Sports Vision TherapyAn Athlete’s Point of ViewBy Corey KeylorOutfielder for the Fredrick Keys; Baltimore Orioles’ Farm Team
In the game of baseball, nothing is more important than visual concentration and hand-eye coordination. I began my sports vision training as a freshman in high school. With the help and guidance of Dr. Bill Lay, as well as hard work on the baseball diamond, I became a starter my sophomore year for my high school’s state ranked varsity team. As I continued working with the vision training program, my baseball career began to blossom. By the end of my senior year, I had become a standout player in the state of Ohio with numerous scholarship offers from Division 1 baseball programs throughout the country, as well as considerable attention from professional baseball scouts.
I chose to continue my academic and athletic career at Ohio University where I continued to excel on the baseball diamond. I became a starter my freshman year and quickly adjusted to baseball on the Division 1 level. With my continued work with Dr. Lay, through the sports vision program, I was named Ohio University’s Outstanding Sophomore and received All-Mac and All-Midwest Region Honors. Professional scouts and sports agents were knocking on my door by the time my junior season began. After a successful junior year, I was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and signed my first professional contract.
Since the summer of 2001, I have been playing professional baseball in the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system. To date, I have played as high as the AA level. I have also had the privilege of playing in the Arizona Fall League, which is composed of the best prospects in Minor League Baseball. Although I have not yet reached the Major Leagues, I am playing at a level that very few are able to reach.
Baseball is a game of skill where success and failure are separated by only fractions of inches and seconds. To reach and elite level in baseball (or any sport) it takes uncountable hours of practice and persistence to refine the skills necessary to be successful. However, vision is what ultimately allows an athlete to perform his or her skill…ie “You have to see it, to hit it!” Stated simply, the body will follow the eyes. Speaking from my experiences, vision training has undoubtedly given me a great performance boost and an advantage over my competition. I would strongly recommend vision training to any young athlete working towards the pinnacle of their sport.
The Solution Center has been instrumental in helping my son do better in school and to increase his confidence. The teachers at his (now former) school told me at the end of the year that they thought he may have ADD or dyslexia because his reading and spelling were behind schedule and he did not seem to be able to focus. I didn’t automatically believe them; not because I was afraid of a diagnosis of ADD or dyslexia, but because I knew they did not have enough facts to be able to tell me these things (he had not been tested by anyone at that time.)I knew I wanted to get a jump on the situation and find out what was going on right away. I found out that psychiatrists who do testing for ADD/dyslexia have a several-week waiting time for an appointment, so I asked some friends and colleagues what they thought. A friend of mine told me about The Solutions Center and suggested he have his vision checked. I didn’t understand at first because he had just had a complete eye exam and the doctor told us his eye sight was perfect and not to bother coming back for five years. However, looking at The Solution Center’s website and the great information and research results it gave me, I began to put the pieces together and I realized something important: eye sight and vision are two different things. The Solution Center goes beyond checking eye sight (can you see far away / can you see close), to examining how the eyes are working with each other and with the brain, and assessing the connection between what a child sees, and how they are able to process it and carry it through to their ability to read, write, spell, and do anything else at close range.
Going to The Solutions Center the first time and having his vision thoroughly checked, we immediately found the problem – my son’s eyes were not working together well, and in fact were working against each other as they tracked across the page. Once the issue was diagnosed, he was signed up for vision therapy sessions right away. I also went to the workshop they offered for parents and teachers and learned for myself what he had been going through. I was saddened by what I saw and learned, but at the same time was extremely grateful to know that he was now in good hands with the doctors and vision therapists at The Solutions Center, and I knew they were going to help him.So far my son has had 2 sets of vision therapy sessions, and we complete the 20 minutes of “homework” each night. We have had two scheduled reevaluations with the eye doctors and he is improving greatly. His eyes are being trained to work together better; I can see it in the sessions and when we do the therapy at home. I also learn from the vision therapists exactly what is going on and why, which helps me understand the process and what we are trying to and able to achieve.
The most important thing I’ve seen as a parent is that since school has started is that my son is writing much better, his spelling is becoming less of an issue, and he is now spending a lot more time reading books. I knew he wanted to read, but he just never seemed to be motivated to actually read for long. Now I know why; his eyes weren’t letting him absorb the information because all his energy went into trying to read the words themselves. We moved to a new public school where the teachers understand much more about vision issues, and they are telling me his confidence is already building, and he is doing very well. He seems much more relaxed and happy. For me that says it all. Many thanks to the vision center for all the help! My recommendation is that you continue to spread the word! I have since sent letters to each of the teachers at his former school to suggest they attend one of their workshops to get information they need, so they don’t automatically suggest ADD and dyslexia to the parents.
