Willem Thisse’s Vision Therapy Story
We are proud to present a remarkable story of Willem Thisse, a successful Vision Therapy patient at Suburban Eye Care.
“Dear Miss Amanda. I thank you so much for helping me through vision therapy and the tips you gave me. I also thank you for encouraging me throughout vt, it helped me so much. Your job is so important to me and to other people. What you do has changed my life. With much appreciation, Willem.”
Here is what his mom wrote: “ I’m not sure I could express fully my gratefulness for you. You have spurned us when we were tired, believed in us when our faith was small and made the biggest difference ever in our lives. I will homeschool all my kids in a different way because of all the things you taught us. You’ve left an indelible mark on our lives and I will forever be grateful for you and the work you do. With the deepest respect, Holly Thisse.”
His mother was extremely emotional and we are both so proud of how far Willem has come!
When Willem started VT his NPC was 6cm, he hated reading and was years behind. Now he admits he enjoys reading, is always telling us about the book he is on, NPC is to the nose, and he is just about up to grade level for reading. His self-esteem is so much better, he believes he can do things and that he is a reader. He doesn’t give up and doesn’t have the frustration he used to have. He was very happy and proud yesterday : )
More Vision Therapy Testimonials
Before VT: School, homework and reading were very frustrating activities for Charles and therefore difficult for us to know how to help him. He’d be tired, cranky and defiant around school, homework and reading.
VT has impacted Charles positively in several ways. It has boosted his confidence in school, in his ability to read and comprehend, and complete work more independently. He willingly reads on his own and talks about school in a way that shows interest.
I feel like VT provided us with the support and understanding to work with Charles and his vision dysfunction.
“Vision Therapy is not a joke! My 15 year old daughter (now 16) told me out of the blue that she saw 2 of everything?? She always knew something was wrong, but eye doctor after eye doctor (AND an ophthalmologist) told her she had 20/20 vision. She just thought everyone saw double because that was her “normal.” It has been the best experience for her. Worth every penny! Dr. Smith and Amanda are wonderful. Noelle now has more confidence, is less tired, no more migraines and can see like the rest of us. It was a lot of hard work but well worth it.”
Before VT, Christian would sit with me to read. He would SO commonly lose his place, get super frustrated and get so worked up he would cry. I thought “He’s just a young boy who wants to move!” Christian would rub his eyes often, complain that they hurt and they’d tear a lot. I felt like he was more or less on grade level within our home school curriculum, but it was just very frustrating for him to sit still.
Christian still doesn’t LOVE reading, but I will occasionally find him reading something on his own. He can now read his own math book only needing help with new concepts, not the directions or questions he’s reading.
VT is, as expected, a big time commitment. We took the exercises and weekly appointments VERY seriously. Sometimes as the parent consistently working with Christian, I would fight him to get it done. I didn’t love that part, but all in all it’s paid off!!!
I would definitely recommend the investment of time and financial resources to make VT happen if that’s what’s recommended. Even Christian can tell me what has improved!
I am a long-time patient of Suburban Eye Care and I see Dr. Jacobi for all my vision issues. Following a Cochlear Implant in 2009 I struggled with imbalance problems, dizziness, walking problems and disorientation in the dark. Dr. Jacobi put prisms into my prescription which helped me for a while. Over time I was unable to take walks or drive as my problems grew worse ending up with headaches and nausea and always “seeing” my world with a “rocking sensation” or feeling dizzy. Following more examination my problem was diagnosed and visual therapy was prescribed.
For four months I did my therapy under the watchful eye of Dr. Smith and therapist, Amanda. I was issued new exercises each week. I was evaluated each week. I slowly improved over time and now enjoy being free from headaches and nausea. I can walk much better now and I am driving again. I have my confidence back. I feel much better now than I have for years.
I am now entering a maintenance program which is to fortify my progress. I would recommend this vision therapy to others suffering with similar problems. I would like to add that both Dr. Smith and Amanda were constantly encouraging, very supportive, always available, answered my concerns and very friendly. Thank you, Suburban Eye Care!
I, as his mother, always knew in my heart that there was something “not quite right” with Luc’s learning but always managed to get by and I wondered if I was just being overly picky or expectant of him in school. Maybe he just wasn’t a strong student. But something told me I maybe should have had him tested for a possible learning disorder? Well, he was getting into 12th grade and I was told it was too late for an evaluation. It wouldn’t help even if something was found.
