Dr. Stanley A. Appelbaum
Metro Washington DC
Dr. Neil W. Draisin
Dr. Gary Etting
Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Dan Fortenbacher
Dr. Carl G. Hillier
Metro San Diego
Dr. Carole Hong
San Fransisco Peninsula
Dr. Leonard J. Press
Metro New York
Dr. Barry M. Tannen
Hamilton Square, NJ
Dr. Nancy Torgerson
Bryce B. Appelbaum, OD, FCOVD, and Stanley A. Appelbaum, OD, FCOVD.
METRO Washington, DC
6509 Democracy Blvd.
Bethesda, Maryland 20817
133 Defense Highway Suite 113
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Meet the Doctors:
- Private Practice Residency in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation (Optometric Education Volume 36, Number 2 / Winter/Spring 2011 [PDF Format]
Advance, September 2011
Photo Feature: An Inside Look at Our Practice
Bottom Line Health January, 2011:
WTOP Radio: Washington D.C
Cue to 36:45 for 5-minute interview with Dr. Stan Appelbaum, 45:20 for interview with Dr. Sue Barry
Dr. Bryce Appelbaum in USA Today
Read about Dr. Stan Appelbaum's work
American Baby Magazine
From the New York Times:Behavioral Optometry and Children with Learning Issues.
More articles on this site:
A Cutting Edge and Updated Report on Vision Therapy
Improve your visual attention, vitality, stamina, mental efficiency, and productivity for a better quality of life with this comprehensive look at the benefit of vision therapy.
BookSurge Publishing; 1st edition (May 2009)
Dr. Stan Appelbaum's practice, established in 1977, offers a full range of family vision care and eye services in Bethesda and Annapolis, Maryland, specializing in the treatment of children and adults with behavioral, sensorimotor or learning-related vision problems -- such as those previously diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, acquired brain injury, stroke, learning disabilities, and/or avoidance of reading.
Dr. Stan Appelbaum maintains his practice with Barbara Bassin, OTR, a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, thereby giving patients the opportunity to receive sensory-integration-oriented occupational therapy treatments and optometric vision therapies in the same office.
Dr. Appelbaum is especially proud to have his son Bryce B. Appelbaum, OD, FCOVD as an Associate in his practice. Dr. Stan Appelbaum also has medical staff privileges at The Shady Grove Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland and The National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC, where he treats patients with visual problems associated with brain injury.
Types of Healthcare Offered
Treatment of Eye Disease
Stress-reducing Glasses & Contact Lenses
Types of Patients Served
Holistic eye care for the whole family: adults, children, infants
Training/Certification/Years in Practice:
Board Certified in Vision Therapy by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Board Certified Treatment of Eye Disease
Residency- trained in Vision Therapy, State Univ of N.Y.
1974 grad. Illinois College of Optometry
Fellow, College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Secretary, Maryland State Board of Examiners in Optometry
Board of Directors, Sensory Integration International
Board of Directors, College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Member, American Optometric Association, Optometric Extension Program
Fellow, College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Professional Association Affiliation:
Optometric Extension Program
American Optometric Association
College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Maryland Optometric Association
Central Md. Optometric Association
Sensory Integration International
NeuroOptometric Rehabilitation Association
Other Professional Activities:
Maryland State Director of The College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Lecturer, writer, and specialist in the areas of Integrative Medicine, Infant's & Children's Vision, Vision Improvement Programs, Sensory Integration, ADD, Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, Learning-Related Vision Problems, Traumatic Brain Injury, Sports Medicine, Stroke, & Computer Eye Stress and combining vision therapy and occupational therapy in the same office.
Read Dr. Appelbaum's front page article in Washington Parent Magazine:
Focusing on Hidden Vision Problems in Children.
9 Ways People Can Benefit from Vision Therapy
How Dr. Appelbaum is Changing Lives
Sensory Overload - When Children Can't Process Stimuli
Optometric Checklist for Educators, Parents, and Patients (Information + Print-Out Form)
More information about Vision Therapy & Sensory Integration Specialists
Dr. Appelbaum's book on Sensory Integration & Vision Therapy:
Sensory Integration: Optometric and Occupational Therapy Perspectives
by Stanley A. Appelbaum, OD, FCOVD
Available from: Optometric Extension Program Foundation, Inc.
