VT Helps Reading Below Grade Level

Waking up in the morning with a smile on your face is not always easy, but for Danielle, it used to be a true challenge. Just thinking about the school day she had ahead of her was enough to bring on a bad mood. Reading was a struggle for Danielle, and her grades were below average. Top this off with three to four hours of homework every night and you have a very good reason for waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

After a thorough exam with Dr. X, it was revealed that Danielle’s learning difficulties were related to a hidden visual problem. This would explain why Danielle used her finger as a marker when reading, read slowly, had poor reading comprehension and sometimes confused or reversed letters or words.

If a person’s eyes do not work together the way they are supposed to, reading, school activities and homework can become a big struggle. Imagine trying to take notes from an overhead projector when your eyes do not allow you to focus quickly from your paper to the screen. Imagine how easy it would be to fall behind your classmates because you only have half the notes to study from for the big test! Now try to imagine how you feel about yourself when you are trying your best and always coming out “below average.” After years of struggling, it is understandable why a person in Danielle’s position would want to give up, stop trying so hard, and have a bad attitude towards school, reading and homework.

Danielle started Vision Therapy last summer. In the beginning, she often told her mom that she did not know why she had to go through the program. According to Danielle, she could see just fine.

It is now December and talking with Danielle is like talking to a different person. After six months of treatment, she has gone from a shy, timid, self-conscious girl to a talkative, outgoing, happy young lady. She is no longer afraid to stick up for herself or take chances. Last semester alone, she tried out for cheerleading, went to homecoming and got a job working directly with the public. Besides all that, she now enjoys reading, her homework does not take as long as it used to, and she made the honor roll! It bothers her if she does not get things done on time, so she no longer procrastinates when it comes to starting projects or reading books for class. Danielle’s parents cannot believe the change in their daughter. Mornings have also changed around their house. Danielle now wakes up with a smile on her face and a “good morning” for her mom!


Many of the physical movements Meagan displayed while reading have stopped. Her head and body remain still and she does not tire as easily. As the end of the school year approached, Megan’s teacher compared her to a runner in a race: Meagan did not leave the starting line with the other children, but she will finish the race with or ahead of the other children.
Meagan Miller’s Parents


We spent almost $5000 dollars in reading help with Sylvan Learning Centers with minimal results. It was time to try something else. As a result of Vision Therapy, Paul now benchmarks at grade level and he has also improved two whole grade levels in eight months.

Two doctors (an ophthalmologist and a neurologist) told me not to bother with Vision Therapy. But Paul’s eye was constantly “turned out” [strabismus: exotropia] and he had so much trouble with reading. Vision Therapy was the best treatment for him. It was worth the time and money and effort. We really enjoyed working with the computerized Vision Therapy system.
Karen K., Paul’s parent


I noticed that my son Kyle was having a reading problem in the 3rd grade. After many meetings with my son’s school, they labeled him as being immature because he cried a lot in school.

Kyle worked on homework six hours a night and it still took him hours to read a 12-page book. I realized we had a major problem! Well, at the end of third grade, Kyle’s teacher decided that fourth grade would be way too hard for him and he probably wouldn’t even pass. Now, it was up to my husband and me to decide whether to hold Kyle back a year or get help on our own!

I made an appointment for Kyle with Dr. X and he explained that Kyle’s eyes weren’t working as a team (binocular vision). Finally, I felt like we had some answers on what was going on and why Kyle couldn’t read.

Kyle started Vision Therapy in June 2002. The weekly home exercises Kyle did were fun, and I never heard him complain that he had to do them. During Vision Therapy, Dr. X also put Kyle in bi-focal glasses and he loves to wear them.

The rewards for Kyle? He has three months left of fourth grade. He has received all A’s and B’s on his report cards. He isn’t scared to read out loud at school any more, and his teacher says he’s always willing to take on new challenges in the classroom. The rewards for Mom? No more spending six hours on homework, no more fighting and crying during Kyle’s homework, seeing him with increased self-esteem, and making great grades in school!

Thanks to Dr. X and all the staff. I really don’t know what I would have done without you!
Bonnie Schwenker, Kyle’s parent,


Alex began Vision Therapy when he was 11 years old and in the fifth grade. At that time, he was reading and spelling at a third grade level. However, just getting to the third grade level had been a very long, frustrating, uphill battle, which often ended in anger and tears. I knew all too well about Alex’s struggles because I had been teaching him at home since first grade.

Alex had learned his ABC’s and their sounds without any trouble, but when it came time to read, things just didn’t “click” no matter how many different reading programs we tried. Although we were making progress, it was painfully slow and seemed to be moving at a slower pace all the time. Our reading sessions would often end with me getting upset and accusing Alex of “not trying” and Alex in tears saying, “I can’t, it’s too hard.”

We had taken Alex to have his eyes checked two times, and both times he had reports of excellent eyesight. In the meantime, I had been receiving information about Vision Therapy and I finally decided to make an appointment with Dr. X, a developmental optometrist who practices Vision Therapy.

Alex was tested by Dr. X. The results showed that Alex’s eyes did not work together as well as they should, and that when he tried to read, his eyes jumped around on the page, making reading a much harder task than it should be. What a relief to finally have some insight into Alex’s struggles and someone who felt they could help him.

