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Brian was identified by his school as needing special tutoring because he could not keep up with his Kindergarten class. His teacher tried to create ways to give him head starts since he couldn't complete class work quickly enough. We had noticed his right eye turning out whenever he got tired and discussed it with the pediatrician who told us not to worry. Fortunately, a friend pressed us to do more. We took him to a series of eye doctors who did essentially nothing and told us to prepare for imminent surgery. We didn't want that to be our only option so we tried yet another eye doctor who discovered Brian's brain was learning to adapt to the problem eye by not using it and that, if let go, could lead to permanent blindness. We were referred to Dr. Tong and after reading the literature we were skeptical since we had never heard of anything called vision therapy and it seemed unbelievable that three eye doctors had never suggested there was such an option.
But, Brian was falling further behind in school (now half way through first grade) so we had to try something. It was clear for anyone to see in the course of the evaluation that Brian didn't see the same things we could see. When he couldn't read a page of numbers going across the page but could read every one of them if he was allowed to read down the page, we were in utter shock. So, with high hopes, we took a chance on Dr. Tong and his "radical" ideas.
Brian's problems aren't "all gone." He's not the best student in his class and he has much work to do to catch up. He's 7 so we can't say he enjoys reading but it's no longer a fight to get him to read. It's now just an imposition into his play time but when we see him learning to skate board and looking fluid in motion and not jerky and awkward, our hearts cheer for our little boy and, more importantly, he cheers his own success.
It's been hard work. There is homework daily but much of what he had to do was fun and he barely recognized it was "homework." Brian adores Miss Barbara and almost cried when we told him he only had one week left of vision therapy. Brian can't communicate at 7 if he notices improvements but he eagerly asks to do eye exercises even on days mom and dad are willing to look the other way and miss a day. We believe that means he knows it is helping.
As Brian enters second grade, we know he still has some work to do to catch up all the lost time when his brain couldn't get the messages because his eyes wouldn't cooperate but knowing that Dr. Tong and Miss Barbara have given him a tool chest full of resources makes the path forward seem hopeful instead of dreadful.
Michael and Laurie D.
Vision therapy has helped my 7-year old daughter to make significant improvements in her school performance, homework, attitude towards school in general, in her relationships with her peers, etc. My daughter was always a bright child but she often lacked motivation, became easily frustrated while doing school work, gave up too quickly and could end up taking hours to do a given homework assignment. In addition, her relationships could be rocky in that she could be overly sensitive to or demanding of her friends.
After undergoing vision therapy, my husband and I noticed gradual changes taking place. Our daughter's attitude and interest in school improved; she began to show a greater desire to study and do her assignments. She was able to complete her homework in about ½ the time as before and she could do it with minimal supervision. Our daughter made such improvements that she won "Student of the Month" at her school. Even six months after she has stopped the vision therapy, we are continuing to see all the benefits in our daughter's life. She is happier now, more confident of her skills and abilities, poised, and well-liked by her peers.
Our son Shelby was having trouble in school and in his social life. He was only 8 years old and he always seemed to be sad or angry. My husband and I hated to see him like that. Not until we found Dr. Tong and his staff of Barbara and Olga, did we start to see a ray of hope for our son.
Shelby has come a long way with vision therapy. He loves going to school, he doesn't want to be late for any reason. He has made new friends in school and outside of school as well. Shelby is not afraid to go out and try new things whether it be in sports, schoolwork, food or meeting new people. Shelby has gotten his confidence back and we couldn't be happier.
Shelby's schoolwork and reading has improved remarkably. He is doing "B" work not like before where he was failing. He is able to retain and understand what he is reading now. Shelby is 9 years old now and we can't thank you enough for all you have done for him and our family.
If you knew Bryan a year ago, you would not believe it is the same Bryan that you know today. Gone was the frustration dealing with homework and reading, and the agony of dealing with lower test scores even though he understood the materials very well.
Before his vision problem was detected, Bryan often complained about headaches and blurry vision every time he read. He read well but did not show much interest and enthusiasm. He had to use his index finger as a marker to keep his place when reading. His homework usually took longer than it should.
Also, Bryan's test scores had always been a mystery to us. He worked very hard to study for his tests and was able to demonstrate his ability to understand the materials. Yet his test scores did not reflect that. Bryan's problems were beyond our comprehension. We began to seek help from various doctors and specialists. It wasn't until we met Dr. Tong did we realize Bryan had suffered from visual perception and binocularity problems.
After eight months of vision therapy, Bryan's attitude has changed from a quiet to a bubbly boy. His self confidence has improved tremendously. He no longer gets headaches when reading and is now a voracious reader.