1921 E. Carnegie Ave., Ste. 3-L
Santa Ana, CA 92705-5510
Ask for Bound Volume # BV253
Stan Appelbaum, OD, FCOVD
Dr. Appelbaum is a certified Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. He has been in private practice with his wife Barbara Bassin, OTR/L, BCP for over 20 years in Bethesda and Annapolis, Maryland, combining Vision Therapy with Sensory Integration Occupational Therapy in the same office. He is Board Certified in Vision Therapy, and lectures on topics related to infant vision development, visually related learning difficulties, visual problems of special needs children and adults, bright children and adults who do not like to read or get fatigued when they do read, vision rehabilitation for TBI/Stroke, strabismus, amblyopia, and the visual demands of computer use and sports vision. As a behavioral optometrist he has years in post graduate, and continuing education to master the complex visual programs prescribed to prevent or eliminate visual problems and enhance visual performance in children as well as adults. He has presented numerous Teacher, Doctor, & Therapist Workshops throughout the DC, MD, and VA areas on "Detecting Visual Problems in the Classroom."
Dr. Appelbaum, author of Eye Power (www.EyePowerBook.com), is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Southern College of Optometry and has served on the Board of Sensory Integration International. He has also served on the Board of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, and has medical staff privileges at the Maryland Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital and the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington DC.
Professional Affiliations and Activities
Maryland Licensed Optometrist
Residency trained in Vision Therapy at The State Univ. of N Y (SUNY)
Certified in The Treatment and Management of Eye Disease
Fellow of The College of Optometrists in Vision Development, (COVD)
Clinical Associate, Optometric Extension Program Foundation, (OEP)
Member of The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International, (NORA)
Member of The VisionHelp.com Group of Developmental Optometrists
A Personal Statement from Dr. Stan Appelbaum
Each patient I encounter has unique visual needs. A child who wants to read for pleasure, but struggles. A good student needs to be able to read comfortably for a period of time. A pilot who can't pass the vision exam that requires excellent visual skills and abilities to become hired by certain companies or the military.. A stroke victim needs to see single to be able to drive again. A computer programmer needs to be able to sustain attention at her screen without suffering from headaches or blur. A brain-injured patient who gets dizzy and has poor balance. A tennis player who needs good side vision so he can respond to a moving target quickly.
I have been able to offer each of these individuals a unique solution to their vision problems using therapeutic lenses and/or vision therapy. Special Lenses prescribed can allow an individual to work at his peak performance. Vision therapy is teaching the eyes to do work more efficiently and teaching the brain to respond more appropriately to visual information it receives.
Appelbaum Eye Care Associates, PC is a full scope family optometric and optical practice located in the Washington DC, Bethesda and Annapolis Metro Areas, dedicated to providing the highest quality vision care to patients of all ages, in a friendly, comfortable and professional atmosphere. With a highly trained staff and state of the art equipment, we strives to go beyond “20/20.” Choosing the appropriate Optometrist/Eye Care Professional is of the utmost importance to you and your family. Appelbaum Eye Care Associates, PC is concerned with prevention, treatment, remediation, and enhancement of the visual system for children and adults to achieve optimal function. E-mail Dr Stan Appelbaum at email@example.com
Bryce B. Appelbaum, OD, FCOVD
Dr. Bryce Appelbaum is a certified Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. He graduated from The Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) in Chicago, Illinois, where he received extensive training in Pediatrics, Binocular Vision Disorders, Head Trauma, and Learning Related Vision Problems at The Illinois Eye Institute, one of the most prestigious Eye Clinics in the country. This well respected Clinic is affiliated with the Chicago Eye Institute and the University of Chicago's Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. He also had additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of complex vision disorders and in examining and prescribing for infants and toddlers. During his work at ICO, Dr. Bryce Appelbaum received clinical honors in Pediatrics and Binocular Vision, The Cornea and Contact Lens Department, and in Primary Optometric Eye Care. Dr. Bryce Appelbaum completed his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis where he majored in Psychology and Pre-Medical studies.
Dr. Bryce Appelbaum has a special interest in working with children and adults with behavioral & developmental visual dysfunctions. He is specifically interested in designing vision improvement treatment programs involving vision therapy, sports vision therapy, orthokeratology, guided preschool development, stroke and acquired brain injury vision rehabilitation, strabismus and amblyopia therapy, and treating learning-related vision problems, including vision problems seen with ADD/ADHD/Dyslexia/Learning Disabilities. Dr Bryce Appelbaum has received extensive post-doctoral training in the areas of Optometric Evaluation of Visual Performance, Optometric Vision Therapy for Visual Acquisition Problems, Optometric Evaluation and Treatment of Visual Information Processing Dysfunction, Evaluation and Treatment of Strabismus and Amblyopia, and Visual Problems Secondary to Traumatic Brain Injury. Dr. Bryce Appelbaum is certified in Corneal Refractive Therapy/Orthokeratology, a specialty contact lens approach to slowing down nearsightedness and improving eyesight as an alternative to refractive surgery.
