Before we came to Impact Vision Therapy, Will could only focus on one or two words or numbers on a page. He could not track words on a page because his eyes would literally bounce all over the place. As a home school mom, I couldn’t figure out why he could not look at words for a very long time.
He would look at picture books, but it was obvious that he would literally stare at the pictures. He would bury his nose directly at them and then quickly turn the page. I started putting one word at a time on the chalkboard because that’s all he could handle. He hated flashcards because there were no pictures! In all of his pictures, his eyes were looking anywhere but the camera, and we couldn’t get him to look at it long enough to get a good one.
In Dr. Watt’s tests, he tested at about a 4 ½ year old, and he was 6 ½ at the time. Will can now look at a first grade math workbook and focus without help. He likes to draw and looks forward to schoolwork. Because he can focus longer and his eyes track better, we see that he is more calm and less agitated! That is a win for all of us in our home!
Will has truly enjoyed working with Margaret, his therapist, and always loves visiting with Dr. Watt. Our experience has been both successful and enjoyable.
It’s never easy to learn your child learns a bit differently or that certain components to learning may be difficult. I was most certainly anxious about meeting Dr. Watt and the assessment process. Dr. Watt explained how my son was learning, what’s going on in his brain (not eyes) and provided a proactive assessment plan to reverse the symptoms. There was a specific plan in place and the course was mapped. I was never alone and supported through every assessment and session. My son had a very positive and successful experience. He looked forward to seeing Ms. Dawn every week. He now can read over 60 correct words per minute and can read for 30-60 minutes without fatigue mistakes. This experience has made a life-long positive difference. Thank you for all your hard work and kindness. We will miss you.
As parent’s, we honestly don’t know where to start because of how successful this therapy has been. Joey had been struggling with reading and writing from the very beginning. At first, we thought he was just slow at reading or maybe a little lazy. Not all kids like reading, right? With each new grade level, reading and writing obviously became more of a focus and so did his struggles. We went through the gamut of theories from lazy, dyslexia, attention disorders and anything else we could possibly think of.
We knew it wasn’t an intelligence issue because his verbal and comprehension skills were actually above average. The school was working with us to find some way to help him and after many observations and evaluations, the school social worker suggested Dr. Watt to have Joey tested for possible tracking issues. The consultation after Joey’s testing and evaluation was shocking. To see and understand what Joey was really seeing and to understand why he was struggling was heartbreaking. What was so incredible was the fact that they had a program that could fix this so he wouldn’t have to deal with this issue for the rest of his life.
Dr. Watt and his therapists were great! The knowledge, understanding and compassion that they were able to provide Joey was such a blessing. To observe first hand Joey’s progress in re-training his brain and eyes to work together the way they should has been amazing. To also experience Joey’s change in attitude and confidence towards reading and writing has been more than we could have ever asked for. We had never even heard of tracking issues before let alone truly understanding what Joey was experiencing. We pray that more people are aware of this issue and how it can be corrected.
I think the experience with Dr. Watt and my therapists, Stephanie and Margaret, was difficult but definitely worth it. Before my therapy, if the teacher said “ok we are going to write” all I could think was “oh NO”. I reacted to reading the same way. Both of them made me feel defeated, scared, embarrassed and overwhelmed.
The teacher would say “time is up” and I would always be the one not finished. Sometimes I didn’t just feel bad, I felt like it was impossible for me. During my therapy, I started to feel more confident because it was becoming easier for me to read and write but I still got embarrassed because of some of the kids asking why I was using or doing certain things to help me.
Now that I am done with my therapy, I’m amazed at how much it helped. Now I am not scared to read or write. Before my therapy I thought I was a failure. Now, I don’t and I actually kind of enjoy reading and writing.