Then, in the summer before his senior year, during a baseball game, he asked to be scheduled with the eye doctor because he was “having a hard time tracking the ball.” That appointment led us to Suburban Eye Care, Dr. Jacobi, and Kara Marshall. What a blessing! I was validated that there was “something” off. Luc was validated that he wasn’t unintelligent, and we were assured, with hard work all could be improved.
We, as a family, decided to go through the Vision Therapy program and put our trust and faith into it. It was the best decision! It was an investment into our son’s future, his confidence and self-esteem, and ultimately into his educational future. We are proud to share that not only has Luc now decided to attend college, but he has done so on his own accord and with confidence. And he will able to continue sports as part of his college endeavors! Thank you Dr. Jacobi and Kara!
After doing 18 months of another program without much improvement, we found vision therapy. I wish we’d come here first. Their approach with the primitive reflex integration is so much more beneficial and effective. Everyone here is so knowledgeable and kind. They answered all our questions and found the root of our daughter’s struggles. The program was easy to follow. It is a commitment but well worth it. I highly recommend vision therapy! It has helped our daughter so much!
I’m an adult who went through vision therapy myself. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Dr. Jacobi and Amanda, as well as the rest of the staff.
Dr. Jacobi listens and empathizes with you. He wants what you want — to be able to see better. He is always so positive and cheerful, you always feel better about everything after you see him. But most of all he is a great eye doctor. He understands vision and vision issues in a way that very few eye doctors do.
Amanda is an amazing vision therapist. The program is so well structured. You learn skills and build on them. At every step the patient can see his/her progress. So you are always motivated to do more.
Amanda is patient, always gearing the program to fit your needs exactly. She is always encouraging, kind, and thoughtful. It is easy to tell her about the progress or problems you may have had. She always treats you with compassion and respect, and will work with you to achieve the very most that you can.
I am so very grateful that I came to Suburban Eye Care for my vision therapy needs. I am so pleased with the wonderful care that I received and the great results that I achieved.
Before vision therapy Maria did not want to read or write. She knew how to read words but when there were a lot on a page she would struggle and then give up. A different doctor said her eye sight was fine but I felt something was wrong and when a friend told me about Dr. Jacobi we discovered her vision difficulties. It took a little while to see the changes coming, but after a few months her reading and writing improved dramatically and she can finally play catch. Maria is proud of her work during vision therapy and is starting to read well enough to enjoy many new stories in chapter books she could never read before.
Our daughter went through the vision therapy program here. She had multiple things going on with her eyes that were preventing her from living her best life. Although the timing was not great (she started right before COVID), they did everything possible to keep her on track and motivated. We met virtually and then eventually in person with many safety measures in place (they were very good at keeping a high standard of safety as well) She grew leaps and bounds in her confidence, she wasn’t tripping over everything anymore, such a confident reader too!!!
The program is not easy, and requires commitment from the patient and family, but it is well worth it!
My daughter misses Ms. Kara her therapist, and her checkups with Dr Jacobi. She felt very cared for the whole time and I felt they saw her and all others as individuals, not just another number. They get to know you and you feel part of the family.
I would recommend this program to anyone who needs it!
Even if you don’t, I know a number of athletes that go through this type of program to strengthen their balance and abilities.
I can’t say enough great things about Ms. Kara!
She does great work!
Hudson was well below grade level for reading when we started. We also decided to have him repeat 2nd grade. He never wanted to read and avoided it in any way possible. Now he is reading at grade level and will read on his own for enjoyment. His handwriting has also improved. He has gone from hating math to it being his favorite subject and he does really well in math now.
I believe I just googled treatment for amblyopia and started reading. I kept coming across vision therapy as a treatment option but I had no idea at the time what it was. I mentioned it to her ophthalmologist and she was quick to tell me it wouldn’t help. Ok, cross that off the list. And then I was reading the blog of a mommy blogger I follow in Texas. He son was doing VT and was quite successful. Put that in the back of my mind. Holly was in school now and was beginning to show some struggles with reading. I mentioned it to my mom and she mentioned it to a friend of hers who is a reading specialist in a nearby public school. She said we should look into this place that several of the students she serviced for reading struggles went to (spoiler alert, it was VT). Again, tuck that away. My aunt, who is not local, mentioned the patching and reading struggles and “lazy eye” to a co-worker. She told her we needed to look into this place (nowhere near us!) that her daughter went to for help. I googled the place and it was a vision therapist on the west side of the state. This was now the THIRD time VT had come up. Time to explore!