Homework is easier for Bryan to complete and he finishes in less time. His test scores have also improved for he's no longer putting answers in the wrong questions/ places because of the tracking problem.
We hardly see Bryan get angry or frustrated anymore. Instead, we see a happy boy who is full of enthusiasm and self-confidence. We could not have been happier with the vision therapy services that we received and the overall improvement that Bryan has made.
Melanie and Richard B.
We were told that Nicolas would "probably never read." I had heard about vision therapy, but was doubtful that it would make any significant difference- I was wrong.
Nicolas has just completed 20 sessions and within this short time, he is reading and recognizing sight words. The changes are noticeable in all aspects of his life.
He seems to be more organized and concise with his conversations and story telling. He used to hate drawing or coloring, but now will tell stories by drawing vs. verbal explanations. He is more aware of surrounding activities and is more eager to initiate and/or involve/integrate himself with other groups of children. He is more flexible with his routine and eager to try new things…even tennis and basketball.
At first we were in denial about VT being responsible for all of these positive changes. There's no other explanation. Everyone- teachers, friends, family, etc…comment on how Nicolas has grown in his educational plan- even Nicolas is proud of himself!
Andrea T., Nurse
My son is a "good boy." He is a fun-loving, joyous soul who smiles all the time. He is polite, well-mannered, and has one of the most angelic faces you'll ever see. He never gave me a hard time when it came to his studies. Yet, with the advancement of each grade, the struggles we encountered grew in number and difficulty. As I look back at our time together, there were many signs that Christopher was going to need special help.
It took him three years to learn the alphabet. He would "switch" letters in a word, add his own combinations of sounds while pronouncing a word, and often lose his place while reading. His reading comprehension was extremely poor, and, worst of all, he was beginning to dread going to school. He was held back in pre-school and had to work with the school's reading specialists in first and second grade. It was, in fact, one of his reading specialists who referred my son to Dr. Tong.
I was hesitant and a bit skeptical. I had never heard of vision therapy. But, I love my son, and knowing how important a good education is, I was willing to try anything. Christopher worked with Barbara, one of Dr. Tong's angels, for about six months.
I now have a son who enjoys reading, who has improved in his comprehension, and who feels better about himself and his capabilities. His last report card was all A's and one B+! I am so proud of him and all the hard work he did in order to improve. I will be forever grateful to Barbara and Dr. Tong for helping my son succeed in school and in life. When asking his third grade teacher, "When will his sessions with the reading specialist begin?" she replied, "I don't think he needs to go, do you?" I couldn't ask for anything better.
Lisa A., Administrative Assistant for local school District
It seems odd that I am now writing a success story. It was only several months ago that I was reading all the other success stories in Dr. Tong's office which touched me, as I was able to identify with each of the parents.
My son Matthew is 14 yrs old and has just completed 30 sessions of vision therapy (VT). Matt has been struggling academically the last few years. He would take 4 to 5 hours a day just to complete his homework. He would get distracted easily. His teachers would tell us that he wasn't focused and was lazy. We requested a full assessment from his school in spring this year. The testing showed Matt did NOT have any learning disabilities.
Thanks to my sister, who is an occupational therapist, she insisted we have Matt evaluated by a behavioral optometrist. We were so lucky to find Dr. Tong! Matt enjoyed his VT sessions and homework. He never complained. He appreciated Dr. Tong and Barbara, his VT therapist, as they were always positive and encouraged him.
Matt now has much more awareness of his surroundings and can correct himself. He used to walk into me without realizing it; now he catches himself. He says he thinks he had been shading in the wrong bubbles of tests he took (being unable to follow linear). He feels more focused in his work, which his tutor confirmed this summer. He says his accuracy in computer/ video games has improved.
Overall, Matt is a happier person. Thank you to Dr. Tong, Barbara, Karen, Olga, and all of your staff for bringing hope and relief to Matt, my husband and I! We'll keep you posted on improvements we noticed this upcoming school year!
Joanie P., Hospital Social Worker
About a year ago, my 7 year old son, Max, a social, athletic and bright child began to show signs of struggling in school. His teacher and I noticed a discrepancy between his overall intelligence and his performance on reading/writing tasks at school. Copying from the board, skipping or inserting lines/words while reading, wrestling with homework, messy/incomplete assignments and reversing letters/numbers were just a few of the areas Max grappled with.
I worked with the school to try different behavior modification techniques, such as a reward system, but we soon noticed that Max's difficulties were not rooted in negative attitudes or behavior. In fact, he was working harder than most students in his class but with little success.