Learning Related, Sports Vision
I didn’t notice any symptoms prior to Serah getting diagnosed with convergence insufficiency. But things were making sense after; I was noticing her swiping at the lacrosse ball, seeing two balls and trying to catch one. Also, her inconsistency at shooting the basketball at practices and during games. About halfway through therapy (3 mo), I was noticing her lacrosse catching and throwing much improved, and her shooting the basketball. – Serah’s Mom
I didn’t know anything was wrong with my eyes, just thought it was normal. When they told me I had to do vision therapy, I was a bit afraid because I thought they would have to put stuff/things in my eyes to fix them. Obviously I was wrong. I really enjoyed vision therapy, and it has made me enjoy reading again. It has made me more confident playing lacrosse and basketball. – Serah
Amblyopia, Learning Related
After reading a chapter, he told me that he thinks he has found his new hobby. I never thought I would hear him say that he enjoys reading!
As a preschool student, Ethan really enjoyed learning, especially the hands-on experiences that helped him understand math concepts and letter associations. At his annual vision check during kindergarten, he was prescribed glasses to help him read. Needless to say, he did not enjoy wearing them and especially did not enjoy reading. The next year at his annual checkup, we met Dr. Watt. Prior to being seen by the doctor, I completed the symptom checklist with Ethan that asked me to rate a variety of symptoms and challenges that related to vision. When I read the comment about whether or not he can focus on reading and homework, I casually shook my head and justified it by saying, “he would rather be outside playing with his friends.” In my mind, that was normal behavior for a child his age, and I didn’t think much of it. I just had to be creative in getting him to finish his homework each night. Dr. Watt did not see it that way. This comment led him to examine Ethan’s eyes differently using a variety of tools and methods.
The diagnosis after that appointment was that Ethan had amblyopia, affecting his left eye. He received a new pair of prescription glasses and was instructed to wear them all of the time. We did our best to keep those glasses on his face! We purchased Croakies, and practiced saying, “on your face or in your case”. We broke a pair, lost a pair, forgot to put them on, etc. It was a challenge, but we did see improvements in his vision. The improvements were not necessarily obvious by his behaviors, but his eyes did show improvement at each subsequent assessment with Dr. Watt. After a year of wearing those glasses, he reached a plateau; and it was time to begin vision therapy.
We began weekly sessions for a planned 8 months of therapy. We began to notice differences in his behaviors after as little as 4 sessions! Homework was still a challenge for him, but it wasn’t as much of a struggle to get him to sit down and do it. He was consistent with his weekly vision therapy homework and really enjoyed working with this therapist. Ms. Christy, made the sessions feel more like fun than work. After about 2 months of therapy, Ethan was assigned a book report by his 3rd grade teacher. He was to read a chapter book. The idea of reading a chapter book was always overwhelming to him. He much preferred books with pictures, large font, and not too many words; and he would get tired of reading after about 5 minutes. We worked with his teacher to select a chapter book that had large font and a few pictures. Not only did he read the book and do well on his report, he also enjoyed reading the book and felt a sense of accomplishment by doing so. This was a major step for him; one that brought tears to my eyes because I was so proud of him. Over the next couple of months, I noticed that his reading comprehension was improving as well. He started to enjoy learning again and didn’t struggle as much with his homework. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still difficult to get him to come inside and get his homework done. However, once he does sit down to do it, it gets done with very little parental prodding.
Because he was consistent with his vision therapy homework, he was able to move to the next phase of therapy after 7 months. He is now reading a new chapter book for his next book report. The other day, after reading a chapter, he told me that he thinks he has found his new hobby. I never thought I would hear him say that he enjoys reading! We are still working on his spelling and writing abilities, but we are so grateful that Dr. Watt saw a reason to evaluate his eyes more thoroughly two years ago and knew exactly what Ethan needed to improve his vision and ability to focus. -Ethan’s Mom
Maya was always a good student, but she got headaches when she read for long periods of time. We were surprised to see the results of her first vision tests at Impact. She couldn’t get her eyes to converge and her eyes jumped all around the page when she read. Her therapy was fun and her home exercises were easy to do. Dr. Watt and Christy made working on retraining fun to do. We have seen such improvements in her vision. We feel good about her peripheral vision while driving and she doesn’t complain about headaches when she reads. –Maya’s Mom
I had been a 4-year starter on the wrestling team and I never had a concussion before. At the second tournament of my senior year in the first minute of my first match of the day I got a chin to the back of the head. I continued wrestling the match and lost and after I began to have a headache. Thinking I would be a sissy if I blamed a concussion for the loss I kept it to myself and wrestled three more time that day and felt nauseas sporadically. I was then diagnosed with a concussion. This didn’t really phase me because it was a long season and the people who I had seen with concussions were back in a week. Every time I tried to get cleared I kept experienced blurred vision and tracking problems. Eventually three months went by of disappointment every week that I could not wrestle again. I had pretty much given up hope.
