As a young student, my daughter Maddy struggled with school to the point of nightly 3 hour bouts of crying while trying to accomplish the simplest tasks. My wife, Jill, and I would sit with her at the kitchen table and try to help and encourage her. She would struggle with simple math problems and reading and English were even more difficult for her. Beanie Leffler suggested we try the vision therapy in Marquette. We went for the free evaluation and were shocked to hear the results. It turned out that numbers and letters were moving as Maddy looked at them. This caused her to cock her head sideways to block out one eye. Her eyes were not tracking in synchronized time. There were also other revelations that we as parents were not aware of. The doctor told us she was a candidate for vision therapy. She assured us that there was no vision problem but the two sides of her brain were not communicating as they should. Vision therapy could fix this. We made many trips to Marquette and the results were phenomenal. Maddy would get her homework completed in school. All her work was accurate and her self-esteem grew by leaps and bounds. Today Maddy is a straight A student. As a sophomore last year she was inducted into the National Honor Society. This year as a junior she is taking college level math, chemistry and English composition. Her first semester grades were all A’s. She is a leader in her class and a very gregarious young woman. I cannot begin to describe what Beanie’s suggestion and vision therapy has done for our daughter and our family. My daughter’s future is as bright as anyone’s thanks to vision therapy. It is one of the greatest gifts we have ever received.
My son has always had trouble reading and writing. His troubles with these skills made it difficult for him in school. For years he wrote letters and numbers backwards, not even noticing that there was something wrong. The school gave him assistance and extra help but it just didn’t seem to make any difference. Then a special lady named Beanie insisted that I take him to the eye doctor. I was ready to try anything to help my son with his struggles. The doctor said he needed vision therapy for 6 months. So we tried it. I was VERY skeptical that reading letters in a row or catching a ball on a string was going to do anything for his literacy skills but I was wrong. Vision therapy trained his eyes to look at the words and letters correctly. It gave him the ability to read and write better. It was amazing how his skills improved. You have no idea how great I felt when he started wanting to go to school. The training gave him the confidence to read and write. I would suggest any family try it if their child is struggling with reading and writing.
Beanie Leffler has struggled with reading and comprehension her whole life and has been diagnosed with dyslexia. It has been a source of great frustration for her. She had made significant improvement in reading proficiency since receiving vision therapy but was still struggling with reading comprehension. I was pleased to be able to introduce Beanie to the ChromaGen Lens technology. After conducting the chromatin testing procedure and demonstrating the proper ChromaGen lenses Beanie’s word recognition and reading improved over 33% immediately. The immediate improvement was encouraging and Beanie was fitted with the ChromaGen filters made with her eye glass prescription. She has had the new lenses since November 2011 and she reports continuous improvement in reading performance.
It is very gratifying to be able to provide patients with new technology that will improve their life through enhancing their vision performance. Beanie is an inspiration for her diligence in overcoming a difficult obstacle. She is truly a success in conquering dyslexia.
I am the youngest in our family. When I was a toddler, she was a teenager. One time I asked her to read a book to me when she was supposed to be doing the dishes. She started running the dishwater in the sink and thought she could quickly read to me a children’s story, my favorite book, “Harold and His Purple Crayon.” We snuggled on the sofa in the living room and she struggled through the story. We didn’t know it then, but she was severely dyslexic. She didn’t want to disappoint me so she didn’t give up on reading the book. Suddenly someone was yelling because there was water all over the bathroom floor. We discovered that she had not shut off the water to the kitchen sink and the dishwater had overflowed. I’ll never forget the sight as the water poured over the sink, ran down the cupboards and over the floor and into the bathroom right next to the kitchen. Most adults and older children could have whipped through that simple book long before the sink had overflowed. Not Beanie. Needless to say, she was probably in big trouble. I don’t remember that part. But I do remember and appreciate her tremendous effort to read me my favorite story.
I am so proud of Beanie for never giving up. When she was finally diagnosed with dyslexia and later with an eye problem that confounded her efforts, she realized she wasn’t a “non-reader” as she had been told for most of her life. She had a problem but with determination and hard work she has overcome it. She is also one of the most generous people I know. Since she has had such struggles herself, she sincerely wants to help others who struggle to read. She knows there are others out there who have a problem that has perhaps been missed by doctors and educators. It’s why she has written this children’s book. And I’ll bet you today she could read it out loud from beginning to end without overflowing the kitchen sink!
Very early on in Camryn’s elementary school years, I noticed she was struggling with learning and academically not keeping up with her classmates. When Camryn started to notice she learned at a different level than her classmates it started to affect her confidence. She became less social, pulled away from sports and thought of herself as “stupid”. Homework in the evenings became a constant struggle with little motivation to try. During this entire time, from Kindergarten to fourth grade, I continued to try to figure out what was going on. I had Camryn’s eyes tested, IQ evaluated, enrolled in summer school, employed tutors, tried Sylvan Learning Center, and insisted the school district evaluate her which eventually developed into an Individualized Learning Program (IEP).
Somewhere in the midst of those years, I received the book “Never Give Up” from my Aunt Beanie. The story resonated with both Camryn and I because it sounded so familiar. I continued to ask questions and soon learned that vision is different than sight and often overlooked by many healthcare professionals. Beanie directed me to a website and recommended another book. I called around to several different eye centers before I finally located an optometrist that could test vision and sight. Again Camryn tested to have perfect sight of 20/20 but this time we learned that her vision was impaired.
Camryn was diagnosed with Brown syndrome which is just one version of a vision problem. In my simplest explanation, her eyes and brain were not working together the way they should. It may sound crazy but I think we were both glad to hear the news because it provided us with an answer and gave us the will to fix it. Fortunately a Vision Therapy Center wasn’t too far from home. One day a week for 56 weeks she received vision therapy with instructions to perform eye activities at home for the rest of the week. The change didn’t happen overnight but over time the impact of vision therapy became apparent. Camryn is now 13 years old. Last year in 7th grade the IEP program was lifted because she did not require the additional support. She achieved Honor Role shortly after beginning vision therapy and has maintained Honor Role status to date. She now loves to read and even impresses herself with how well she can do it.
Brown Syndrome isn’t something that magically disappears because of vision therapy but for Camryn it’s now manageable. Just like the title of Beanie’s book, “Never Give Up”, I’m so glad we never gave up either. Camryn and I have deep gratitude to my Aunt Beanie for giving us the piece of the puzzle that was missing. It certainly made a huge impact on our lives.