Our school psychologist recommended Dr. Tong and after about six months of therapy, Max's discrepancy between intelligence and performance is fading. His reading and writing skills are now on grade level, copying from the board is not a challenge anymore, letter/number reversals are no longer haunting us, and homework battles are becoming extinct. Max and I are so grateful to Dr. Tong and his exceptional, professional staff. It is frightening to imagine Max's life without the interventions of Dr. Tong and Jules! I am so fortunate that Dr. Tong was recommended to us; he truly has impacted and improved our lives and my son's future. Thank you!!!
Rosemarie A., Second Grade Teacher
Annette has always been a bright and happy person. This last year we have wondered where that person was.
Everything for Annette had been difficult, from sports to chores to school work. After finding Dr. Tong and vision therapy, we found our Annette again, she is back to her bubbly self. Homework doesn't take hours anymore. Her attitude has changed. No more crying all the time or bad attitude. She is less clumsy, she's better at following directions, and she enjoys reading again.
My husband and I thank God every day that our family is back to normal. The burden of stress due to not knowing what was wrong with our daughter has been lifted. Thanks to Dr. Tong and vision therapy.
Almost one year ago, my son, Michael was making bad grades in school and losing interest quickly. His only good subject was math. I knew he had the cognitive ability to make good grades, because of his grades in math, but he was just not tapping into his potential for reading and writing. Michael was also being disruptive in class during his reading and writing assignments, and it seemed that there was nothing I could do to help him.
One day a friend of mine, who was an optometrist herself, showed me a flyer for Dr. Tong's vision therapy program. My friend also stated that she referred patients to Dr. Tong regularly and that he is at the top of his specialty. The flyer asked a series of questions about the behavior of your child. I was amazed, because almost all the "does your child do this" questions described Michael's behavior exactly in class and at homework time.
I brought Michael in and Dr. Tong performed a comprehensive evaluation of Michael's vision abilities and told me he could help. And help he did! Over the last year Michael has participated in Dr. Tong's vision therapy program. Michael had worked nightly at home with exercises designed by Dr. Tong involving gross motor skills, computer models and guidance to improve his vision habits. Michael has also come for weekly sessions in Dr. Tong's office. Michael has worked with Jannette whom he loves and who has made the program come alive. Jannette has given me updates on Michael's improvements and a lot of helpful suggestions to work with him at home.
After participating in Dr. Tong's vision therapy program for only two months, Michael received an award for "most improved behavior" in class. Michael's reading grade also went up a whole letter. Dr. Tong also suggested that I contact the ABC Learning Center to help Michael catch up on information Michael had missed in class over the prior months. ABC also refers kids to Dr. Tong, and they are knowledgeable about the vision therapy issues when teaching their kids.
Michael has continued to improve in school and his grades in reading and writing are also much better, even though the schoolwork has increased in difficulty. Today there are no more behavioral problems in class and Michael has been able to focus much better. He is better able to follow the directions of his teachers in class and their reports to me continue to be encouraging.
Dr. Tong, his staff, and his program have greatly improved Michael's performance in school and his deposition in general. Michael is happier at school now and doing much, much better than in the years before. I would strongly recommend Dr. Tong and his vision therapy program to any parent who has children with reading and writing issues. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Tong and his staff, and both Michael and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Kevin B., Accountant
Visual therapy has been the best investment I've ever made! Unlike all the tutoring we went through, it solved so many problems.
My daughter had been suffering with this disability for so many years, and I had no idea what she had or how to help her. Because I knew she was a smart child, I just thought she was being lazy and disobedient. We would burn the midnight oil just to complete homework, every night. Her attitude toward schoolwork and herself was so negative, and as a mother, this was painful to see. It was extremely difficult for her to make friends, and Lord knows she tried. No one ever wanted her on their team due to the coordination problems on the playing field. As a result, she was labeled, and socially this was death. We would cry together!
But just after 3 months of working with Miss Barbara, my daughter's life has taken a wonderful turn for the better! She now enjoys homework and will even take on harder problems with no fuss or fear. Her positive attitude toward herself has really come a long way. Self-esteem and confidence shines through her face! She has made new friendships and her social skills are right on target. I thank God for the teacher who recommended Dr. Tong and his wonderful staff.
We started vision therapy in September, 2004, because of an assessment by the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) which found Caitlin, our 9 year old daughter, to have a visual processing disorder with sensory motor skill difficulties. We requested this assessment because Caitlin's school work was so inconsistent. Also, she had difficulty with sports and friendships.
