an angry therapist…

In researching some information late last night for another blog post I’m writing, I came across a disturbing and pretty jaded article that was written by a woman in 2004 identifying herself only as a parent and a graduate of The Athenian School.  In her “About Me” section, she offers the following statement as part of a larger description:

Skepticism and Education: Someone I know well has a specific learning disability (dyslexia). In the course of helping her become a reader and a scholar, I’ve found a great many “treatments” that have no basis in evidence. There are also fads in education, such as whole language, that damage students. I write about both.

Sometime in 2004, Vision Therapy was in her cross hairs as she not only trounced VT’s efficacy claiming Developmental Optometry is an overpriced dog and pony show, but decided to take specific aim on a few individuals within our profession. Since I’m not interested in promoting her message, nor am I interested in putting ridiculous behavior like this center stage, I’m deliberately not to linking to her article in this post. If anyone is interested in reading it, contact me privately at and I will forward the link. Interestingly though, one of her cohorts (a.k.a commentors) in trying to agree with her writing, unwittingly proved many of her points false. He wrote:

Neurological changes can occur. . .but only from speech therapy, auditory therapy, vestibular therapy, physiotherapy, psychotherapy and motor therapy. Curiously, the visual system is only system that remains immune to any attempted change by any so-called “vision therapy.” The visual system is not trainable!!!!

Excuse you? You’re criticizing Doctors of Optometry because you’re well versed in what area?

Ok, breathe deep and relax.

If the body can learn and improve from Speech Therapy, Auditory Therapy, Vestibular Therapy (OT for balance), Physiotherapy, Psychotherapy and Motor Therapy (OT for core muscles) can someone please explain how vision has become immune to this thinking?  Vision Therapy works on vision just like all the other modalities address their respective target areas. Proven fact.

Here’s an idea for these naysayers,  show me the double blind study that proves Vision Therapy doesn’t work? Can they demonstrate in a research and data format that our treatment can be classified as a failure?  Nope, because no such study exists. You’d think if they were as passionately concerned as they claim to be, perhaps by now someone would be inclined to prove once and for all that Vision Therapy doesn’t deliver.  The talk of double blind studies and burdens of proof, a pedestal most Vision Therapy naysayers enjoy shouting from as they claim Vision Therapy has no medical foundation or research based data to prove it’s efficacy, works both ways.  We can prove VT works, can they prove it doesn’t?

Developmental Optometry has the research and data demonstrating the efficacy of Vision Therapy. For those who continue to claim Vision Therapy is a bunch of smoke and mirrors with no real benefit, please put your money where your research hungry mouth is…

Prove it.


Posted on December 10, 2013, in From My Perspective.... Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Robert, some opinions matter. Others are just … well… they’re just opinions.


    • True story, Sir Charles. True story. The part that gets me though is the incredibly blind – pun intended – comments afterwards. Almost as if the bandwagon grows for the sake of growth. Tom Lecoq, however, offered a nice rebuttal. Stay warm, buddy!


  2. Robert, in the past two months a medical doctor, child psychologist, and language therapist have all basically told me that I’d ruined David’s life by taking him to VT before putting him in an O-G language program.

    /Never mind/ that his VT therapists and optometrists were the ONLY medical and education professionals who listened to my concerns and who didn’t dismiss me for years with suggestions that he’d grow out of it or that I needed to do a better job of putting him in time out.

    /Never mind/ that dyslexia is often comorbid with other conditions. It turns out that dyslexia is a neurological difference which can result in a cascade of physiological effects–including effects on the visual system. And the way to address that would be with . . . therapy, natch!

    /Never mind/ that I can’t imagine dragging David through any reading program without first preparing his brain and body for the fundamental skills of focusing and scanning across a page (just one among the skills he developed or improved under VT).

    (And /never mind/ that while in VT, David felt loved and appreciated by a team of wonderful people who saw him not just as a young reader, but as young *person* who needed support in a range of skills, academic and otherwise.)

    My VT regret for David: I wish he had started earlier.


    • Thanks, Joyce. Knowing you, David and Carmen has truly been a gift in my life both personally and professionally. You’re an awesome mom, and an awesome advocate for your children. Vision Therapy is a wonderful profession, and gives so much to so many. Focusing on the bright parts, like David’s success your friendship, makes it all worth for it for people like me. You have so much to be proud of!


  3. Sometimes it’s exhausting defending what we know to be true. Thankfully we all have patients with moms who say what Joyce says about VT. That makes it worth the fight.


  4. It is very frustrating and infuriating to encounter such ignorant and biased people – it’s a bit like the old saying “my mind is made up don’t confuse me with the facts”. All we can do is continue our work, rehabilitating visual systems and changing lives. There is another old saying “don’t let the @#@#!#@@@ wear you down.

    Take good care and enjoy the holiday spirit!


  5. Robert,
    Here is a problem. Therapy is not a pill. You cannot double blind, and placebo control therapy except on a computer (CITT). IF that were so, some therapists would have to believe that they were performing therapy when they were not. Being able to gain desired outcomes is the basis of therapy. It cannot be double blind, or placebo controlled… wait for it…..just like SURGERY. Yet we accept sub-optimal surgical outcomes as valid because surgeons like to change their definition of success (Orthotropia? Is that good?).
    Some day, we will be able to talk apples to apples about outcomes. For now, we will have to rely on our knowledge of human development, and how well vision is integrated with all the other senses. Jason


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