Dr. Bryce Appelbaum knows that 20/20 eyesight does not mean perfect vision. Many children and adults with high visual demands often have undetected visual problems which interfere with their ability to perform and reach their full potential. Symptoms such as loss of place, visual fatigue, blur, headaches, reduced comprehension, and difficulty concentrating, indicate a developmental and/or visual stress problem. Optometric Vision Therapy can reduce or eliminate these problems so that the individual gets the maximum return for his/her effort. It allows the child to enjoy learning and become a successful and enthusiastic student. It aids the adult in getting his/her paperwork and computer-oriented tasks completed faster and with reduced eyestrain. It enables patients of all ages to get their work done more efficiently and to reach their optimum visual performance.
As one of the private doctors at Appelbaum Eye Care Associates, P.C., Dr. Bryce Appelbaum provides state-of-the-art vision enhancement and eye health care in a comprehensive and passionate manner. With the impersonal nature of health care today, Dr. Bryce Appelbaum prides himself on providing personalized and thorough care designed to meet your individual vision and eye care needs.
Dr. Bryce Appelbaum's professional memberships include The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), Maryland Optometric Association (MOA), and the American Optometric Association (AOA). email Dr. Bryce Appelbaum at DrA@visionhelp.com
Barbara Bassin, OTR/L, BCP
Ms. Bassin is a Board Certified Pediatric Occupational Therapist. She is also certified by Sensory Integration International in the administration and interpretation of The Sensory Integration and PRAXIS Test (SIPT). Ms. Bassin previously served as an Assistant Faculty member of the Center for the Study of Sensory Integration Dysfunction. She has been a private practice occupational therapist specializing in pediatrics, combining Occupational Therapy and Vision Therapy in the same office for over 20 years. Ms. Bassin is a frequent lecturer and has published in the areas of Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Learning Disabilities, Perceptual Motor, Movement, Behavior and Developmental Delays.
Our Occupational Therapy facility has very highly skilled therapists, specializing in pediatrics and sensory integration. Serving the Washington DC area for over 20 years, our focus is to help children and their families succeed in meeting life's challenges. Services are provided for children with sensory processing disorders or motor coordination difficulties that may contribute to problems in the development of motor skills, behavioral and emotional responses, vision, speech or language, academic learning, and social interactions.
Our Facility is designed and equipped to provide an engaging and fun environment. A specialized ceiling suspension system, 3 treatment areas, and a large variety of equipment, supplies, and toys allow therapists to match the environment and challenges (physical and sensory) to the individual needs of each child.
We specialize in sensory integration, autism spectrum disorders and developmental delays using Occupational Therapy. We use a family-centered approach to treatment and our sessions focus on individualized assessment, enrichment, and integration of your child’s abilities. Our occupational therapists use meaningful and purposeful activity to help children and their families “Live Life to the Fullest!” and we treat children who have been identified with special needs and disabilities as well as those who may not have yet been formally identified but are looking to maximize the potential of their children and/or themselves.
Our approach is to provide an innovative, eclectic, and holistic approach to therapy. By forming a partnership with our clients, we aim to spark the energy and commitment within the individual and/or family that is imperative to enact lasting change. Our goal is to facilitate a child’s full potential. We utilize the latest in research and evidenced-based practice to provide our clients with the most comprehensive evaluation and treatment. We aim to facilitate the full developmental potential of children by offering the highest quality services possible.
We are family oriented and believe that parents, caregivers and extended family are an integral part of the therapy process. It is our goal to specifically train parents, caregivers and family members so that they can be empowered to affect positive change toward their child’s progress.
9 Ways People Can Benefit from Vision Therapy
1) Improve vision related reading and learning problems - The way that eyes move, work together and focus can effect a person's ability to read, process and understand information. Studies have shown that deficiencies in any of these areas can lead to a significant handicap in learning. Vision therapy can help overcome these problems - improving the ability to read and learn.