Since completing 30 sessions of vision therapy, Caitlin has shown great improvement. Her school work is much more consistent. Homework, especially written work involving spelling and handwriting, has become quite manageable. She had an A- average on her last report card for 4th grade.
Caitlin is connecting better with old friends and is making new friends. She can now play basketball with her brother and is able to dribble and make baskets. She was recently re-assessed by the speech therapist at PUSD. She completed all tests (inference, sequencing, and pragmatic skills) with excellent results. The speech therapist remarked what a totally different child Caitlin had become and stated there was no longer a need for services. I think because of vision therapy, Caitlin has become more in-sync with the world. I am grateful for Dr. Tong and his vision therapy work.
"I came because I couldn't read for more than a few minutes. I could watch TV without difficulty. Since I have taken the (vision) training I find that I can read for as long as I want to. I think that my comprehension is better. I think that many children would benefit from this (vision) therapy. In the last day or so I haven't felt the pulling in my right eye which I have had for years." "I am recovering from a stroke and my balance is better. How much is from the vision therapy and how much is from physical therapy I can't tell."
David V. Hubbell, M.D., Retired Neurosurgeon
Prior to coming to Dr. Tong's for vision therapy, I was a graduate student studying philosophy. As a student I found that it was getting harder and harder to read and later even drive. My eyes constantly ached even when I was not reading, and I was in a great deal of pain. After going through vision therapy, I was able to track and scan objects better than I ever have before. Before I came, even looking for small objects or things in a store was extremely cumbersome. Now such tasks are very easy. I also drive and read with much greater ease. It has really given me a greater desire to continue to learn and try new things. Prior to starting vision therapy, I was beginning to have doubts about these abilities.
Dr. Tong and his staff are top rate and I would recommend any adult or child in need of vision therapy to come here.
Thanks so much for all you've done and continue to do.
Joseph S., Financial Advisor
I have been suffering from double vision for the past four years. My condition seemed to be getting progressively worse. It was impacting my ability to function normally in many day-to-day situations, including driving, working on the computer and teaching.
My previous doctor had prescribed glasses with a prism, but often this was not enough. I did some research on the causes and treatment of double vision and discovered that there was something called vision therapy. I found a listing of optometrists who specialized in vision therapy and located Dr. Tong.
I began a 20-session vision therapy treatment. After the first few sessions, I began to notice that my double vision was not as frequent. Half way through the therapy I was able to see a significant improvement. By the end, I was able to function most of the time without my glasses.
My vision therapy with Dr. Tong helped me to learn techniques which assisted in improving my vision. I am able to apply these skills while driving, reading, working on the computer, and teaching. My reliance on my glasses has decreased significantly. In short, I feel that my life is back to normal.
Desdemona C., Educator
When we first came to Dr. Tong's office, we had never heard of developmental optometry before.
Our daughter Bela had been struggling with reading in school since Kindergarten. She had repeated 2nd grade, but even after that she was still not able to read at grade level. Homework would take her all afternoon (5-6 hours) and she rarely went out to play with friends. I would sit with her to help her, so I barely had time for the rest of my family and to prepare for dinner. If I left her to do it alone, it would take even longer, and then most of it would have to be erased and done again. The whole family was feeling the stress. She also had really bad headaches sometimes after school, she frequently felt tired, and got red eyes after reading or doing homework.
Naturally, she had grown to dislike reading, and all the struggling was affecting her self esteem. We were feeling frustrated, almost hopeless, and we worried about her future in school. Her grades were ok, but I knew she was smart and that there was some difficulty preventing her from doing better.
We took her to see an eye doctor and he said she had 20/20 vision, so we thought the problem might be dyslexia or ADD. She was tested by the school district (IEP) but did not qualify for special ed. services. We ended up trying ADD medication for a while.
At the beginning, we were a little skeptical about how much "vision therapy" would really help Bela, because we'd been told that she had "20/20" vision: and we didn't know that vision is a learned skill which, if not fully developed, can affect their school work.
After about 6 months of vision therapy, Bela is a different kid. She is reading at grade level and she loves reading now, which for me is the best gift. No more headaches, tiredness, red eyes and hours of homework with me by her side. She does her work on her own and a lot faster and she seems more confident and happy.
We have been so impressed and very pleased with the care and attention of Dr. Tong and all his staff, especially Barbara. We are endlessly grateful for your help. We have learned so much about the importance of vision and we hope that all parents, teachers and schools will become more aware and informed about it.
Carmen S., Mom
Olivia was struggling to read easily, see the board and quickly change focus from paper to the board, and had struggled in third grade with homework.
