Sue Solberg

This isn't exactly unschooling, but I'm trying to look at the issue from that perspective.  At a recent vision appointment for my daughter (9.5yo) they determined that she was having problems with eye tracking and teaming.  The standard line to take is to do vision therapy to train the eyes to work together better and to be able to move more smoothly.  This allows for better school success, of course.  What I'm wondering though, is if this is something that will get better in time, or is there a good reason to consider the therapy?  I'd rather not do it, both because it is expensive and more importantly because I suspect it would present the idea that something is "wrong" that has to be fixed from the outside.



A few questions that would hopefully address the unschooling perspective:

Is your daughter talking about headaches, troubling reading/drawing/gaming or other close up seeing issues, any complaints of double vision?

Is your daughter aware of the eye doctor's concerns? Does she want to work on her eyes?

Is vision therapy feasible for your family? In the US it's not usually covered by insurance. 

Did the doctor give you any research recommendations, or anything to read about eye tracking issues and therapy?

My daughter began vision therapy at 2.5yo because her eyes would turn in occasionally. We were told that tracking is fundamentally a neurological issue rather than a physical eye muscle issue, so we wanted to be sure to engage her brain as early as possible. She enjoyed it while she could until we moved to an area more than an hour from the nearest eye doctor that offers vision therapy. We saw a new doctor and had some kooky recommendations as well as take home exercises that were horrible and we didn't stick with it. A year later, now Aila is 5.5yo now, we recently saw another new doctor, learned more about the eye-brain connection, and we'll be renting some special therapy glasses this doctor invented to help keep both eyes tracking while doing close up work. Aila wears glasses that help her eyes work in stereo, and we only see an eye turn when she takes her glasses off or when she's really tired. When that happens she says she sees two of things and so she understands the reason for therapy games and has no problem with them as long as they're fun. 

Some things to keep in mind: the eye doctor and staff may try to tell you if you don't do as they say and address this issue now your daughter may end up needing surgery and she'll never see properly. Don't let them scare you. The brain is plastic and adults can fix eye turns and tracking, it just may take a bit more work to unravel the neurological pathways that developed to compensate. If she's not motivated now she may be later. Her eyes and vision will be fine either way. 

Tracking is generally a focusing issue, so if she doesn't wear glasses you may consider cheap readers from the grocery store so her eyes relax while doing close up work. 

The eyes go through developmental shifts leading up to puberty, so if this has never been noticed before it may be temporary. 

Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch. There's no rush here. 

If you want any more eye info, feel free to contact me directly. I've done a lot of reading on this stuff. 


Catherine Forest

Hi Sue! We received the same diagnosis for our 10 yo daughter last year. Mathilde was very frustrated with letters dancing all over the books she was trying to read for a few years. We couldn't commit to vision therapy appointments since we live on the road (and also since the cost was VERY high), but the therapist was nice enough to teach us the exercices to do. Mathilde did them for a few months, but it was very hard and painful (she ended up having a headache after only 5 min and feeling nauseous), so we stopped. It's hard to know if it will get better in time... For now, Mathilde is listening to audiobooks because reading is impossible for more than 5 minutes for her. However, vision therapy is not something she wants to do right now and I completely understand. I feel that finding alternative solutions are the best option for her at this point (audiobooks, videos, reading to her, etc.). 

It's important to mention that it was a relief for her to understand that her eyes muscle weren't strong enough to allow her to keep the letters from dancing and that was why reading was so frustrating to her. She kept wondering why her sisters could read for long periods without getting tired. The therapist was incredible and explain to her that in the old times, when men and women worked the fields, if one of them had weak arm muscles, he or she was considered lazy and people would comment on it. She said that nowadays, the work is different and a lot of it has to do with writing and reading and if it's your eyes muscles that are weak, people comment on it the same way... 

I feel like at 10 yo, what matters most is for them to feel competent and to help them relieve the frustration associated with reading by finding solutions. That's what has worked for us so far. We installed a program on her computer that can read everything that is on the screen to her. Technology is amazing!


My dd (now 20) used pinhole glasses to strengthen her eyes when she was doing any kind of close work or watching TV. Some therapist recommended finding a colored sheet protector that made the letters jump off the page for her (blue worked best for her, but other kids prefer red, yellow, etc.). She's doing great now, and honestly I am not sure if any of these thing contributed to her success at all. Also, we made a peeker which helped a little but she didn't like using it and stopped.
Good luck Momma!


All I know is that the therapy made all the difference in the world for our son when he had it at age 10! He no longer was fatigued after reading and I no longer have to have everything copied onto green paper. And a huge bonus to us, miracle of miracle he could finally ride a bicycle afterwards. Definitely worth it for us.


Good luck with your decision.



Sandra Dodd

-=-All I know is that the therapy made all the difference in the world for our son when he had it at age 10!-=-

There must be more to know. :-)
If he was in school, there was a hurry. If he wasn’t in school, there might not have been.

-=-He no longer was fatigued after reading and I no longer have to have everything copied onto green paper.-=-

“Have to” is a danger. “Have to” sounds helpless, powerless.

-=-And a huge bonus to us, miracle of miracle he could finally ride a bicycle afterwards.-=-

Were his eyes the only factor? You don’t need to answer that, but there are people who can’t ride a bike until they’re ten, or later, for various reasons.

IF the response to which I’m responding didn’t involve unschooling, IF a child was being pressed to the point of fatigue to read, then sharing it in this group might not be helpful to those wanting unschooling information.

If there are people who had the surgery recommended who waited a while and found it unnecessary, or waited a while without problems, that might be good information to have. If there are people who waited and wish they hadn’t, that would be good to know.