Is Your Child Ready for School?: The Vision & Learning Connection

August 2019: Vision & Learning Month

“A child who constantly feels incapable cannot learn.”
~Bonnie Tompkins (Patient’s Mom)

** Before heading back to school, have you made your child’s appointment for a full vision exam? There are 17 visual skills needed in the classroom; “20/20″ only means a child can see at a distance but may lack skills needed for learning. Did you know that 80% of what we all learn is through vision? See the resource below from for more pertinent facts!


Before vision therapy, I couldn’t do anything related to homework. I felt anxious and not able to focus; things weren’t making sense. I was frustrated and gave up quickly. Now, I can read full paragraphs and remember and understand what I am reading. I can do my math assignments quicker. On the basketball court, my shot got better, my passing improved, and I can find players while predicting and tracking where they are going. I am so thankful I went through this process.”
~ Angelica (13)
Hello Patients, Colleagues, and Friends.

I hope you have stayed cool while not being too frightened by the electric bill. It’s been one HOT summer! We do not wish summer vacation away, but it is time to start thinking about back to school. For the month of August we are highlighting the importance of vision and learning. Did you know that 80% of what we learn is through our vision?

A family near and dear to our hearts is sharing their personal story; everything from how completing school work would practically turn into a dogfight, to their children NOW lining their numbers up correctly while completing math problems. Three of the six Tompkins children have graduated, or, are currently in Vision Therapy. The family was referred to our office by Dr. Deirdre O’Connor, but when I asked Mrs. Tompkins what really “sold” her she wrote, “Dr. Semenza helped us to understand how Angelica and Christian’s inabilities were affecting their daily activities. She was gentle and empathetic, but most importantly, assured them that their issues weren’t something to be ashamed of and were something that could be fixed. She is always positive, always patient and answered all of our questions.”

In talking with Mrs. Tompkins, one of my favorite anecdotes had to do with self-esteem. As a Vision Therapist, seeing patients come out of their shell with a new lease on life is incredibly rewarding. Think about it! When someone doesn’t know their surroundings: what an object is and where that thing is in space, their world becomes smaller to simply protect them from danger. He or she might walk more cautiously, a child might never feel safe enough to raise their hand and read out loud in class, and driving, for some, becomes extremely risky. By the end of vision therapy, the confidence folks gain is palpable.

Mrs. Tompkins writes, “A child who constantly feels incapable cannot learn. Previously, getting Angelica to do academic work was about so much more than academics. It completely hinged upon her self-esteem. Once we began working on her vision, her self-esteem skyrocketed. She was far more willing to try to figure something out where before she would simply shut down.” She continues with how her son also struggled prior to vision therapy.

“Christian can now read for more than two minutes without having a meltdown. Previously, after two minutes (MAYBE) he would become obstinate and shut down. He couldn’t complete his math homework and what little work he had done was messy. Now, he completes his work neatly and in a timely manner. He reads for much longer stretches of time. He actually asks to read to me! Everything is much less of an emotional battle!”

We agree completely when Mrs. Tompkins said, “It is obvious to me now that our children’s visual issues affected every aspect of their lives. They felt confused, incapable, frustrated, and dumb. I really wish there was a better understanding of how vision issues can affect children in our society.”

Regarding the third young lady in this Tompkins troupe, she has jumped in with two feet. We are proud of her hard work in the VT room and thrilled she is consistent with her homework. I have a feeling she will complete her recommended two units very soon.

As always, thank you for your time and please
savor the rest of the summer!
Drs. Christine & Thomas Semenza and The Vision Therapy Team

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