50. Could Vision Problems Be Causing Difficulties in Your Child’s Learning? With Dr. Sarah Lane

By Brigitte Shipman

Mother's Guide Dr. Sarah Lane

In this week's episode, I interview Dr. Sarah Lane, a Developmental Optometrist who specializes in working with children who struggle with the development of their visual skills and visual processing abilities.

Dr. Lane offers Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation to children and adults in her community and is a creator of Meaningful Moves which are a collection of exercises designed for parents and caregivers to easily use with babies to help optimize the development of sensory and motor skills.

She tells how Developmental Optometry found her when she started developing vision problems in 2nd grade. She struggled with reading and learning but she somehow made it through doing things differently from her classmates and sister and always making the high honor roll.

When she got to optometry school, she had frequent headaches that resulted from switching from looking at a board far away to looking at her notes. She was diagnosed with a vision problem—problem with focusing and two-eye coordination—and was recommended to do vision therapy, which she had never heard of. She changed her career path to help others who had vision problems that could be helped with vision therapy.

Along the way, she became a student of yoga and movement and as her vision improved with vision therapy, yoga, and movement, she started to ponder the question of how does the organization and movement of the body impact the visual system.

She brings a lot of learning to her optometry session with her clients including MNRI, Feldenkrais Method, Pilate, and Yoga as she believes in the importance of having a holistic approach and putting a lot of different pieces together that over time allow us to create the shift we desire.

She shares a success story of a boy in 7th grade who struggled to do what teachers wanted him to do exactly in the way they wanted. When he came to see her, she discovered that he was seeing double pretty much all the time and that double vision was related to the stress within his body. She brought in different modalities and body movement to balance the nervous system and now moving into high school, he is no longer seeing double and able to articulate what’s happening because of the tools he gained.

Dr. Lane's goal is to teach a person how their visual system works and to teach them tools to continuously maintain organization within the visual system. She helps them to have an experience that gets them more connected with how their eyes and visual system works.

She also talks about Meaningfull Moves, a program of exercises that parents can do with their children that set the foundation for sensory, motor, and visual development that include 5 areas of movement--Hand, Feet, Side to Side, Up and Down, and Upside Down.

Finally, she gives us this advice, “Take a deep breath and pay attention to your child and pay attention to yourself. Take one step at a time to make sure that each movement or each step gets you to a better place mind, body, and spirit.”

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