Google brought us to Suburban Eye Care. I knew based on the research I had done that if we were going to try it, it was going to be costly. At our initial consultation, we felt very welcomed. Everyone in the office was kind, compassionate and knowledgeable. Holly fell in love with Dr. Jacobi’s humor and would always say my eye doctor is soooooooo funny. Holly was evaluated and we started talking about a treatment plan. Dr. Jacobi was confident Holly would benefit from vision therapy and in about 9 months or so. And then the cost. We knew going into it, it was going to be costly and it is, but in the end, we decided our daughter was worth every penny to give it a try. We also decided it was something we had to try or else we would always have that regret of what if we had tried.
Each week we were given individualized activities to complete by our fabulous therapist, Ms. Amanda. We went all in. We faithfully did our VT nearly 7 days a week. I say our VT intentionally because it was a family program. Holly’s 14 and 16-year-old brothers were part of the plan too. It was rare that Holly would complain and it was usually if we had a particularly busy day and had put it off too long. She knew at 7 years old that everything she was doing was to help her vision and make her eyes as strong as possible. Through a lot of hard work and some extra time thanks to Covid 19, we saw our daughter who once complained of headaches while reading and jumping words and blurry letters become a stronger reader. When forced (I use that word appropriately) to read before, Holly always found many excuses to stop or take a break or change books while reading. Now Holly is right on track with her grade level peers in reading. She no longer complains about reading. Another surprising change was her handwriting. Handwriting was not even on my radar as far as being improved by VT but it did!
So, to the parent(s) questioning whether or not VT will help their child, I would say go for it! Something brought you here like it did me and it’s not accidental. Get ready for lots of hard work and fun work and progress and success. Get ready to see your child graduate from VT with loads of pride and success.
My daughter, Brooklyn would come home from school every day with a headache. Homework that was sent home daily to do for 30 minutes would sometimes take us up to 2 hours to complete. Brooklyn was not confident when it came to reading and she was slowly starting to fall behind. After 8 months of VT Brooklyn has not had any headaches, homework has become a breeze and she loves to read! So thankful to have found Dr. Jacobi and his staff.
Before vision therapy Violet was struggling in many areas, most notably reading and writing. Once we found out about her diagnosis, we decided surgery was not the first route we wanted to choose. The Suburban Eye Care office was friendly and able to get us in to discuss options quickly and thoroughly. Once we started vision therapy we watched our daughter change from a kid who cried every time we pulled out a book to read, to a little girl who would pick up a book on her own and read by herself. The exercises we used during therapy were fun to watch because you could see her eyes coming in to focus and how it was actually working! Before therapy, Violet would cry whenever asked to try to sound out words while writing by herself. Now she frequently leaves notes for mom and dad and completes her homework with minimal assistance! I would highly recommend vision therapy to anyone who is struggling with visual issues! Our entire experience was wonderful from start to finish.
I’m a school psychologist who has first hand experience with many children who have vision concerns. Starting treatment was “no brainer” for us as it was part of ruling out what “it might be” when considering attention problems. Before VT my daughter struggled to sustain attention, do near point work at school-even in kindergarten-and to show good coordination (she’d run into things or fall off of items). Since VT, her confidence has improved, coordination has improved and her willingness to do tasks has improved. She’s the only kid I know that say 1st grade is easier than kindergarten and I know it’s because of VT. We started this process because mid-way through kindergarten she said she hated school. Upon working with her great VT team, she’s never uttered those words. I continue to talk with parents about VT concerns, and I’m happy to now be able to tell them our first-hand experience and successes with VT. There benefits cannot be summed up in one paragraph!
My name is Jaden Carlson and I am a professional women’s motocross rider, who has been riding her whole life without depth perception, my eyes seeing together, not being able to see 3D, and not being able to judge distance (by like 15feet). I always knew that my eyes weren’t “normal” because growing up I wasn’t able to cross them like the other kids and I was picked on for it. I was picked on through middle school because my eyes were different. I’ve had 5 eye surgeries that were cosmetic to get my eyes to look like they were seeing together and all it did was confuse me and at times make me see double. Everything was more flat and didn’t really pop out to me before, I couldn’t see any 3D movies because of my eyes. So as all the kids were jumping when something popped out in Spy Kids I just sat there.
