Just a few small updates for now.
Stella can spell her name and delights in doing so. I’m extremely proud of her, as you can imagine. I suspect she’ll start spelling other words soon. She’s making a habit of quickly rattling off the letters in the words she sees. I have to say that it’s encouraging, vision-wise, to hear her say the letters one after the other, so smoothly and accurately. Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but I’ll take it. Bam!
She’s turning into my little kitchen helper. Tonight she had cheese-sprinkling and cauliflower-tossing duties. She kept moving her stool from one station to the other, requesting to check on the dish in the oven, and nibbling leftover chopped onion, shredded cheese and avocado–oh and a slice of lemon. She’s proud of herself and the results, more invested in the meal, and I have less to clean up. Bingo!
Stella is a gymnast now. We go once a week to a nearby gymnastics academy, and many of the exercises we do there are identical to ones recommended by our vision therapist (like animal walks, donkey kicks, etc.). Of course it doesn’t feel like therapy. It’s just fun! And Stella is quite fearless and adept! She can walk the entire length of the balance beam by herself with her arms straight out, do somersaults down ramps, hop like a bunny down the bouncy track, launch herself into the foam pit, and pull her feet up under the bar when hanging from it. She’s so strong. Her enthusiasm overflows.
She’s owning her current at-home vision therapy, which includes use of flippers for near work (hand-eye coordination stuff) and red and green overlays side by side on the TV with red/green glasses (five minutes each way). Stella breezes through these. We work in vestibular activities here and there, too. My current goal is to purchase a toddler-sized pair of the yoked prism goggles. Having access to them only once a week is creating too much stress and pressure. Getting our own pair is the solution to the currently upsetting and unhealthy situation. Despite my efforts to stay neutral during goggle time, I’m sure she senses my expectation and feels pressured–it’s time to take that away. It’s time to be reasonable and not expect her to tolerate them for a large chunk of time once a week and allow ourselves to break it down into more comfortable, age-appropriate pieces.
Tomorrow we return to vision therapy, in a new afternoon time slot after an illness-induced hiatus. I’m bringing a document I’ve typed up that outlines suggestions for making vision therapy more beneficial and less stressful for Stella, including the need to purchase our own pair of goggles. I know Stella best, after all. And I want to make sure I’ve done everything I can to make these sessions work for her, instead of producing such angst (for both of us). The new non-morning time should help, but there are more creative, thoughtful strategies we can implement, or at least try. I’ll share the ones that work, along with overdue descriptions of how creative solutions have helped make home-based exercises successful. You’d laugh if you peeked in our window and saw the silly things I do in the name of vision therapy. You’d be amazed if you could see how far Stella has come with specific abilities, how resilient she is, and how wonderfully willing she usually is when it comes time to play her “eye games.” And you’d be shocked if you could witness how such small adjustments can make all the difference!
There’s always hope if you ask me. We may get down after a rough appointment, but we never give up.