Wednesday, September 21, 2011

~*Lack Of Vision*~

My Sunshine was blind.
 No, seriously, he could not see.
 Had we any clue that his left eye was NOT functioning (at all) we would have gotten him intervention months earlier. His left eye was so weak that his brain shut it down, relying solely on his right eye to process visual information.  

We had never pushed academics with him.  We spent the entire first year (age 4-5) simply going over and over the Alphabet and Numbers.  He wanted to read badly but I *knew* in the pit of my stomach that I had to hold him off as long possible.

I will never regret that decision!
He got his first pair of specs in April of this year and after a series of prescription changes to force his brain to wake up a sleepy, unused eye, my Sunshine learned to read!  Just two months after receiving the gift of sight!

Each visit to the Vision Specialist I am reminded yet again how incredibly he was affected by his visual impairment.  The fact that this child was even walking without bumping into EVERYTHING is nearly a miracle.  
His disability is THAT bad!

Why call it a disability?  Because it is akin to a learning disability.  As I sat there in the room full of eyeball's and space-age looking contraptions I read a poster called, "The ABC's Visual Learning".  I wish I'd copied it or taken a picture of it as it inspired this post.  

Many children have vision impairment that can not be "diagnosed" through the traditional vision screening given at many public schools.  Only a trained Optometrist can make this definitive diagnosis and the vast majority of parents are not having their children seen by an Optometrist unless they suspect an issue.  So, it is going undiagnosed in many children.  

Let me get to the nitty gritty of this post.
Visual Processing Disorder is very often misdiagnosed as ADD and ADHD.  School aged children must be able to coordinate in the brains the ability to move both eyes as a team; follow a line of print, without losing their place; maintain a clear focus as they read or make quick focus changes when looking up to the board or teacher and back to their schoolwork.  Most importantly, they must be able interpret and accurately process what they are seeing.

Children with this type of vision impairment are often easily distracted, finding it difficult to concentrate leading to fidgeting and agitation.  The strain on their eyes becomes so great they cannot remain focused on the task and what is perceived as frustration or even ambivalence is often exhaustion from having to concentrate so hard.  

Behaviorally, it sounds similar to ADD or even ADHD and that was our son's original diagnosis.  He was challenged with multiple disorders but ADD/ADHD were not on the horizon for him.  He is in the RAD/PTSD/Anxiety Disorder spectrum and throw in there Vision Processing Disorder and you have the perfect storm for a misdiagnosis.  Throw a child on Ritalin or Adderall that should not be on it and you have a seepy, weepy, ugly mess.

This was our challenge.

A drugged up 4 year old who could not process emotions, terrified to attach, emotionally a wreck from past trauma, and really a big toddler.  We saw through the initials (RAD, PTSD, etc) and saw the child.  These do not excuse his behavior they are simply his daily challenges.  Some children have physical challenges our child has emotional and visual processing challenges.

Consider yourself educated now!

I am blessed and honored to be in love with this child!  I am in awe of him daily!  Have I mentioned how much I dig this kid?  Who can't resist that sweet face?  I sure can't!

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