Tuesday, March 20, 2007

looking for answers

Today I took Maria for an eye exam. Maria, as those close to us know, has always struggled with reading/spelling/writing. In fact, these struggles are what gave us the final push into homeschooling. Her reading and writing skills have slowly improved, but her spelling is still pretty darned bad. I would say that her spelling is probably on about a 2nd grade level. Her reading is at least on grade level, maybe even a bit higher now, but reading is still difficult for her in spite of this and her comprehension is not always very good, especially in something that is packed with a bunch of unfamiliar words and details like a history or science text. And she *hates, hates, hates* to read. Anyway, we have talked off and on about having her evaluated for dyslexia...she has some of the symptoms, but not many of them. She still has some letter reversals, and she will often leave out small words when reading aloud, that kind of thing, and she has some of the past history of someone with dyslexia, like taking a long time to learn to read, having trouble learning left from right, etc. But she does read well now, and I feel like dyslexia is a less likely possibility. A few people have recommend having her evaluated for "vision therapy". Apparently there's other vision problems you can have other than needing glasses. Someone sent me an email detailing their experience with vision therapy and the problems her son had been having sounded very familiar, so we decided to check into this therapy. The first step was today, the eye exam. She had a normal one a couple of years ago, but she's due for another and they want to rule out any other problems. The doctor said she was a bit far-sided and might benefit from some reading glasses, but she wants us to come back for the actual vision therapy evaluation. She did some preliminary checks, things I've never seen before...having her look through prisms and back and forth at different points, I guess looking to see how well her eyes coordinate together, and she said that she did see that she had some problems relaxing her eyes outward to look through the prisms and with focusing her eyes on a point. I have no idea what any of this means, lol....I guess we'll find out more at the next appointment. Anyway, she wanted to wait on the reading glasses to see what she finds out at the evaluation. She said if she doesn't find anything to point to her needing this vision therapy that she would recommend us to someone else for testing for other kinds of disabilities (including dyslexia). It's a little intimidating, and you find yourself a little defensive as a homeschooler when you seek help for these kinds of things. I find myself fighting the "we are really trying the best we can" kind of attitude. I don't know *why*, because the school system wouldn't have done this for her anyway....I mean, here we have Kain with 2 doctors saying he needs speech and occupational therapies, but we can't get the school to do *anything* for him. Anyway, the doctor was very sweet and put us at ease and we are looking forward to finding out if we can do something to help Maria.

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