Dr. Nancy is great with Julie, as I’m sure she is with all children. Dr. Nancy might have chosen any other profession and had a successful life, but she would have missed her calling! She truly is called to vision therapy and to improving the “world of sight” for those with difficulties such as Julie’s.
This has been such a positive experience for Julie in so many ways. I know her time here, with all of you, will continue to impact Julie long after vision therapy has concluded.
Thank you for providing your essential service to Julie and teaching all of us about the difference between sight and vision.
Hi, my name is Caitlin Crum and my story starts with a day to the eye doctor. It was the second time I had ever been to the eye doctor and I received the news straight from the horse’s mouth; I had a lazy eye. This is something that I was born with, but since I never had anything to compare my vision to, I did not know I had it. In the mean time, I lived in Athens, Ohio on a farm complete with dogs, cats, and lots of cows. Almost every day for two years, I wore a patch over my glasses in order to make my lazy eye stronger. Vision Therapy was fun; I was able to play lots of games to make my eye stronger. I Spy books were my favorite. It has now been seven years since I was diagnosed and I have 20/20 vision with my glasses and reading has become more fun.
I can read faster now! My eyes don’t tear up or hurt anymore, plus I don’t fall asleep when reading for a long period of time.
My grades went up! I saw the biggest improvement in Language Arts and Social Studies. Since those classes are all about reading and writing, it makes sense that they are easier now.
Chris’s confidence and self-esteem have gone way up! He is able to step out and take more risks than before, including trying new things. In addition, his overall cooperation with schoolwork has improved.
Before we started vision therapy, Chris had no idea how to cross his eyes. He now understands how to make his eyes work for him and not against him!
Allie is a twin who has always been a little behind her sister in academic and sport skills. We did not think much of it until she got into 4th grade and was still having trouble reading and making sense of things. She had some trouble with sports i.e. directing the soccer ball where she wanted it to go.
Allie was thought to have ADD. We spent about 6 months getting her tested and knowing there was something going on but could not pinpoint it. She started on ADD medicine and reacted terribly to it. That told us she was not ADD. Back to square one.
We were in my internist office and the nurse mentioned that her daughter had similar symptoms as Allie and suggested vision therapy. FINALLY we got some answers!
Within a three month period Allie was reading books at night to put herself to sleep—a first ever. She was playing soccer much better and feeling very confident with herself.
I wish we had started her earlier in vision therapy since now she is playing catch up. She will eventually catch up, however, how nice it would have been to have had that in elementary school vs. middle school.
Kristina is 8 years old and in the 2nd grade at Kirkersville Elementary. She is the second daughter in our family who has completed Vision Therapy at the Solution Center. Kristina’s story isn’t as painful as her older sister because we detected her perceptual difficulties early.
Initially, Kristina was seen for a routine visual examination. After completion of therapy with one daughter, we felt it was necessary to have our children’s eyes tested as they enter second grade where reading in the major focus in their educational curriculum. It was surprising to discover that Kristina had oculomotor dysfunction and problems with eye focusing. Kristina’s eyes did not work well together. As she explained it to her friends, “I start reading with both eyes, one gets tired and it turns off, leaving only one eye to read. When it gets tired, I blink and they trade places.”
I wouldn’t have believed Kristina needed eye therapy because she was an average student, reading and writing pretty well for her grade level. She didn’t show signs of struggle like her older sister. What convinced me was not only the physician’s exam, but the Visagraph testing. It shows a mother exactly how and what her child sees.
After that exam, it all made sense. I had clues all along that Kristina was headed down the same path as her older sister but Kristina’s eyes weren’t that bad yet. When Kristina read she was like a horse running out of the gates. She’d take a deep breath and read as much as she could. She’d “blink”, take a deep breath and read more. She never stopped at periods. She just read as much as she could before “her eyes turned off”. She never complained of headaches but would say she was tired and wanted to go to bed after her reading time.
We also reasoned that because she’s left-handed was the reason why her handwriting was sloppy, especially when she copied her spelling words from the chalkboard. All of these reasons or excuses now have an answer. I am very thankful that we discovered Kristina’s perception difficulties early so she didn’t have to struggle educationally and emotionally like her older sister.