I could see one eye or the other and didn’t realize why everyone was so all about it. When it snowed it was like I was in my own little glass bubble and all the snow flakes were going around me. And some how I managed to get my driver’s license without being able to judge distance. I was usually hitting my arms on corners of walls and usually just clumsy. I blamed it on it’s just how I am but it was just how I was seeing. And growing up at restaurants when you have to find out what the line goes to on the kids menu’s it always took me longer to do and I just saw how everyone else did theirs, not realizing that because of how my eyes were it affected a lot. My entire life has been different and affected because of my eyes.
With coming here it has been a whole lot different and so far for the better. I have been doing vision therapy for around 10.5 months and I can now see 3D, judge distances (maybe off a few feet when I am super tired), I can see depth, I can cross my eyes, and my eyes can finally see together. Sure there were meltdowns in general with doing vision therapy because it was basically rewiring my brain after 21 years of having it be one way. And there was a lot of stress because of my profession and passion of riding a dirt bike, I go over huge jumps and I was terrified that if I saw depth that I would be scared to even ride again.That I would think that riding is nuts and I would have to find something else to be passionate about.
I was actually starting the season of riding while going through most of vision therapy and I am lucky as ever to say that so far that hasn’t happen with vision therapy. It has actually helped me be a safer rider by being able to judge distances so I won’t land wrong on a jump. Also even when I had shoulder surgery (from riding) I was still able to work on my eyes and get them to focus on what was important. I was willing to put riding to the back burner for my safety and get my eyes to see right. And as you all can probably tell riding is my life and I would do anything to keep doing it. So as much as it hurt to take a step back and see that I needed to do this because it would help me for the rest of my life, it was entirely worth it. Especially as I am graduating from vision therapy on Wednesday!!! It’s been a long time coming but with the help of the doc and wonderful staff I am so happy to be where I am now. Thank you all for helping me get to where I am today, I know it wasn’t easy.
Several years ago I was talking to a stranger at a homeshool book sale when she told me about a doctor who gave her son “special glasses” and her son no longer struggled with school. She gave me the number to the office and I tucked it in my wallet. My son, Willem, was the second son I homeschooled to struggle with reading. This time around I knew what to expect. Go slow, be consistent, praise him for the slow, incremental successes. But struggling with school was not the only issue this son had. He was very clumsy. I always said “he is not the child you hand a tray of deviled eggs to and have him take them to the table”. I thought he would never ride a two-wheeler and he was constantly losing his stuff.
Even important things that he cared very much about. By the time I brought Willem to Dr. Jacobi, I had already brought his older brother and suspected he’d get the same diagnosis. Except he didn’t! Willem was struggling with eyes that go the other way 🙂 I was really excited when Dr. Jacobi immediately honed in on gross motor skills and wanted to work with him. Those were some of my concerns, too! After Amanda (the vision therapist) evaluated him it was clear that “special glasses” were not going to fix his eyes and so we began 6 months of vision therapy.
Thankfully, Willem was a happy camper and a super good sport about therapy because it’s a lot of work! Every day you have to keep at the exercises and practice. But if you ever get a chance to meet Amanda, you will see that you can do anything with her help! A constant cheerleader and problem solver. Attention to detail is just one of her many giftings. She encouraged me so much and never doubted Willem’s ability to succeed at any exercise. We loved the feeling, after several weeks with a difficult activity, of conquering it and seeing that now it was easy! When children struggle in school they can pigeon hole themselves into believing that they just aren’t good at things.
But all through therapy we conquered hard things over and over. All with Amanda cheering us on. Willem graduated from vision therapy in November of 2018 and I would do it all over again!! Willem’s thank you note (writing! spelling! neat penmanship!) to Amanda at graduation said “You changed my life” and I couldn’t say it any better myself 🙂 Dr. Jacobi is one of the smartest men I have ever met. He is truly amazing at what he does and he really cares. And Amanda is passionate and smart and is doing what she was meant to do in life. I highly, highly recommend this office!
Suburban Eye Care is the only place I now trust my family’s eyes with. My daughter went through the vision therapy program, and I am beyond pleased! Her vision and reading have improved along with her confidence! Amanda is friendly, knowledgeable and so helpful. We can’t thank her enough! Dr. Jacobi is also a great optometrist! He puts kids and parents at ease. He was also wonderful with my special need’s son. I highly recommend Suburban Eye Care and won’t go anywhere else now!
