Meet Wendy, our Vision Therapist
How did you become a vision therapist?
I had taken some time off when my children were young, but I wanted to go back to work after my youngest started school. Previously I had worked as a software developer but decided that I wanted to pursue something where I was more directly helping people and interacting with them.
I was researching different careers and happened to see a posting for a vision therapist which included links to the COVD website. After reading about vision therapy and watching some videos I became very interested in the position. I was excited at the prospect of helping young children that were struggling in school. I was able to come into the office and shadow Dr. Michael during some therapy sessions and knew right away that I would love to help people of all ages improve their visual skills.
Why do you like to work as a vision therapist?
I love interacting with all the patients and watching their skills improve. The best part of being a vision therapist is how rewarding it is. I love when parents tell me how much easier homework time is for their family or that their kids are now reading for fun, not just because they have too. I especially enjoy seeing the change in adult patients that had been struggling with everyday tasks after a traumatic brain injury and after completing vision therapy they are so excited to “have their life back”.
How would you describe your work style?
I think there are some important qualities to have as a vision therapist. You need to be knowledgeable, patient, compassionate, positive, observant and flexible. I try to be organized and prepared for each session to ensure that we are as efficient as possible, but I also try to make it fun. Some of the activities may be hard or visually tiring for patients but I want them to have a positive attitude about everything they do here. I am encouraging and complementary and can be flexible when we need to try something different.
How do you encourage the child to keep going if they are feeling down?
If a child is feeling down the best thing to do is start with their favorite activity. If children are having fun you can usually lift their spirits. I then continue to work on activities that I know they can be successful at and gradually make them more challenging. I also try to be extra complimentary of their performance and try to point out how much improvement they have made. I give them a reason to be proud of themselves.
Favorite Patient Story?
There are so many patients that I feel a special connection with but one patient that I will always remember (because she came to us shortly after I started working as a vision therapist) is a young girl who was the same age as my daughter. She was struggling with strabismus and it was recommended that she have surgery. The girl’s mom was searching for other options and found us.
She was one of the most dedicated VT patients I have worked with. She worked incredibly hard in office and at home. After just a few months her binocular vision improved greatly – she was seeing depth, the family rarely saw the eye drifting and surgery was not needed. The mother was so thankful to avoid surgery and I was crying tears of joy along with her! I still get very excited to see this young lady come in for her annual exams and her mom continues to express her gratitude every time they are here.