HealthBeat

How Vision Therapy Can Help Kids Succeed In School

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - You may take for granted the ability to see and read clearly, but believe it or not, vision accounts for 80 percent of your learning.

So for those who struggle to see or process what they see clearly.. there's a solution that doesn't involve surgery or needles. 

It's the sound of progress. 

After just three sessions, seven-year-old Elizabeth Wonnenberg is making major improvements. 

After an ADHD diagnosis, her mom Melissa, noticed some red flags when it came to her daughter's learning. 

"It's always been, 'She's just really young for her age, and she'll catch on really soon, she's just young,'" Wonnenberg said. 

So that's why she brought her here, for vision therapy. 

"We can make changes to the visual system so that it works more effectively, making reading and learning easier," Dr. Ashley Gentrup said. 

Gentrup, who struggled with her vision herself growing up, says patients like Elizabeth will complete a series of exercises like tracking and following moving targets. 

"Sometimes glasses are helpful, but sometimes it's a little more than glasses can handle," Gentrup said. 

While many of the Visions patients are children, optometrists here can also help patients recovering from a stroke or a concussion. 

Gentrup says the goal is simple: to help kids like Elizabeth succeed this school year. 

"Streghten their visual system and not have that be a barrier, hopefully they can flourish and flower and achieve success," Gentrup said. 

And the improvements mean a lot to her mom, too. 

"In just such a short amount of time, we have gone from a kid that's kind of just not really knowing what her next step was, to being very aware of herself and being able to do different things," Wonnenberg said. 

Elizabeth combines her vision therapy with occupational therapy to improve her results. 
Her mom says she will be ready to begin first grade next week. 

If her name sounds familiar, Elizabeth is KELOLAND's Casey Wonnenberg's niece. 


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