviting them to watch the video “Looking Inward: The Vision Therapy Treatment of Convergence Insufficiency” by Dr. Dan Fortenbacher and his team at Wow Vision Therapy. I have been talking with them about my daughter’s situation for quite some time, but I didn’t feel as confident about my abilities to articulate just what Convergence Insufficiency is, how it impacts learning, and exactly what my daughter does for the one hour and twenty minutes she misses class for her weekly Vision Therapy appointment.
I was reluctant at first. Would they think I was trying to tell them how to do their job? Would they be able to make the time to read the materials given how very busy they are? It’s my job to advocate for my child – as I have been doing – but at the same time I am aware that she’s not their only student, nor is she the only one who needs learning support. But that nagging feeling of “this is the right thing to do” and “there are other children out there who have CI and don’t yet know it” won out, so I took a chance and sent the information.
Am I ever glad that I did!
This week’s discussions have reassured me that my daughter is getting the best support possible at school. The teacher who helps with her reading was so impressed with the information, that she did more research of her own, and asked if I’d be comfortable with her sharing it with her colleagues as she feels it’s important that educators be aware in case they encounter other students with symptoms similar to my daughter. She mentioned that it helped her further understand what my daughter is dealing with, and the accommodations necessary to help her reach her goals.
Her science teacher read all of the materials, and watched the video footage and was so sympathetic to how my daughter must be feeling, and how difficult learning is for her right now. He even took the time to put together a list of suggested ways he felt he could support her in class, including making hand-outs and test papers in a larger font, having her use a highlighter to highlight pertinent details from reading assignments as well as other supports that we’re going to try.
Her primary teacher has already made some modifications in class, and now has other ideas of ways that she can support my daughter, including moving her to the very front of the class for periods of instruction, and offering her visual breaks.
Some of you are probably thinking that this is their job, and perhaps it is, but I can’t even begin to express my gratitude and relief to encounter active listeners, with open minds and such a strong willingness to help my daughter to succeed.
This is my personal shout-out to my daughter’s teachers:
“Cheers to great teachers!”
Their hard work and support really does make a difference.