- Posted on: Dec 2 2016
Dear Dr. Hillier:
I am writing to express my appreciation for the care you provided to my son, Joshua. As you know, Joshua was 9 years old when we first brought him to your clinic upon the recommendation of a friend. Joshua had been having some trouble in school – particularly with writing, and was not enjoying school. He had tested very well on some standardized tests, but is schoolwork did not reflect his abilities. He would read and write only with tremendous difficulty and had trouble with worksheets. He said he could not connect lines when he drew, but could draw fine on the computer. He was clumsy in sports. The worst thing was that he kept telling us he was “stupid.” His vision had been evaluated before and was found to be fine in terms of acuity: 20/20 and we had no evidence that there were any visual problems. However, you diagnosed him with a convergence disorder: his eyes did not work well together. I remember at the clinic that day: after some tests, Joshua exclaimed: “I am seeing double.”
Joshua had some more testing at the San Diego Center for Vision Care, and began six months of vision therapy. The center is more than a 45 minute drive from our home and the exercises took about 30 minutes a day. Our whole family made sacrifices for this. During the vision therapy, we noted gradual, but sustained improvements in handwriting, ability to focus and tendency to read without prompting. We had some very frustrating days, but when asked, he did elect to continue with therapy as he noted the difference. He understood that he was not stupid and that he had been seeing a different world than we had. He became better at throwing and catching a ball and his soccer playing improved. He is still struggling in school with writing, but his teachers feel this is due to the amount of core material he missed out on during first through third grade. If only we had discovered his problem earlier!
We are hoping that his letter and your outreach will help other children who are “getting by” with significant, correctable vision problems and that their teachers, parents, counselors and coaches will assure they get early evaluation and treatment. We wish we had known about vision difficulties such as convergence disorder earlier-it would have significantly improved Joshua’s life both in and out of school. We appreciate the professionalism of Dr. Hillier in the evaluations and testing that is done and the clear recommendations to the parents and school about how to facilitate learning. We strongly recommend San Diego Center for Vision Care.
Rebecca Ferrini, MD
Mother of Joshua, age 10