Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vision Exam

Today, my homeschooled princess and I had our yearly vision exams. For the past several years, we have seen a developmental optometrist across town. The staff somehow remembers us and my children are comfortable there. The bonus is, that because there is a developmental optometrist on staff, they see a lot of kids w/ special needs.

I tend to hover. My princess might need me to intervene for her. Interpret for her.

I realize that I may be contributing to some learned helplessness.

Mama's radar is not easy for me to turn off, some times.

One staff member took my daughter back; another took me back. We both had a puff of air blown into our eyes; a peripheral vision test; some sort of acuity test; had photographs taken of our eyeballs, among other things. My daughter was taken into one room and I into another for a few minutes. I was anxious about my girl needing me cool, calm and collected, confident they'd come get me if they needed me. They didn't need me.

We came together again as we were taken to the exam room, where we waited for Dr. P. to arrive. I climbed into the exam chair first, and at as we began, my daughter was standing between me and the chart that is projected onto the wall. My daughter noticed that she might be in the way, and said she'd better move, and did. Talk about perspective taking!!!

The most challenging part of my daughter's exam has been the actual one-on-one with the doctor. Dr. P. asks, "One or two, which is better?" "Three or four?" If a person didn't understand the doctor's perspective, that she's changing the lens each time, looking for insight into how the patient sees, the patient might get upset about answering a question she's already answered a time or two.

Allow me to take you back in time for a moment. This background is important to today's experience. You see, when we did ABA, my daughter would become quickly frustrated with too many trials. Once she'd answered a question, she did not like to be asked again.

And there was a lot of anxiety with question, because in ABA, there was ONE.CORRECT.ANSWER. If you and I had to answer questions all day and get the ONE.CORRECT.ANSWER, we might have a lot of anxiety, too.

That anxiety is much better today, but the residual is still there, even though we have not done ABA in 5.5 years. We're still undoing some of the harm, still unraveling some of the twisted web we weaved.

During past vision exams, my daughter interpreted all the "One or two is better?" "Three or four?" as though the doctor were asking her the same question over and over, expecting the one correct answer again and again. Anxiety went up, comprehension plummeted, and we had to settle for the reading on the machine that estimates a person's vision (thank goodness for that machine!).

Today, however, was different. The doctor said my girl was answering her correctly, including which lines were darker (the horizontal ones or the vertical one) and telling the doctor when two items lined up or became one.

Anyway, I'm tickled to say that today, my girl made it through the exam, answering pretty much all of the questions.

And Dr. P. says my girl is tracking better than she has ever seen her track, all the way around, and smoothly. (!!!)

The staff, the doctor, all amazed and happy about that. ;)

They didn't really need me; she didn't need me. I'm not sure how I feel about that.


Nicole Beurkens said...

Bravo for allowing her to take responsibility for herself and show you she could do it! It's hard to let go of roles we've played for a long time, but ultimately it means we're doing our job as parents. I'm proud of you and of her.

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

i never thought about seeing Dr. P at the same time. will do that this next time I think

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