Why VT? – Part 1 – Through The Looking Glass
In 1871, Lewis Carroll published Through The Looking Glass as a sequel to Alice in Wonderland. With many common themes to its prequel, the story asks it’s audience to entertain the notion that many things mirror the opposite of what they know to be true in real life. For instance, clocks that run backwards and tell time in a counter-clockwise fashion. The premise of the story is such that Alice travels through a looking glass (aka a mirror) to find a world which is clear and recognizable, and yet somehow sideways. With this story as its catalyst, the term ‘through the looking glass’ has evolved into a commonly used metaphor for anytime the world may seem strange, maybe even culturally or socially reversed, as if one were Alice looking out from the inside of the mirror.
As an insider, many terms used and many references made about Vision Therapy by those not in our field have always struck me as odd. Without pointing fingers, generally speaking, I just don’t understand why the connection between vision and learning is so challenging to accept. It seems simple. If our eyes are our windows to the world, what is it about clean and resilient windows that is so difficult to accept.
Over the next few days, I invite you to take this journey with me. I want to offer you all an honest to goodness look at Vision Therapy, from my side of the mirror, to see if we can make some sense of why some people might say or think Vision Therapy isn’t real, or doesn’t work. Why do they disagree with the idea of this ever important intervention being considered for every child who struggles in school, for every patient who’s suffered a TBI, and every person currently seeing double either from a process of aging or after an accident. Why?
Am I suggesting that VT can fix everything? Of course not. What I am hoping to do broaden the horizons of anyone who has been told that Vision Therapy cannot help. Many times it can help and it does work. Maybe the real question to ask is why some people choose to believe otherwise.
Before we continue though, I want to make one point extremely clear; I am not here to bad-mouth anyone. Much of what you will read are generalizations with the names of the professions removed. This is done on purpose for one simple reason, and that is, misinformation about VT comes from many directions. It wouldn’t be fair, or even proper, to single out one profession or group of naysayers. As in Alice’s experience, many of the benefits of Vision Therapy are clear and recognizable; however, when twisted and turned they appear to spin sideways and seem ineffective. Let’s see if we can make them straight again.
Also, I’m not here to sell you on anything or suggest that ‘we are better than them‘. Instead, I’m hopeful that my perspective might open the minds of a few folks who may have been convinced that Vision Therapy is a “bunch of useless experimental witchcraft.” That, by the way, is a direct quote from an insurance benefits representative I spoke to recently.
My hope is to help you consider the world from my side of the mirror, and in doing so, offer framework for why Vision Therapy is so controversial in some circles and why, in the final analysis, should remain an option for any struggling child in school. If after reading this series of posts you say to yourself ‘Vision Therapy is worth looking into’, then my mission is accomplished. It isn’t witchcraft, it isn’t experimental, and it isn’t a bottomless pit. It’s real, and it works.
Welcome to my side of the mirror.