I thought we were done with diagnoses. Isn’t Autism, ADHD, and Executive Function Disorder enough? I guess God has other plans. Let me back up a little.
Things began falling apart for Sweet Pea in the 2nd grade. Her reading level decreased, her test scores dropped, and her spelling was atrocious. But she continued to be at the top of her class in other academic areas. How could this be?
Jump ahead two years, Sweet Pea started 4th grade. She despised reading and was unable to spell simple words. Testing from a speech pathologist showed that she was performing age appropriately. Thankfully the therapist looked beyond the standardized tests and realized there were issues that the tests didn’t quantify. Sweet Pea spent the next year meeting with the speech pathologist twice a week to focus on categorization, comprehension, vocabulary, and other areas of reading. We discovered that since reading was such a struggle, she missed a lot of growth that happens simply from reading to yourself. Great improvement occurred leading us to believe that with continued hard work and prayer Sweet Pea would soon catch up to her peers.
But that didn’t happen.
The Struggle Continued
Middle school was a struggle. Freshman year of high school was a disaster in all areas of reading. But it wasn’t just with reading text that Sweet Pea was struggling. Learning the music for her school orchestra was excruciating. We would go over and over and over sections only to see little or no improvement. Maybe it’s her eyes? She got glasses. A medical problem? Nope, healthy report. Were there any stones left to turn over?
Turns out there were 2 more. In 2022, Sweet Pea received a Dyslexia diagnosis. She began the program Take Flight with a Dyslexia specialist. We knew the improvements would be slow, but we were hopeful.
Remember how I said she got glasses? At her optometrist checkup, we reshared our concerns about her struggles with reading music and books. The doctor suggested seeing an optometrist who specializes in visual perception.
Testing showed that Sweet Pea has a 6 and 9-year deficit in two areas of visual perception. This means that her eyes are tracking at the ages of a 7 and 10-year-old. No wonder she is struggling so much!
Visual Perception Déjà Vu
If you’ve followed our story for a while, you know that Visual Perception delays are not new to our family.
Here is a post from 2010: We learned that Bubs is dealing with a visual perception problem. He has a problem translating to the brain what he sees through his eyes. Not a simple fix with a pair of glasses. As the optometrist put it, “The hardware is a there but there is a software problem.” In explanation, the hardware is all there (his eyes work correctly) but the software is having malfunctions (what he sees is not translating to his brain correctly).
The work that I did with Bubs led to the creation of the Visual Perception Workbook and in just a few months Bubs issues with visual perception was corrected. Guess which one of my children missed out on using the Visual Perception Workbook? Sweet Pea.
The enemy has tried to shame me about this fact. In God’s grace I know that I can’t change the past but can only affect the here and now. More importantly, I can use what I learned to warn and provide tools for others.
Visual Perception Activities
Visual perception activities were added to the ABCJesusLovesMe Curriculum in 2013. The compilation of these activities was then completely remodeled in 2021. If I have learned anything in this process, it’s just how important these activities really are.
Please don’t skip the visual perception activities in the ABCJesusLovesMe 4 and 5 Year Curricula. It is vital that a child’s brain is trained to correctly read what is seen and track from left to right and from top to bottom. The activities included will strengthen the child’s visual perception system and point out any issues that may require professional guidance. It’s true that not all children have visual perception issues. Yet all children can benefit from the visual perception activities.
If you aren’t using the 4 and 5 Year Curricula, please take a few minutes each week to do visual perception activities with your child or students. The ABCJesusLovesMe Visual Perception Workbook is a fantastic guide for this time. The child will enjoy the activities and you will feel empowered by the exclusive how-to videos, guides, and play ideas to further visual perception practice.
I know what some of you are thinking…what a sales gimmick! If you believe this, you have missed the mission of this ministry. I don’t share our stories to scare you into buying yet one more thing. I share to encourage you to learn from my mistakes. That is what the body of Christ does.
Jalena Lynne Cruse says
Thank you for sharing. Do you have any suggestions for a 5th grade student struggling in this area?
Jalena…If I had to do it all over again, I would do the same thing – get testing and talk to professionals. Unfortunately for us, we don’t believe that the therapy Sweet Pea got in elementary school was intensive enough, but it was at least a start. Then fight for answers. You have to be your child’s biggest advocate. We knew something wasn’t right because Sweet Pea does very well in school, except in reading. Talk to every professional possible until you figure out what is occurring. And never underestimate prayer. God knows. He loves the child more than you do. He will guide you at the right time to the right people.