Hi Ladies. Sorry my update has taken so long to get to. This whole process has left me a bit up and down.
So we saw the Behavioural Optometrist and it was very eye opening (sorry about the pun, tried to reword but couldn't think of anything else laugh)
The optometrist diagnosed DS1 as havong/being:
Retained neonatal reflexes, Left Eye Dominant, Ambient vision dysfunction, Trace Eye Allergy, Unsteady fixation
Which basically means:
A check was made on the aiming point of each eye. There should be steady binocular fixation. However, the fixation of right macula was unsteady (and there was also an eccentric fixation). As fixation fails, so does concentration. For normal binocular functions to occur, a person must hold steady bimacula fixation (i.e. steady central fixation of the macula of each eye) regarding objects at near, mid or far distance. DS1 was assessed to need training to assist fixation to develop.
Ambient vision or peripheral vision has a function to provide information on “where is it” and assists visually guided movement balance and posture. Many children show various degrees of disturbance of spatial function. They have a problem knowing where they are in space. More basically, they lack an awareness of their own physical parts and how they move. To varying degrees, they have shut down their visual processes, in an attempt to create some sense of order in a confusing world. DS1 was assessed to need training glasses to assist this function as it develops.
Learning difficulties, behavioural problems, poor coordination and developmental delay may be the result of retained neonatal reflexes (also known as primitive reflexes).
As I said earlier it has been an eye opening experience. Afterall I knew DS1 was having difficulties learning to read but I had never even begun to question his co-ordination. It was actually the opposite because he has always been pretty good at sport. But the optometrist asked him to do some simple excercises, like turning his toes in towards each other and he started by moving every other part of his body but his feet. The other thing was his concertration levels which I had always taken as disinterest and now realise they are because of his vision issues. I was all ready to pull him out of his karate lessons once his trial period had finished, but now I have just paid up to extend it to a year membership to actually help him with his coordination.
The optometrist has given us a bunch of resources to read and recommendations for actvities including online games and apps to help him (there are four A4 pages of them...who knew there would be that many) and suprisingly they include games like bejewelled, fruit ninja, and angry birds! They also recommended Reading Eggs (which luckily he has a subscription for through his school) and some other educational sites focusing on reading and math.
He has also recommended Occupational Therapy, so I'm going to follow up on that through our GP to hopefully get one of those treatment plans that helps reduce the cost.
At the moment I'm excited to finally have answers, but feeling totally overwhelmed. It's been hard work trying to find the time to help him with his reading and excercises due to having four kids including a new baby and he is fighting it every step of the way. Luckily he will wear the glasses but everything else is "Too hard". DH and I are struggling to keep our cool and not get totally frustrated with him. Previously we were following his teachers recommendations (which she gave to all parents at orientation) about not pushing them too hard and stopping when they become frustrated. Unfortunately that's led to him learning how to frustrate us and digging his heels in hoping that we'll tell him we don't have to do it. So finding balance on that one is ridiculously hard. We have a review in late January so hoping we can persevere till then and will hopefully see some improvements.