Amanda was amazing! We had never heard of VT before this. For years Olivia struggled with learning although she never experienced behavior issues and always smiled her way through what was so difficult for her. Since VT we have seen our daughter’s confidence soar!! This experience not only helped her presently, but it has opened up so many doors for Olivia. Her future has a much wider perspective. Suburban Eye Care has been a God send! Thank you!
My daughter is a patient of the vision therapy program at Suburban. Her therapist Amanda is amazing, and so is Dr. Jacobi. When my daughter was in 1st grade she was struggling with reading related issues. Her left eye also had a slight outward turn when she got tired. I had taken my daughter to several pediatric ophthalmologist prior to going to Suburban Eye Care. Once office prescribed glasses, and the other offices just keep “watching” her eye condition. The problem was NOT getting solved, and my daughter’s self-esteem was dwindling. Homework was a nightmare in my home, and my daughter told me that she felt stupid. I was devastated to hear that my child felt this way.
During our first appointment with Dr. Jacobi, he told us about the vision therapy program. He was confident that my daughter was a candidate, and that she would benefit from the therapy. I attended the parent workshop, and had the chance to meet my daughter’s therapist. She answered all of my questions, and appeared passionate about her work.
MY daughter graduated today from vision therapy! Her grades have drastically improved (she is a straight A student), she loves to read, and her self esteem has sky rocketed. I was skeptical in the beginning, but now I am grateful for the team at Suburban Eye Care. Vision therapy does involve some work, but the results are worth the effort. I would strongly recommend the program to any family seeking help for their child.
Before VT, Jacob was behind in reading, and was mixing letter and numbers and writing letters and numbers backwards. He was struggling in school even with eye glasses. H also struggled with neat handwriting. After starting VT, we began to see improvements and the improvements continued as we continued the program. Jacob is now reading above grade level. His hand writing has greatly improved. He doesn’t mix letter and number or write them backwards anymore. The earlier starting VT the better! The benefits Jacob will have for the rest of his life from VT is yet to be seen but a price can’t be put on his vision!
We came to Suburban Eye Care with hopes that there might be something we could do to help our 9 year old start to read. Delaney has always been one whose resiliency is remarkable, but her efforts are not always rewarded.
School is difficult for Delaney. She loves being there, but for the most part what was being asked of her was daunting. It was difficult for her to get on the “learning train” because she was not quite at the station yet. She could be assigned book after book that for a 4th grader still dwelled in the kindergarten arena. She had good instruction, but we learned with the help of Dr. Jacobi and Miss Amanda that perhaps if we considered more than just “acuity” when addressing Delaney’s “vision” we might uncover some layers that needed some fine-tuning.
We attended Vision Therapy with Miss Amanda for months and can easily and honestly say that we are so grateful that we traveled this path. Delaney’s reading skills have improved, but more so her ability to process all of the information that once overwhelmed her. She can track words across a page and has established a rhythm within herself that helps to push her through each activity. Delaney’s independence at home was also an obvious benefit as she seemed to mature more once she did not have to juggle so many things in inefficient ways. From helping Delaney’s fine motor skills to improving her balance and coordination, to helping her to train her eyes to do what was needed, Vision Therapy has been a huge benefit to her. It has filled her learning toolbox with lots of tools, but more importantly, taught her how to use and apply them to direct her own success!
As her parents, we don’t have all of the answers, but being a part of the “TEAM” has made us feel more empowered in helping her in the ways that we used to struggle with…Miss Amanda shared her heart with Delaney and she feels blessed to have had this opportunity to learn and grow with their help!
Before vision therapy my world was very narrowed with my interactions with people and I experienced extreme motion sickness. Upon starting the vision therapy program the exercises both during the weekly sessions and at home quickly began to help me learn to control my eyes to better accept “normal” interaction with the world. The changes and mastery of the skills seem to happen like magic but are a result of carefully chosen individualized exercises specifically for me. Amanda is amazing to always know the next best step for progress. I appreciated the careful and close direction and monitoring of Dr. Jacobi throughout the program. The program will help you to make many positive changes in your live or your child’s life in ways you will never understand unless you take advantage of this opportunity.
Before vision therapy Bradley had difficulty reading, paying attention in class, playing sports, and completing his homework in a timely fashion. We have seen (and his teachers have seen) an amazing difference in his reading and comprehension. He has improved from a “far below average” reader to “above average” since we began the program. I have also seen a huge difference in his ability and confidence when playing sports. We cannot thank you enough and would highly recommend the program to others.