A Special Education

Dr. V. wore a pinstripe collar shirt and a light gray tie with small brown dogs printed all over it. It matched his personality. During my son’s assessment, he laughed at his jokes and answered every one of his questions, even the silly ones.

Dr. V. spent the last 45 minutes explaining to me in depth the results of my son’s vision evaluation. Not be confused with his eyesight examination. His eyesight was fine. He didn’t need glasses. If only.

The vision evaluation unearthed some concerns. While Dr. V. described oculomotor dysfunction, loss of fixation, accommodative level and facility, exophoria, convergence insufficiency, and visual perception, my mind raced into the future.

I knew where we were headed, because we’d been there before. Vision therapy. We would spend the next six months (or more) – including the summer vacation – doing twice weekly vision therapy, and it would break my son’s heart.

“Do you have any questions?” Dr. V. asked.

How is it fair that one kid has to deal with all this crap? Do you know how many doctors, therapists, and tutors he has? He’s 10! There aren’t enough hours in the day! Will it even help? Should I just let him be? Am I ruining his childhood? Will he like reading when it’s all done? Will his handwriting be neater and his homework be less unbearable? How do I know when I’m pushing him too hard or not hard enough? Does he know how smart, kind, intuitive, brave, and imaginative he is? Will he live a happy life? Does he resent me for insisting on these interventions? Does he begrudge me for not doing more? Will it get worse or better as he ages? Is it affecting his self-esteem? Is it my fault? Why do I have to be an OT, ST, VT, SPD, ADD, IEP expert? Why can’t I just be his mom?

“Why is this so hard?” I blurted out.

Dr. V. chuckled. “No one teaches us about this stuff before we have kids,” he said. “Being a parent is a special education, isn’t it?”


Dr. V. looked about my dad’s age. His kids must’ve been grown. He’d been through the hard bits. He was incredibly patient and had a comforting vibe that gave me hope that, in the long run, everything would be okay.

Still, I wanted to climb across his desk and inhabit his body. I was desperate to see my journey from his vantage point. I ached for my future self to tell my present self  that everything would be okay.

But, just as I knew I had to persevere and do the hard work to get to the other side of vision therapy, I also understood I had to persist and do the heart-filling (and heartbreaking) work of raising my boy.

Someday, I would be on the other side. Someday, I would understand the meaning of everything’s going to be okay, but it wasn’t my turn yet. I thanked Dr. V. for his time, put my son’s name on the vision therapy waiting list, and headed home.


Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!



Filed under education, therapy

8 responses to “A Special Education

  1. Barry Gorevitz

    Oh no!

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Well…I hope your conclusion is correct. For some of us with special needs children this stuff may never end – and I think for all parents there are sometimes ongoing concerns even as kids grow up. But yes, having one special needs child and one typical child I can assure anyone that the concerns with the former exponentially outnumber those for the latter…

    Reading your spoken questions paragraph just ripped MY heart out.
    Right there with you.

    I tend to err on the less-intervention side, but only because the benefits for my child seemed to be outweighed by the costs (I don’t mean just money). Sometimes it seems like any approach inherently has weaknesses…But we sure love our kids!!!!


    Thanks and love,
    Full Spectrum Mama


  3. Maybe I'll Shower Today

    Kids are certainly not easy. Thankfully, there are people like your doctor who help us through.


  4. I could have written this same post 11 years ago. Our oldest had been through so much already and when I sat in the office with my husband I felt worn out and I though I was hopeful, I was also dubious. Would this really work? It actually did, it was the last piece we needed and our son is now 18 a senior in HS and getting ready to go to college. it’s not as if his academic career was smooth sailing, but the vision therapy really helped so much!!!! In fact I also wish I could go back to the mom in the office and tell her that all the work he did, and we did was worth it! xoxo


  5. It would be so reassuring to step back and be able to see it all from the standpoint of a third party who knows that everything is going to be okay… eventually. But you’re the mom, you’re too close to it, and it’s mom nature to endlessly ask yourself all those questions. Good luck and hang in there, mom!


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