Katie Johnson Wins Honorable Mention for Red Flags for Elementary Teachers at Florida Book Festival Awards ceremony on January 31, 2015
Forward written by Dr Press!
"Katie is able to share her observations based on her explorations into BrainDance, Brain Gym and Optometric Vision Therapy... Read Katie Johnson's Red Flags, and you'll be inspired to be an advocate for children's visual neurodevelopment and all that it can do to level the playing field."
Vision Therapy and PressVision
Vision Therapy Success Stories
Before a patient enters vision therapy, we have the patient (or parent) complete a Goals sheet that helps them rank order or prioritize what issues they hope to be resolved through vision therapy. Upon completion of vision therapy, we ask the patient to comment how well their goals were met. These survey forms become the basis for Success Stories.
With the family’s permission, we place these stories where they are prominently visible in the office so that other patients can benefit from this knowledge. Thankfully the vast majority of comments are positive, but we put everything out there. It is fine when a parent writes that despite making progress, there are further changes they anticipate seeing. We also follow up one year after therapy, and often a child needs time to consolidate some of the changes made before transfer to school and homework is complete.
Success stories are also the basis for newsletters items that we share with families who have completed vision therapy, as well as referral sources. The most powerful messages about what we accomplish come not from me, or from our staff, but from you – the patients.
"One of the worst feelings you can experience as a parent, is knowing that something is wrong with your child, but not knowing how to correct it. After several yearly visits to the pediatric ophthalmologist, visits to a pediatric neurologist and pediatrician, we were no closer to finding out why, in Alyssa’s words, 'when letters are put together on the board, they are jumbled'.
I decided to ask a friend, who is a speech therapist at a local school if she ever came across any student who exhibited any of the same vision issues as Alyssa. Within a day, she was able to provide me with the name of someone who might be able to assist. That name was Dr. Press.
When I called the office, and Miriam assured me that I finally had come to the right place, I cried tears of joy while on the phone with her. After a year of dead ends, I was hoping we were finally going to get some answers.
It was difficult watching Alyssa go through three one hour testing sessions. I couldn’t understand why she was having so much difficulty with some of these items that were so simple. I could see how much she was struggling though. She was exhausted after each hour session.
You can imagine my shock to learn that Alyssa has convergence insufficiency. Alyssa had surgical strabismus correction at two years of age. To look at Alyssa, her once lazy eye, was now completely straight. However, in her case, looks were deceiving. Just because her eye was now straightened, didn’t mean she was seeing correctly. We had come to learn that Alyssa had not seen correctly in 15 1/2 years. WOW, what a complete shock! How she didn’t suffer from severe headaches due to this, is beyond me. It’s a miracle that she has excelled in both the area of academics and athletics with this visual disorder.
So began the nine month journey of vision therapy. This was no easy feat. Alyssa is a 3 sport high school athlete. Due to her training, at any given time of year, she can involved in two or three sports concurrently. She also has two honors classes, and is involved in several school clubs. To say she is busy, is an understatement. Many nights after being at school since 7:30 AM, she would come home from sports practice and go directly to vision therapy. It has been a commitment on all our parts. However the end result would be well worth it. Gone would be the days of Alyssa taking 3,4, or 5 hours each night to complete her homework, because she would have to read, and re-read texts due to tracking and comprehension issues. Gone would be the anxiety she felt while completing exams, and worrying that she would not have ample time to complete them.
In addition to Alyssa reading and comprehending with much more ease, her sports performance has benefited. This past basketball season, she was the top point scorer on her team. Alyssa has shown great improvement in the area of batting during this softball season, as well.
Vision Therapy has changed Alyssa’s life.
I am so very thankful to the staff at Family Eyecare Associates. The care and attention that has been given to Alyssa has been first rate. My children have had various medical issues, so we have been involved with many different medical offices. I have never seen an office run more smoothly than Family Eyecare Associates. The staff has been very knowledgeable and helpful, especially in the area of insurance. I can’t begin to thank all of you enough.
The road was a long and sometimes bumpy one, but the end result of Alyssa achieving “normal” vision was certainly worth it! I am hopeful this will make her journey a more smooth one."
Amy Coral Mele
"Jonathan Nitti is simply an amazing kid. He is extremely bright and out of the box, but I’d likely have to explain that expression to him. As an individual with Asperger’s he tends to be literal and not grasp metaphors easily. Through the six months that he has been in weekly office vision therapy, he has been a delight to have as a patient. His mother, Dr. Gabrielle Nitti, is one of the most outstanding optometrists I have encountered among our many sharp colleagues in New Jersey.
When Jonathan’s parents first brought him to see me his mother had already determined that he had convergence insufficiency. The fact that he had intermittent alternating exotropia at near was a feature of his visual system that we knew we wanted to improve. But Jonathan was virtually a microcosm of all the patients we help in our practice. He had strong dyslexic tendencies, being challenged with spelling, and also had difficulty in sustaining attention.
Jonathan is highly verbal and observant, and could have easily been categorized as having NLD, or nonverbal learning disorder. I say, labels be darned in Jonathan’s case. His eye movement recordings while reading improved tremendously through the six month’s we’ve worked with him. His ability to focus has noticeably improved, and his control over his eye drift is magnificent to the point where he can reflexively keep both eyes converging all the way in to his nose with an outstanding range of reserve.
I conducted his final progress evaluation and awarded him his certificate of having completed vision therapy. His father often brought Jonathan for his sessions while his mother was occupied seeing patients. Dr. Nitti and I agreed that Jonathan’s outcome is remarkable given the fact that he did relatively little home therapy reinforcement. That’s a credit to the outstanding vision therapy staff we have in our practice."
Dr. Leonard Press
"Jessica's grades have all gone up at least one grade. She enjoys reading now and doesn't dread it. As a matter of fact, she reads to her little sister all the time. I was a bit doubtful of Vision Therapy until I saw the change myself in her drifting eye and her schoolwork."
Tracey Marcoux, Jessica's Mother
I can do my schoolwork without my eye going out. I no longer see double. I don't lose my place in reading. It is not as hard to see the blackboard.
"It has been a tough haul, but I did it! Now I can go back to college as a "full-time student." That was something I thought would never happen. I am confident that I will do well. Between the eye exercises and the use of my glasses, how can I not! Also, thanks to Vision Therapy, I can resume food shopping, which is important when you take care of a household. Thank you!"