Thursday, April 3, 2014

Well, It's official :(

K recently had an assessment at school with the CNIB.  She is now considered to be a student with low vision & while I'm not surprised, I was really hoping her sight wasn't this bad  :(

The evaluation was very helpful though & there were some positive aspects too. Although it was done through the school I was able to be present for the entire evaluation which was great because I was able to ask many question about activities such as skiing that don't really pertain to school.

I have known for a long time that K prefers very large print. I also know that she has the ability to read fairly small print because she will happily & willingly do so in very small amounts. However she refuses to read tiny print for any length of time. K's reading progress seemed to really slow down after she mastered level 2 readers. Both her opthamologist & optometrist warned me that "eventually" her vision may affect her reading ability but they made it seem so far off in the future that it took me close to a year to figure it out.  We started photocopying & enlarging short, 100 page or less chapter books & her reading started to progress again. While I now know that K greatly prefers reading large print during the testing it was obvious that, up close, she has the ability read really, really, tiny print! YAY!!!

Unfortunately, although she can read small print up close, her ability to see well decreases very quickly at even short distances.  At one meter her vision is 20/160.  This explains why when the teacher is using the smart board at school & all the kids sit on the rug watching K prefers to stand right in front of the computer & watch on it instead.

We had been looking into whether or not to get K some reading glasses.  The opthamologist gave her a prescription for reading glasses but was uncertain as to whether or not they would help.  We discussed this during the eval & came to the conclusion that K is using her glasses like bifocals anyways & this is probably more beneficial than a separate pair of glasses anyways.  K always uses her glasses when looking at things at a distance & then when looking up close she looks over them. This makes the print look larger & allows her to see it more easily.  It always amazes as to how smart kids are at finding their own solutions to things! So no reading glasses it is & K will continue to use her glasses according to her needs.

I was concerned about K's depth perception.  She is currently in level one in her Nancy Greene Learn to Ski program.  She has all of the skills needed to pass her current level & can do everything the other kids do except she skis more slowly. She is just not willing to go any faster. Because K has AAI we have always taught her to ski very carefully & only allowed her to progress to more difficult runs after she showed us that she skied completely in control. Some of her reasons for skiing slowly may be just that we taught to be so careful. It could also be that with 20/160 vision she needs to go slowly to see where she is going however I was also concerned with her depth perception.  Thankfully the testing showed that it is good - I only scored very slightly better myself & I'm sure I was much more interested in that test than she was!

They had another test which involved a story, in very large print thankfully, that got lighter in colour with each sentence. Even at the very end when the text was such a light grey that it really blended with the white paper she was able to continue to read the story! I'm so glad as this was another concern that I had with her skiing as we ski at night about once a week.  I'm still a bit in the dark as to why K skis more slowly than her buddies but at least we've ruled out my bigger concerns. The  most important thing is that she skis well, is careful, & uses good judgement especially when negotiating different terrains or features such as tabletops or jumps.

The evaluator had a few tips for the teachers although in kindergarten they mainly use very large print anyways.  The bigger help will be for K's reading at home because they are surplussing a machine (I've been on holidays for the last 2 weeks & forget the name of it) that allows me to enlarge any book for K so this will be a great help for her chapter books as well as for the New Practice Reader books that she uses for her neurodevelopmental program as the print is also getting smaller in these as she progresses through the levels. It will stay at home for her to use here.

K's nystagmus is likely the cause of most of her visions issues.  Andi talks about it in her blogpost.

We are doing various exercises for K's eyes as part of her neurodevelopmental program & while we've seen improvements but I'm still hoping to improve her vision so she is able to get her driver's license when she is older. 

While this evaluation didn't answer all of my questions I am happy that I have a better grasp on K's vision issues & I'm excited to try out her chapter books in enlarged print!