Saturday, 2 February 2013

Rocky Balboa & Visual Stress

Yes I know, it's a strange analogy, but it kind of works...I watched the Rocky VI special features tonight & Sylvester Stallone said how he wanted to make the film because he wanted to leave behind a legacy saying that age was not a barrier to achieving.  He was so passionate in his words & belief, but I remember when the film was being promoted how he was slated for 'being past it,' and 'ridiculous'.  But HE believed in it, and justly so, it is a good film, with convincing acting and a good storyline, and it finished the Rocky legend....

I think that the fight, barriers and criticism that Sylvester encountered when making this film is comparable to the fight, barriers & criticism that parents encounter when they raise the fact that their children may not be able to read due to visual stress.  A lot of people don't believe that it even exists, a lot of teachers do not know what it is; much less what it means, most sufferers have no idea that they are, in fact, suffering, and it would seem that the government deny it's existence in order to save their precious money.

I find this attitude very strange; in a world where we know how different brains can be, that vision is completely different for different people, and where thousands have been helped through coloured overlays or tinted lenses, that has been scientifically proven and used in many Schools, how can its value be denied?

I only happened upon visual stress by accident.  My husband was a trainer and was asked at a training day by a delegate, if he could change the background of the slides to red, otherwise he couldn't see the writing.  Upon arriving home, my husband questioned that maybe this was the problem that our daughter had...we looked into 'irlens syndrome' screened our daughter and realised the questions that she answered (just on the back of an Irlens pad of paper) strongly indicated that she had visual stress. I had not heard of it before this, and I was a teacher AND thought I was pretty in touch with educational issues - not at all it would seem.  After asking my daughter's school about this, I got nowhere, they did not really believe me and my daughter continued struggling...

I did more research and contacted my opticians.  Luckily my local Specsavers had an optician whose nephew had visual stress, and she had recently been on a screening course.  After screening she said that my daughter should definitely be assessed properly & told me about an opticians nearby - Leslie Warren in Sevenoaks that did the full colorimetry assessment.

So we went & my daughter had a full colorimetry test.  The results were incredible.  My daughter was asked to read letters that the optician pointed to and she consistently read the letter 2 letters on from where she was pointing - THAT IS HOW FAR THE LETTERS WERE MOVING ABOUT.  When the right tint was found, she read the letter the optician pointed at SPOT ON.  And what's more, she could READ.  I was in tears in the opticians (and I am not an overly-emotional woman!) The results were unbelievable - I NEVER though my daughter would read - and how could the poor thing when the words were rolling off the edge of the page and jumping about?

So I paid £80 for the test, and a further £350 for the glasses, and my daughter has gone from strength to strength.  This is not solely down to the glasses, she has had flexi-schooling and a lot of extra help for her specific learning style...BUT she would not have been able to do any of this, (and go up 3 National Curriculum Levels in only 2 terms, when the yearly expectation is only 2), if it wasn't for her glasses.  She CANNOT read without these glasses, and if she had not had them, she would NOT be reading now.

Please tell me, why it is that the Government say that they want every child to leave Primary School being able to read, write and do maths at a certain level, BUT they are unwilling to provide these children with the glasses to allow them to do so?  I am short sighted...I got my glasses on the National Health.  I could have walked up to the board to see my school work if I needed to in order to access education; these children cannot do this.  They have no hope of understanding text without these glasses and yet they are denied them.  People say that the understanding of dyslexia and related issues has improved.  It has not.  We have the knowledge, but not the acceptance.  But our children are lucky, there are many fine parents and fighters out there, and we will fight on, until, as Rocky Balboa says, 'We did it, Adrian!'

No comments:

Post a Comment