Then one week after once again getting denied to be able to workout let alone wrestle the doctor sent me to the optometrist. I met Dr. Watt and he immediately suggested vision training. Within a week and a half of doing this vision training I had gained control of my eyes again. I could now shake my head and not have everything turn to a blur. With only a month left in the season I hopped right back into wrestling. I got back in shape reluctantly because my body had been dormant for months. I eventually earned backed my starting spot and was able to finish my senior season by competing in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Unfortunately, I found out about vision training a little too late and was not able to be as prepared as I should have been. Had I done this training from the beginning I may have been able to accomplish my dream of going to nationals. I am still incredibly grateful I started it at all because it did salvage my last chance to wrestle ever.
Before Vision Therapy, I was fairly certain that my daughter was dyslexic, she often mixed up letters and numbers. Now, after completing therapy she is catching her own mistakes when reading and writing. She has moved up several levels in reading and her math is improving greatly. She often remarks “I am getting better at reading.” Thank you for everything you all have done to help her. -Zoe’s Mom
It was fun and I really like the Therapists at Impact Vision Therapy and my eyes feel stronger. -Zoe
Josie was always telling us she “couldn’t see” and her glasses prescription was getting worse in her right eye only. We saw Dr. Watt after Josie’s initial appointment and he explained what was happening simply and thoroughly. After completing her treatment, Josie is now on target in reading, riding her bike, and happier. – Josie’s Mom
“Vision therapy helped a lot. I’m very glad that I went to vision therapy and am a normal kid whose eyes work together. Miss Margaret is very nice and a great teacher. Dr. Watt is funny. He’s not too weird and not cool. He’s just right.” – Josie
Vision therapy does work. Making the World a Better Place…One Child at a Time- Ben’s Mom
My only child walked, talked, named colors and did air math far ahead of normal, but by the time he started school at the age of four, he hated school. He hated reading. He hated writing. In fact, he hated everything about school and flat-out refused to do class work. He said the kids made fun of his reading and writing, and, he felt they all hated him. Every morning while attending a private preschool through first grade, I literally, physically dragged him to the car while he bellowed like a school-morning octopus sprawled across the gap of the open car door. Needless to say, we were late nearly every morning. I met with teachers/aides before and after school always asking, “Is he doing his school work? Is he reading and writing?” The answer was always “no”. When asked why he didn’t want to do his work the answer was always the same, “He is very, very bright, but he doesn’t want to do his class work, especially reading and writing. He dilly-dallies a lot. Well, he is a boy and sometimes boys just don’t want to do the work. He is just being stubborn and defiant.” Picking him up from school always resulted in meltdowns and he would scream, “Kill me, just kill me. I want to DIE. I hate school.” He cried himself to sleep every night. (And, me too!!) He began losing his only recess for ‘defiantly’ refusing to do his class work. In first grade, I took him to a psychologist until my credit cards maxed out without finding the answer to my son’s meltdowns and unwillingness to read and write. The only thing confirmed was that he was, indeed, very bright.
