Standing in the Sky Pod of the CN Tower, nearly 1500 feet up from street level I was experiencing heart palpitations and vertigo while my children were completely unfazed by the height at which we stood over looking the city of Toronto. Standing on one of the seven modern wonders of the world, I was in awe of the view, but more so by my little girl who I am certain a few months ago wouldn’t have dared step off the glass elevator of the top floor (over 1400 feet up) let alone want to climb further and step outside where we currently stood. She and her brother were giggling and laughing, pointing out various buildings they recognized from our home city.
Our little girl has come a long way, in a short period of time. Spring Break is coming to a close here and my family and I spent some time visiting various attractions that are less than a 30-minute drive away from us, and yet we still hadn’t taken the time to enjoy. At the CN Tower and the Royal Ontario Museum our daughter and her little brother ran from exhibit to exhibit pointing out their finds, and reading the little placards outlining facts about the artifacts on display. Once upon a time – not too long ago – our daughter wouldn’t have ventured out on her own and voluntarily read aloud, especially with crowds of strangers nearby. My husband and I exchanged a knowing glance and a smile. Slowly, our daughter is gaining her confidence back, and that enthusiasm for learning we saw when she was a toddler is starting to reveal itself again.We recently had our 20 week assessment, and our daughter is progressing well. Improvements are obvious since her last assessment, particularly her ability to track. Previously she moved her entire body to track the small silver ball Dr. Tai moved from side-to-side and in figure 8’s. Now her head barely moves, and her eyes flow much more smoothly with the movements.
Her reading has come a very long way. For the first time since starting VT my daughter can say that she has noticed how it’s easier for her to read, that she doesn’t lose her place as often and rarely skips words. (When fatigued she will occasionally repeat a line, but she has improved substantially compared to how she was reading 5 months ago.)
There are still areas that need improvement. For example, she experiences intermittent double vision when looking in 3D, and her eyes still tire, but we’re headed in the right direction.
She’s been working extremely hard and the pay-off is evident in her improved reading, but she’s also carrying a lot of stress. School is still challenging at times, and being in second grade the various dynamics with her peers has been contributing to her stress levels. Children are quick to compare, and voice loudly (and in some cases not very kindly) what they perceive as being different. We’re working through that together, and are committed to looking for ways in which we can help our daughter navigate her way through the social hurdles that appear from time-to-time at school.
Life is busy, school moves so quickly and the workload in second grade is heavy, even for a child who doesn’t have the added visual challenges our daughter has. As a result, making the time for fun things is more important than ever, hence our venture to the top of the CN Tower. The extreme height left me weak-kneed and with sweaty palms, but it was worth it to see my children feel very confident in their own abilities to stroll around the lookout deck. So much so my 5-year old son begged to do the Edge Walk. (For those not familiar, the Edge Walk entails being suspended by rope from the very edge of the CN Tower with just your toes brushing the edge.) There’s no way that was happening! It was enough they were jumping on the glass floor (by the way, I wasn’t the only parent standing on the sidelines holding their breath not wanting to project their fears on their child).