A thank-you letter sent to Dr. Donald Getz. Mrs. Hall writes this about her son, Peter, and his former homework problems.
Dear Dr. Getz,
I am writing to thank you all at your office. Visual therapy has been major blessing in this house. My son, Peter, has benefited so much from it. His life has turned on to a path of ability, achievement and potential. this path and these destinations were not open to him prior to visual therapy. Peter’s willingness to try has come alive because he now know he can do so much!
Peter’s grades and achievements in school have gone up, up, up. His rough days and poor grades are not as severe and come further apart. We are thrilled with this direction. Peter now asks us to read not only to, but with him, but wants to leave the light on at night to read.
He no longer says, “I can’t,” “I don’t want to,” “I’m stupid,” “I’ll never learn,” “It’s too hard,” “I’m an idiot,” or “I’m a retard.” Peter now says when a difficult assignment comes up, “Ahhh, I don’t understand!” This allows me to explain again.
My son no longer throws his papers in the trash, nor tears them up into little pieces. It takes him about 5-10 minutes to do his homework paper, instead of 30-60 minutes. He can write much more clearly, and his reversals are continually on the decrease.
In the last two months, Peter has discovered he can draw and color . . . and that it is fun! one of his favorite activities to to make up his own mazes. Enclosed is a copy of one . . . good luck. (Maze not included in this Web posting).
Visual therapy has changed our son’s attitude on life and himself. Peter Hall now has an optimistic approach to life. What a gift at the end of the road you have sent him on. He is a beautiful, wonderful child, unfolding before our eyes. Thank you for the vital role you have played in his life.
Reply to an exit questionaire given by Dr. Donald Getz. Mrs. Boxer writes this about her son, Dustin Boxer, and vision therapy.
Question #1 Comments regarding improvement in school work (reading, spelling, handwriting, effort, attention, conduct, hyperactivity,etc.)
When Dustin started therapy, he could not recognize any letters of the alphabet nor copy anything written down before him. Today he ban copy sentences with proper spacing, read a beginners book with assistance and will ask for help in spelling only when he’s baffled by the word. He now has total recognition of both lower and upper case letters. No longer does he invert numbers such as twelve for twenty-one, thirteen for thirty-one etc. As far as effort is concerned that never was a problem with Dusty. He can be an extremely focused individual when he sots his mind to a project, it’s just that now school work is no longer as painful an experience.
Question #2 Comments regarding improvement in home behavior and cooperation (study habits, use of time, following instructions, communication with family, hyperactivity, etc.)
This question really does not pertain much to Dusty for he never was a behavioral problem., Like most seven year olds, playtime is more important than world peace, vision therapy, tutoring in reading or homework. As parents all we can do is hope that when he gets older he’ll look back and thank us for our efforts instead of casting us out on the streets or into the confines of a state-run nursing home.
Question #3 Comments regarding changes in peer group and social relationships (playing with other children, more active participation in games, reduction in withdrawal tendencies, etc.)
Dustin has always been a very social and caring child, but he did have a tendency to shy away from or withdraw from games that he felt challenged by. Recognizing his weakness, he would try to change the activities being done so that no one would see his shortcomings. If other children were reading he would say, “That’s a dumb book. We should be out playing on a nice day.”;’Or If Another child asked him to read something he would tell them to figure it for themselves and then walk away rather than admit , that he could not do It. To quote him, “I don’t want people thinking I’m dumb.”
Question #4 Comments on changes regarding sports and recreation (greater and more effective participation in games, hobbies, spontaneous reading, etc.)
This is one aspect of the therapy that we wish had not been tampered with. Before vision therapy, Dustin hated any activity that dealt with a ball of any sorts. Roller-skating, bicycle riding climbing trees all came naturally for him. However, if you threw a ball at him, nine out of every ten times it would hit him in the face. On the tenth he would just plain miss it. Now Dusty can’t get enough of ball games and the thought of the ball getting away from him is just too much for him to handle. You would think that he was getting the salary of professional ball player the way he dives for it. Pants generally have a life span of two days before we’re mending them with iron-on patches. At this rate, keeping this child properly clothed may wind up being more costly than the vision therapy.
Question #5 Any comments regarding overall impressions not already noted above (any changes in performance, behavior, posture, etc.)
When we came to your office we were basically at our wits end. We knew that we had a very bright child on our hands and we were completely frustrated with the school system. Here was a child who at the age of four wanted to be a Paleontologist — not an Archeologist — and who knew the meaning of and difference between the two. By kindergarten we had checked out just about every book in the library for him pertaining to dinosaurs and then had to read and suffer through the pronunciations of their names. The school Psychologist (who, in our opinion, is in need of home ECT) tested him and found him to be five points above functionally retarded. Mind you, at the beginning of first grade, Dusty was testing out on a fourth grade level in science and social studies but was on a pre-school level for math and reading. When questioned as to how she came to her findings, she said that they had to base their testing on the child’s ability to read and write. So, more or less, if little Johnny can’t see and you ask him to point out the letter R, is he retarded? If little Janie, has no arms and you ask her to point to the number nine, is she retarded when she can’t perform the task at hand? After having wasted the first two years of his schooling by listening to these mental midgets we had enough when they wanted to put him in a class with three down syndrome children, two autistic children and several “attention deficit children.”