At a new school during second grade, meltdowns intensified and I found myself more baffled by my son’s worsening behavior. Though laborious and choppy, he was reading at home. He reversed his b ‘s and d’s, but he was working very, very hard to read and write. I begged my only child’s teachers at this new school not to take away his lone recess (and social time!!!!) as a consequence of his reading and writing ‘defiance’. I was told, “Tough it up, mom. It’s the only consequence we have to give him”. Still, no one could tell me what was wrong with my son. Finally, a part time experienced special education teacher recommended testing for dyslexia after suspecting something more going on besides ordinary reading difficulties. After being tested at a private learning center, he was diagnosed with ‘significant’ dyslexia and dysgraphia (extremely difficulty with writing) explaining his reading and writing ‘defiance’. He scored at just the 35th percentile in reading, 14th percentile in writing. Reading, writing and math interventions were implemented. And, needless to say, I demanded the return of his only recess!!!!
During summer going into third grade, we suffered economic effects of 2008. I earned a half scholarship and borrowed the balance for the $13,500/yr private half-day learning center for dyslexia intervention. But, after morning drop-offs no one realized my son hid in the bathroom until mid-morning recess. I was accused of being a bad mom for getting him there two hours late every day even though I told them I literally dragged him – kicking and screaming – into the car to get there. He attended yet another new regular school (a wonderful school, I might add) in the afternoon where after a few months another special education teacher thought to ask him a very simple question: “What do you see when you read?” His answer was that he saw words and letters scattered about the page (I guess a bit like dysfunctional double vision), wiggling words and words blending together. I made vision therapy screening appointment at Chapel Hills Vision where he was diagnosed with weak eye muscles.
After the vision therapy program (during third grade) at Southern Colorado Vision Therapy to strengthen his eye muscles, his reading improved. And improved. And IMPROVED!!!! My son’s reading skills went up 280% from reading at the 35th percentile in second grade to the 98th percentile by the beginning of 6th grade!!!! (If not for self-esteem issues, these improvements would have occurred much sooner). The 98th reading percentile is considered gifted!!! His confidence and self esteem has increased dramatically – and he has increased his grades by two grade levels!!! And, he is so much happier and no longer screams out that he wants to die. Vision therapy was a success!!
Also, I had the opportunity to work as a part-time school math teacher and teacher’s aide where I had the good fortune to have K-8 children with reading difficulties read for me. Children who struggle with reading find it very, very uncomfortable, especially the young ones who buried their heads in their arms, cover their faces, turn away, act goofy/fall of off chairs and crawl under tables with embarrassment. One child told me, “I just can’t read. I can’t do it. I try and try. Everybody, my parents, my teachers, they all tell me I can read if I only try and work harder. I get punished at home because I can’t read.” (This is where I had to turn away to cry.) All of these children – while reading – skipped lines, misread words, back tracked to try again, struggled to discern between b’s and d’s, word guessed and many complained of headaches and eye pain. I asked them the ‘non-leading’ question(s) about what they saw when they read. All of them, 100%, described blurry words, words/sentences blending together, seeing multiple words/letters about the page and words fluttering. Even kids who were marginal readers reported the same symptoms. I have friends and know teachers whose kids struggled with and hated reading who, after telling them my story, made vision therapy screening appointments. And, BINGO!!! They were ALL diagnosed with poor visual skills or related issues.
I am sharing our story to enlighten others who may have children with reading difficulties and/or learning difficulties. Please know, for many children, reading and learning challenges CAN BE CORRECTED through vision therapy. I am not a doctor or health care provider, but I do know from experience and observation of others, if eyes aren’t working properly it affects ALL learning. Children feel very badly when they can’t read and learn as their classmates do. It destroys self-esteem, erodes self-confidence and dampens future dreams and accomplishments. Recognizing poor visual skills is crucial to your child’s learning, success and happiness. Detecting poor visual skills and entering into a vision therapy program can save your child a lot of pain, especially as they get older.
A couple of years ago we noticed our daughter’s eye wandering outwards. We asked our optometrist about this at our annual appointment. She thought eye glasses would help the problem and she thought we probably noticed it more when wasn’t paying attention. The problem still wasn’t corrected with lenses, so again we asked at our annual appointment a year later why her eyes weren’t tracking together. She referred us to Impact Vision Therapy for a consultation. We have to admit, we were a little reluctant to drive 2 ½ hours one way, once per week, for 8-12 months to see if Vision Therapy would help, but we realized out daughter’s eyes were important and couldn’t be happier with the results.