Alex started Vision Therapy and worked hard. Now, almost a year has passed since he first started Vision Therapy. The results have been life changing for Alex (and for me!). He now reads at grade level and enjoys it. His confidence has increased and he tackles spelling knowing that he can learn to spell new words. I am continuing to see additional progress, even after the therapy has stopped. Thank you for changing Alex’s future from one with serious limitations to one with unlimited opportunities!
C. Moore, Alex’s parent,


My wife and I noticed that our son was having difficulty reading, spelling, and concentrating in school. As he entered second grade, these problems began to spread to his self-confidence and self-esteem, he developed a mild tendency for misbehaving in class. By the time he entered third grade, his teachers informed us of a continuing decline in his self-esteem, fewer friends, and more regular acting out in class. Since we know David to be a very bright kid, we decided to look into possible physical causes for his behavior. An Occupational Therapy evaluation by the Board of Education proved that OT services were not necessary, but that did not improve his situation.

Then we heard what Vision Therapy was doing with children that had similar problems. We had nothing to lose and so we made an appointment.

David’s learning disability was diagnosed as stemming from the inability of his eyes to focus or converge together (convergence insufficiency). This learning disability [learning related vision problem], without us knowing it, was the root cause of his social decline and rowdy class behavior. We were assured that this is a common problem. While it could not be completely eliminated, it could, with rehabilitation, be greatly improved. And improved it has.

Over the next ten months of weekly visits, the eye, hand and even foot exercises that David practiced greatly improved his academic, physical and social abilities. Most important was his improvement in reading. His reading level went from a second/first grade level at the beginning of the year to a fourth grade level by the end of the year. Coupled with this was his improvement in reading comprehension, spelling, and an overall increase in his level of academic performance.

Physically, David gained a great deal in tasks that require hand-eye coordination, such as writing (especially script) and sports activities. He is not as clumsy as he used to be (rarely knocking over his glass, always when it’s filled with water, an occurrence that was once quite usual). Overall, David has greater body awareness, spatial discrimination and left-right orientation. He now knows which is left and right, north and west etc., something that he did not know at the beginning of the year. David has also increased his visual memory abilities – being able to remember directions, numbers and letters more easily. He has finally mastered the multiplication table!

Finally and perhaps most importantly, David’s increased scholastic and physical abilities have made tangible progress in his social behavior. David has displayed an increase in confidence and self-esteem, gaining him back the favor of sorely needed friends. More importantly for us, his teachers at the end of the school year informed us of his greatly improved class behavior.

We are greatly indebted to Vision Therapy. I only hope that others will have the chance to experience the joy and pleasure parents find in their child’s newfound future.
David’s parents,


Improvement in self-confidence; improvement in reading ability; have not experienced any further reluctance in school attendance; he is now at the top of his class instead of lagging behind.
Marlene B., patient’s parent


I can’t say enough about what Vision Therapy has done for Nate. In April of first grade, when he began Vision Therapy, his reading, spelling, and handwriting were around the pre-k or kindergarten level. By December of second grade, when he completed vision therapy, he was at least a little above grade level in all academic areas. His spelling and handwriting amaze me the most. They were once almost impossible to decipher. Now, they are really quite excellent.

However, academic improvement is only part of what vision therapy has done for Nate. In first grade, he was a very unhappy boy. He is now much more relaxed and cheerful. He seems a little more mature as well. He is also a much better athlete and a much happier boy. Thank you.
Nates’s parent


We cannot begin to express our gratitude for all that Vision Therapy has done for our son, Sammy. Not only is Sammy reading at grade level, but his standardized test scores were outstanding.

We know that with the developmental optometrist continuing to monitor Sammy, he will continue to soar. Thank you for your professionalism and your fabulous staff, who have been a pleasure to work with. We will certainly refer our friends and acquaintances!
Andrea R. Jacobs, Sammy’s parent,


I can’t thank you enough! Since Vision Therapy, my son Peter no longer hates reading! In fact, he went from reading at a grade two level to reading Harry Potter in one year! He loves reading and now I find him constantly squirreled away with a book. We have recently stopped home schooling and put Paul in a small private school and he is doing marvelously. His world has truly opened! Thanks so much for helping Peter and Vision Therapy
Gay Elphick, Peter’s parent,


Dee Dee had a hard time in school. She was tested and found to be 2 grade levels below in reading ability. She had difficulty drawing geometric shapes, and she also had difficulty reading. The words on the page seemed to roam. In piano, Dee could not read the notes. She would play everything by ear.

We took her to get a vision test. We also took her to get academic testing. Dee Dee is home schooled, we also changed the curriculum a number of times, trying to find a right fit.

After Vision Therapy, her self-esteem has jumped by leaps and bounds. Her grades have jumped higher also, and confidence is no longer a factor. Dee now believes she can do it all. She loves to read and loves practicing piano, she is now able to follow the lines. Dee is in 7th grade, and is taking a high school chemistry class. She got a B+ on her first exam. It was the highest grade in her class. She is still smiling at that and it happened over two weeks ago.
Kathleen, mother of Constance, 13,


Neil no longer loses his place, experiences headaches or eyestrain while reading. He is now reading at grade level versus far below. He no longer seems to avoid close work and exhibits much more confidence and concentration. Vision Therapy has successfully put Neil on the right track in school and has addressed all of the problems he was experiencing.
Leslie Krauter, Neil’s Parent


Kathleen’s reading ability has improved tremendously and she is now reading at grade level. Although she was always strongly motivated, she is now even more eager to read.
Kathleen C.’s Parents


I was not doing well in school. Then I came to Vision Therapy and I am improving.
Christina Davis

Source: Reading Below Grade Level

Please note: In-office therapy under the direction of a behavioral optometrist using prisms, filters and lenses, as used with our patients, is far more effective than home-based therapy.