When we started the Visual Therapy we did not know how much or how long it would take before we started to notice an improvement. In a matter of two weeks, Dustin mentioned to his grandparents during a visit that for the first time, while wearing his glasses, “Things weren’t moving around all over the page.” Within less than a month, we started to noticeable improvement as far as letter recognition. By the time Dusty went back to school he could recognize eighty-five percent of his letters in both upper and lower case. Mind you this was coming from a child that just three months earlier could not tell you the letters in his name when taken out of context but could tell you from pictures the names of every dinosaur, and which ones ate meat and which ones where vegetarians.
Although Dusty is still not quite out of the woods, the differences between where he was and where he is at now go beyond a marked improvement. With the help he gets at home, and with the tutoring on the side, it’s just a matter of time before his “TEACHERS” start coming to him for advice. We’ve also seen a noticeable improvement in his self-esteem that the schools worked so hard on destroying. Dusty is now beginning to flourish in-all avenues. Before he would shy away from anything that required pen to paper. Art work was more painful than pulling teeth, because he couldn’t make it look like what it was supposed to be. Now he finds art a pleasure to do. He’s always shown an interest in books and knowledge, but now he’s pointing words and trying to pronounce them with us. He even critiques the books he can read. Siskel and Ebbert look out. Dusty says, “The beginner books are dumb! They.have no real story. Who cares about them?” or “Why is this book called Sad Sam when every picture of him has him smiling?” It goes on and on from there . . . all of which makes us most grateful!
A thank-you letter sent to Dr. Donald Getz. Mrs. Inouye writes this about her son, Garrett, and his former reading difficulties.
Dear Dr. Donald Getz,
I am writing you professionally as well as personally, to share the desire that my words may encourage others, and provide them hope through vision therapy.
My background is in the field of Special Education. I have three credentials in the field of learning handicaps and a Masters of Education specializing in learning handicaps. I have 20 years combined experience as a special class teacher and Resource Specialist from the Montebello Unified School District, graduate professor for “Assessment and Curriculum Development” classes at La Verne University, and presently, I am the Director and founder of the Unique Learning Program (a pilot “Special Needs” program) for Whittier Christian Schools. Yet, when it came to helping my son with his visual perceptual difficulties, my credentials were not enough.
It was in the 3rd grade, when I noticed my son’s reading difficulties. Although he comprehended with ease, and kept a straight “A” report card at a private school, to read a page out loud became his greatest fear. My testing of him academically found him at grade level reading in word recognition and in the 10th grade in reading comprehension. His ability was at gifted levels, but a keen eye would see that his fluency in reading was not consistent with what his abilities dictated. When he read, he would have difficulty keeping his place, he would misread words, or guess words that would work in context. To keep his grades at superior levels, Garrett needed to work very hard. He read through a developed ability to read by context and learned to answer any questions by deductive reasoning.
By the 4th grade, Garrett’s esteem began to waver, and he began to doubt his gifted ability because he read with limited fluency. I knew that his difficulty had to be one of visual perception, yet after being tested by two reputable optometrists, they did not see a visual perception problem. began to visit the Fullerton School of Optometry and buy texts that taught students about visual perception. I had my doubts about the validity of visual therapy, and decided to study the field as I attempted to work with my son.
I was not surprised to find out that Garrett needed vision therapy. He was found to have convergence difficulties, which made his eyes overwork and become tired when reading. It was interesting to see that when he read using both eyes “teaming together”; his fluency was significantly slower than when he read using one eye. He was placed in a 6-month program and, because I trusted no one else, I brought my son to Dr. Getz’s Visual Therapy sessions.
Within 2 months times my son turned to me at church as we were singing. He said, “Mom, I think vision therapy is working! I can keep up in the hymnal! I stood there, tears welling up in my eyes. His progress also was seen in his oral reading at school. His teacher had noticed the improvement and considered Garrett in the top third of the readers in class. For the first time in his life, I saw him choosing to read in his free time. Soon, Garrett was always reading, and he loved it! His interest was growing in many areas, and soon, you would find him looking up many things on the Internet and finding information on things independent of assignments or suggestions.
After just 3 months, Garrett was re-tested, and was found to not need vision therapy any longer. He had trained his vision to correctly perceive. His desire to improve his reading gave him the discipline nightly. His commitment allowed him to sometimes do his therapy even beyond the recommended time. He was diligent and dedicated. And because Garrett had only an isolated visual perception weakness, and did not have any other learning disabilities, I am convinced that vision therapy allowed him the life-changing joy of reading with ease.
Professionally, and personally, I am convinced that Vision Therapy is real! It is a vital necessity for anyone who has a perceptual weakness to the point that it affects his or her ability to find success at school or in work. I recommend with the highest of respect and gratitude, Dr. Donald Getz for his expertise in diagnosing visual difficulties or weaknesses, and prescribing the necessary ways to remediate it.
With a thrilled heart, full of gratitude and the utmost respect,
Mrs. Joynce Inouye, M.A., Ed.
Director of the Unique Learning Program
Specialist of Learning Handicaps
Whittier Christian Schools Excellence in Education since 1947
Whittier, CA 90604