the smell of success…
One aspect I really enjoy about my job is, it’s never boring. Sure, there are the same old activities that I’ve done day after day that I probably could successfully execute in my sleep; and that part can be monotonous. But beyond the repetitious activities are the amazing people. People who have a story to tell, people who are looking for help, people who have an awareness of their own inadequacies and are looking to improve, people whose lives are about to change for the better. The fun ones, for me at least, are the patients who notice improvements in areas beyond the classroom, outside the workplace, and in areas they never expected vision to touch; those unexpected benefits. One of my more charismatic and endearing patients reminded me this week of how fun these times can be when he shared the epiphany he encountered this past weekend.
“I can smell better!” he proclaimed.
Yes, you read that right. He can smell better.
For those of you wondering how many Scratch and Sniff activities I have in my VT room, well it would be a grand total of zero. In fact, I cannot think of any activity I’ve ever come across where integrating vision with our sense of smell was important. When I asked my pre-teen patient to explain himself, he shared that when looking at his food he is very aware of the smells, which he previously was not. The cut grass, his wet dog, the rain and even his sister’s room (I didn’t ask him to elaborate) all apparently were also re-introduced to his Olfactory nerve recently.
Did we work directly on his sense of smell? Of course not. No Scratch and Sniff here. What VT did do though was take a child who was reclusive, disengaged and somewhat withdrawn and rebuilt his awareness. He went from a visual system that was letting him down to a one which was enhancing his life and possibly heightening his other senses. I suspect that since he now is actually looking at his world, and visually taking it in and processing correctly, he is starting to associate the odors with the pictures.
Did we really help his sense of smell? Maybe and maybe not. Either way, his grades are up, his attitude is vastly improved, he is in GT classes for this first time in his life, and he has applied to transfer to a magnet middle school for next year. Pretty amazing transformation considering the defeated kid I met on day one. Vision Therapy changed his life.
And, oh yeah…he can smell better too 😉