When Mike and Renee Ward’s daughter Anna came home in first grade upset that her friends could read books, he was concerned that the confidence he saw in his daughter was fading.
Fortunately, Anna’s first grade teacher recommended Dr. Rick Graebe, a Versailles optometrist, for Vision Therapy treatment.
After 30 weeks of treatment, Anna’s vision has vastly improved.
“Anna’s come a long way. She wants to read and enjoys it. It’s really helped a lot,” Ward said.
Anna’s eyes were essentially not working together, making it difficult for her to track words across the page.
Dr. Graebe and his staff used a variety of strategies to help Anna. They had sessions where she would bounce a ball while wearing an eye patch or touch each finger with her thumb to the rhythm of a metronome.
“They make it a game and have a lot of fun,” Ward said.
The sessions are similar to physical therapy, designed to integrate the brain with both sides of the body.
Now in third grade, Anna does well on reading comprehension and is writing her own stories. Recently, she completed a little book called “Captain Carrot” about a carrot that lives in the refrigerator.
“She has greatly, greatly improved. She’s back in control again,” Ward said.
Ward didn’t hesitate to return to Dr. Graebe when he realized his younger daughter Taylor’s left eye was turned in.
Taylor, 5, was beginning to turn her head to see things and had a problem with depth perception.
Before therapy, she needed to touch something to recognize what it was.
In therapy, Taylor wears red-green colored lenses and traces letters to help develop her motor skills.
Other doctors routinely prescribe surgery for problems like Taylor’s.
“No way,” Ward said. “Dr. Graebe is adamantly opposed to that and I agree with his philosophy.”
Without surgery, Taylor’s left eye is beginning to turn back. The results have helped with her reading and in other, unexpected ways.
“It’s worth it to have my kids be able to read,” Ward said. “Taylor is playing soccer and she can actually see to kick the ball.”