Makayala looked forward to her weekly visits because the therapist made the exercises seem like games rather than therapy. The upbeat and positive results inspired Makayla and motivated her for eye homework. The most perplexing question Was, “How was she doing so well in school?” with one dominant eye. Makayla is such a driven and motivated student that she must have figured out ways to make sense of all her schoolwork even with a broken processor.
After 6 ½ months, 24 sessions, a total of 6,984 miles driven, 120 hours of drive time for therapy appointments and approximately 1,155 minutes of homework, both eyes are working together ~ priceless! Makaylas’s Mom
Abigail and Issac
We are a homeschooling family with many children. Our two oldest daughters were proficient readers and learners. Neither one had any trouble learning to read and spent most of their free-time with their noses in books. Why were our next two children hating to do their academic learning and not able to read? Did it have something to do with their eyes? A little background – our second oldest daughter had eye surgery at the age of four because her eyes drifted out. This surgery (by an ophthalmologist) involved cutting the eye muscles and shortening them so her eyes would no longer drift outward. It was a very invasive procedure!
We noticed the same drifting with our two “problem learners”: Isaac and Abigail. We took them to the same ophthalmologist and they were prescribed patching for numerous hours each day. Their eye drifting seemed to improve, but not their reading and learning! So when we weighed our options for Isaac and Abigail we prayerfully decided we would like to try a different approach and opted for Vision Therapy. Vision Therapy involved many hours of traveling to the Impact office and many hours of homework, but it has been worth it!
Isaac and Abigail’s eyes no longer drift and we have seen tremendous results in their ability to read and learn. I cannot express how exciting it has been to watch our son and daughter (who in the past have fought doing any type of academic work) transform to being excited about getting their academic work done and wanting to read during their free-time. Imagine that! Words cannot express how successful and amazing this therapy has been – it has been incredible! Vision Therapy has provided a way for our children to be able to learn and develop to their full potential. I am beyond thankful! -Abigail and Isaac’s Mom
I liked Vision Therapy and working with Jeralyn. It was fun! I don’t see double anymore and now I can read. -Abigail
Vision Therapy helped me to learn how to read. I hated reading before and now I like it! -Isaac
“I am faster at reading. I don’t make as much mistakes when I am reading” -Amber
Before therapy, Amber struggled with spelling and writing. She was regularly missing multiple words on spelling tests. She did not enjoy reading and complained of blurry vision, tiredness while reading. After the therapy she is now regularly getting 100% on spelling tests, enjoys reading and does not complain of tiredness anymore. We have seen a great improvement in her school work in general. -Amber’s Dad
Balance Issues, Vertigo, Dizziness
I suffered from dizziness every day for 9 months, and no doctor could figure out what was causing it. A physical therapist recommended I try a visual therapy practice, and that is how I ended up with Dr. Watt. It makes perfect sense that “physical therapy” for your eyes would work just like it does for the rest of your body. I can’t tell you how happy I have been with the results of my therapy. My visual therapist, Margaret, was awesome!! I feel the evaluation and my treatment plan was explained thoroughly and have been so impressed with all Impact Vision Therapy has done for me! I would highly recommend them to anyone!