Now she is a graduate of the Solution Center. She is very proud of her success and hard work. She has made huge steps in reading levels at school. But more importantly, she will pick up a book and read it. The other night she read a 60 page chapter book with very little mistakes. As Kristina says, “now I have Super Girl eyes, Mommy.”
My son, John Wesley, who had really enjoyed reading, suddenly lost interest in all books. In an attempt to get him re-interested, I started reading with him. That was when he let me know that his eyes hurt and the words were doubling up.
He already had seen Dr. Cologgi before, so I knew he would be comfortable seeing her again. After many tests, she let me know what the problem was. We quickly set up appointments at The Solution Center for Vision Therapy.
My son really enjoyed his appointments…it was like coming in and playing fun games twice a week, for 4 months. Before he had completed all his sessions the books had come back out. At his 3 month check up, after the end of therapy he had made even another leap in improvement.
Now after a year since we discovered the problem, he is back to his enjoyment of books and reading, and even math and writing have become less of a struggle now that he can see proper spacing. My family thanks Dr. Cologgi for helping J.W. get back to his old reading self.
My son, Chad has struggled with reading and language since kindergarten. He also struggles with focusing and attention problems. By third grade Chad was far behind his peers in reading ability and was even starting to struggle with math calculations. By April of 2004, we had placed him in Kairos Academy, a school for children with learning differences. Their program was working, but Chad was still struggling with fluency and math facts. We continued to search for additional help for him. We found Professional Vision Care and Chad had a visagraph. He began his Vision Therapy at The Solution Center with Jessi in November of 2004. Not only did he improve in his reading, but he also hit and caught the ball better when he played on his baseball team. He was also better able to stay on task and was starting to develop a better self-image. After he graduated from Vision Therapy, he was still having some problems with math and reading, so Jessi recommended that we have him tested to see if the PACE program would help him improve more. When PACE (Processing and Cognitive Enhancement) tested him. They found out that Chad’s auditory processing was almost 4 years behind his peers.
Chad has improved significantly in his math skills, especially math facts, and his reading has also improved greatly. He is much better able to stay on task, he is much less distracted by noises, etc. in his environment, and he is much more independent when doing homework.
But the greatest improvement of all with both programs is in Chad’s self-image. He now believes that he is smart and that he can accomplish great things. He even wanted to spend his own money so that he could continue to spend time with his teachers at the Solution Center. I want to thank all of the staff at The Solution Center for all of their hard work. Everyone has such an upbeat and positive attitude and you pass that on to our children. You have given my son a great gift that cannot be purchased with any amount of money, ‘a positive self-image’. I would highly recommend this program to any child that needs it, and I think all children could benefit from it.
Vision Therapy – An Experience for the Better
At school I found it difficult taking notes. I would take time to focus at the board, then come back to my notebook and have to take time to focus so I could just write them down. Also, in tennis, I was missing more balls than I would usually, finding it harder to find them as they came closer to me. Another aggravating problem was, while reading, I would get dizzy and light-headed, and I would have to stop much sooner than I would have liked. My eyes were always failing at changing focus. All these problems led to terrible, migraine-like intensity headaches. I would have them nearly everyday, and would be popping Advil nearly constantly. I went to my regular optometrist, and she recommended I try vision therapy at the Solution Center. And I did.
I set my goals to fix the problems I mentioned above, and did the activities assigned. Right away my headaches, though not ceasing, decreased in intensity. Just weeks later, I rarely received headaches at all. My taking notes in school improved dramatically, and I could read for longer spans of time, accurately depicting the text on the page. Eventually, I had improved so quickly that I ended up graduating about 4 weeks or so early! Vision therapy changed my eyesight, and in the few years since I completed the treatment that I have not received a vision-related headache, the worst-case scenario of my conflicts. And so I thank all the vision therapists and doctors for the help to improve my vision!
Vision Therapy from a Teacher’s Point of View
Corey’s teacher wrote this on his report grade the quarter before he started vision therapy:
Corey is an excellent student. He works very hard to improve and is a pleasure to teach. Currently Corey is reading below grade level and the curriculum has been adjusted to meet his educational needs. He needs to continue to progress as a student and work hard on his reading.
Here is what the teacher wrote about Corey when he was half way through vision therapy:
Corey is showing excellent growth in every area! He is a hard worker and is excited to learn.
The final report, written just days before vision therapy graduation:
Corey has had another good term. He has worked hard and has made nice growth. I am particularly happy with the progress that Corey has made with his reading comprehension. He seems to enjoy reading and is very pleased when he is successful.