With Barbara's loving encouragement, her dedication to doing at-home exercises, and reading glasses, Olivia is now reading chapter books as a "free time" choice. She's doing well at school and not struggling with homework.
Thank you, Dr. Tong, and Barbara for all your care and treatment.
Kelly Q., Manager
Our daughter, Mary, has always been a very happy, articulate, mature-beyond-her-years kind of girl. We were so surprised when she found it difficult to read in kindergarten and 1st grade. Her 1st grade teacher suggested we see Dr. Tong, and after evaluating her, told us that she really had some major vision problems. We were nervous about starting the program because Mary didn't seem to have any problems other than reading.
Thank goodness we enrolled her in vision therapy. She can read as well as any child in 2nd grade now and she loves to read. The words are no longer jumping around on the page. She can focus on the blackboard and then back to her paper. She writes in a straight line- with beautiful penmanship. This has taught Mary a wonderful lesson too. She has learned that no one is perfect and that if you have a problem, you can overcome it.
Thank you all so much.
Anne A. Mom
When we first noticed difficulties with Kristy, she had shown significant changes in her school work, her high interest in reading, computer and other academic interests.
She became more disorganized, not wanting to keep her room neat and clean the way she used to do (this was her desire more than ours). She would lose her glasses and everything else, and she became frustrated more easily on a daily basis. It took her 3 times as long to complete her homework with long frequent breaks, instead of taking 20 minutes. She wanted to lie on the couch and watch TV (unusual) instead of playing. She loved sports but didn't advance as quickly as others. Even though she was very coordinated, she couldn't time the ball. She went from reading at a 5th grade level in 3rd grade to below a 3rd grade level even though she scored in the 90% percentile in her SAT and CAT scores. She took twice as long to finish work in class or take a test.
Now, Kristy's visual field has expanded from 3 inches to 6 inches, and she can keep up with reading in the class and homework by using some visual strategies and after doing vision homework, vision therapy and the photo light therapy. She is generally happier and less frustrated. She re-organized her room and keeps it neat as well as tracking her things. She wants to check out books from the library. She is very good at sports like gymnastics, volleyball and basketball. She is more confident about her abilities and understands how her vision affects what she can and can't do, so she knows what strategies to use to help her the most in school, at home, playing sports and in her daily life.
Cherrise S., Child Development Specialist
Zachary has always been known as an easy-going kid, always having a smile on his face. But around the age of 4 1/2, he started becoming angry about things, even becoming mean.
Around the same time, we started seeing an eye doctor who prescribed glasses and the patching of Zac's "lazy" eye. We saw this doctor monthly with no improvement. Then our friend (an occupational therapist) referred us to Dr. Tong. We, especially Zac, liked Dr. Tong and his therapist, Barbara, from the moment we met them. Zac has really enjoyed every session with Ms. Barbara. And although he became frustrated with some of the home therapy exercises, Ms. Barbara always tried to tailor the exercises to make them more fun for Zac.
The results of all this have been awesome! Zac does not complain about fatigue when reading or blurred vision anymore. He has a greater level of self confidence and maturity. He has more patience and frustrates less easily. He is excelling in school! He is also really enjoying sports now. And the anger and meanness are gone! Zac is definitely a happy, easy-going kid again!
Having seen the results of vision therapy with Zac, I would definitely recommend it to other families.
Thank you, Dr. Tong and Ms. Barbara!
Cristy H., Attorney
Before I started seeing Dr. Tong it was hard for me to read. I read slowly and didn't like to read. Spelling and learning vocabulary words were hard subjects for me. After working with Jules in Dr. Tong office, I think reading is more fun. I like to read. Spelling and vocabulary words are easier and I am doing much better. I am glad that I came to Dr. Tong's vision therapy sessions.
Before I did vision therapy, I had difficulty in reading and writing because sometimes I saw two objects when only one exists. I experienced headaches while I was reading and couldn't make sense of what was just read. I spent hours struggling to complete my homework. After the first few weeks, I started to see improvements in my schoolwork. I finished my homework faster and I also had better concentration. I started to get better grades and had more confidence. Now I could also see things more clear without seeing double anymore. I could read better and see the story in my head. I liked the way that they helped and guided me through the activities. I had a fun time and it was very helpful to my vision. It was a miracle to me. Thank you vision therapy!
Once Shantell's vision problem was corrected she saw positive changes throughout her life: Vision therapy really helped me improve in many different things. It helped me do better in school and helped me to gain confidence. My handwriting also improved. I play volleyball much better now and I'm enjoying it. I'm glad I came to vision therapy. I'll miss coming and most of all I will miss Barbara. Shantell T.