Adult, Strabismus, Acquired Brain Injury
I had a stroke on Father’s Day 2015 that left me with double vision and corresponding loss of depth perception. I could not drive and had to patch one of my eyes in order to work. Fortunately I was able to get an appointment with my optometrist before the end of June. He prescribed prism glasses to help with the double vision, in fact, I needed three pairs of glasses because the degree of double vision varied by distance. With the prism glasses, I was able to see in order to drive again, but because I could not accurately judge distance, I never felt comfortable behind the wheel. Understanding the demands of my career, my optometrist recommended that I contact Impact Vision Therapy in the hopes that I could get back to my original prescription. My job requires that I read and process information very quickly, travel to customer sites for presentations, and create reports for leadership teams across my company. I met with Dr. Watt in mid-July. He confirmed the diagnosis “Alternating Esotropia with Diplopia”. Basically, my eyes no longer worked together so they were sending inconsistent images to my brain and since my brain had relied on input from both eyes for over 50 years, the result was double vision. Dr. Watt was very patient with my questions and optimistic that vision therapy exercises would help me learn how to see without the aid of prisms. My therapists, Kathy and Margaret, were so patient and kind and full of encouragement as I was often discouraged with my progress. I just wanted my eyes to work! There were a couple of plateaus during my seven month journey, and just as I was ready to accept the reality of my situation, Kathy and Margaret would use a different activity that would help me understand what I needed to do to continue improving. I am happy to report that I am able to see without the aid of prisms and can even enjoy 3-D movies! I will forever be thankful for the team at Impact Vision Therapy. -Melody
You CAN teach an adult brain new tricks! I’ve had issues with dizziness and my vision for 13 years (a situation that began shortly after severe sinus infection with fever). I went to a number of specialists, but Dr. Watt saw something that no one else had seen. My eyes and brain were not working together well.
Some of the things I have dealt with over the years: headaches; blurry and sometimes double vision; feeling like I was on a boat even while standing still; images looking doubled, or as if they didn’t exactly line up; unable to drive long distances without my eyes getting extremely tired and blurry (this effect would last of r hours after I had stopped driving); visual overload in crowds or while looking at anything busy.
I never realized my eyes were each fighting to see, instead of working together as a team. Through the vision therapy at their office and the daily homework (yes, you have homework- give yourself the best chance to succeed and don’t skip it!) Dr. Watt and the amazing Sheila helped me retrain my brain and eyes to work together. Sometimes I could see a definite change during just one exercise.
Dr. Watt truly cares about his patients and his desire to improve the quality of life for each one of them is extremely evident. He thinks outside the box. Sheila was wonderful to work with, and very encouraging, especially when I had challenging days. She was patient and really took the time to individualize a program for me.
I am so thankful for this team and how they helped me. I rarely have headaches or double vision now, I feel more balanced, and I can function much more effectively, being able to make sense of what I’m seeing.
If you are an adult and think it’s too late for you, it’s not! Your brain is amazing and can do great new things!-Angie
For nearly 50 years I have lived with various issues concerning my eyes: extreme nearsightedness, glasses, contacts, cataracts, dry eye- things that got better when I saw a doctor. In the last 10 years, I sporadically experienced double vision, severe headaches, couldn’t drive safely at night, difficulty merging in traffic (I couldn’t tell which lane the oncoming car was in), often missed that last step of the stairs, and many trips and falls, some even quite injurious. Numerous doctors gave me some relief, but it didn’t last.
When I experienced some traumatic life experiences, including an extremely stressful and active job, my brain finally said ENOUGH! The symptoms became debilitating: constant double vision, severe headaches, exhaustion from lack of sleep, stress, frustration, depression. I was broken. It took hitting bottom to allow me to look “outside the box” for help. An internet search brought me to Impact Vision Therapy. For the first time, a doctor was confident that he could help me GET BETTER! Dr. Watt explained the process of re-teaching by brain and everything made sense. I walked out of that initial visit feeling overwhelming relief that he could help me and didn’t think I was crazy or just OLD.
My therapists, Michelle and Margaret, really understood how difficult it was for me. Their positive attitude helped me through the ups and downs. Not only were they teaching me, but they were also cheering me on with support. I looked forward to my weekly sessions and often, a good dose of laughter. Thank you, so much, ladies!
Vision therapy has given me confidence and independence. I can safely drive longer distances at night, which my husband is very thankful for. I cherish being able to use both eyes at a theatrical performance! I am less stressed and have more energy, which makes me happier and extremely grateful. It is so AMAZING to see depth- the mountains, nature- it is like living in a Magic Picture every day! WOW! Vision therapy was an investment in myself. It is the best thing I have done in my entire life. I look forward to the next 20+ years!