2) Improve vision in "lazy eye" - Amblyopia, or lazy eye as it is commonly called, is a condition where there is a loss of sight. There are various causes for it. It cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. However, oftentimes, the condition can be greatly improved through vision therapy. And, while for many patients the condition is often undetected for many years, studies show that active vision therapy treatment is effective at any age.
3) Correct cross or turned eyes - Strabismus is a condition when a person is unable to align both eyes simultaneously under normal vision conditions. Contrary to old wives tales, it rarely corrects itself and children do not outgrow it over time. Cosmetic surgery can sometimes be done to align the eye more closely. But by using vision therapy, prisms and prescription lenses, the condition can oftentimes, be corrected non-surgically. (Even if a child has had cosmetic surgery, vision therapy is recommended to help improve the vision function in the eye.)
4) Enhance sports performance - Whether you're a weekend athlete or a serious professional, vision therapy can give you a competitive edge by improving depth perception, hand-and-eye coordination, visual tracking and reaction time.
5) Aid people after a stroke or brain trauma - Double vision, headaches, blurred vision, eye strain, confusion related to visual tasks, difficulty reading, etc. can result after a trauma to the head/brain or a stroke. Vision therapy combined with co-managed rehab. care can increase independence, balance, reduce symptoms, & enhance the benefits from speech, occupational, & physical therapy.
6) Myopia (nearsightedness) prevention, control, and reduction programs - Myopia (nearsightedness) can be controlled safely and effectively for a majority of people! This is one of the best kept secrets in health care today. Without the risks and expense of experimental surgery, nine out of ten people can stop their vision from worsening and in many cases actually reduce their prescription. Techniques used include specialized fitting with modern contact lens materials, reducing eye strain, and nutritional counseling to control metabolic risk factors.
7) Alleviate headaches from visual stress - Muscle contraction "tension" headaches while reading and/or doing deskwork may not be from physical stress. Instead, they may be caused by tired, strained eyes. Vision therapy offers safe, on-going relief - versus a lifetime of medications and side effects.
8) Help tired eyes in the workplace - Even when their workstation is designed correctly, many patients with 20/20 eyesight and healthy eyes experience blurred or uncomfortable vision when looking at a computer monitor. These symptoms often result from faulty eye teaming and focusing skills. Vision therapy, along with prescription computer lenses, is an effective treatment for these problems.
9) Improve skills in visually delayed children - Vision development is often delayed in children with epileptic disorders, cerebral palsy, autistic behaviors, PDD or attention deficit disorder (ADD). Vision therapy is key for helping children build their sensory skills for better learning and function in the activities of daily living.
How Dr. Appelbaum is Changing Lives
Dr. Stanley A. Appelbaum has changed the lives of former juvenile delinquents and professional athletes, babies and grandparents. Through vision therapy, people strengthen their eye muscles, train their eyes, improve depth perception, eliminate blurry vision, improve eye control - and then they work better, play better, look better and feel better.
For example, students with inadequate eye control lose their place when they read or skip lines or see each page as a blur. With the exercises Dr. Appelbaum prescribes and after working with his sophisticated vision therapy equipment, they read better and relate better to their peers and their world. People who work with computers feel more productive when his exercises reduce their eye strain and fatigue. And people with good visual skills are pleased to find those get even better.
The Bethesda (Maryland) Vision Fitness Center is constantly updating examination capabilities. For example, Dr. Appelbaum is now providing routine infant vision examinations and if potential problems are discovered, an enhancement program may be recommended. The link between vision and juvenile delinquency has been shown through research studies to be very strong. Think of kids & young adults who can't read and can't learn, so they drop out of school and get into trouble, just for something to do. "It is so rewarding to work with these youths, to get them to a point where they are able to achieve in school and they don't continue to get into trouble."
Yet only about half of Dr. Appelbaum's practice is vision therapy. The rest is fitting contact lenses, glasses and treating eye disease. Throughout his work he emphasizes preventive optometry, helping people avoid problems. That's why he urges that adults have their eyes checked every two years or any time their employment or their requirements for their eyes, change. Children should begin eye exams at six months and school children should visit an eye doctor annually.
Dr. Appelbaum has served on the Maryland Board of Examiners in Optometry and as a National Director for COVD, the certifying body for optometrists specializing in vision therapy. In addition, Dr. Appelbaum is a member of The Board of Directors of Sensory Integration International, the certifying body for Occupational Therapists specializing in Sensory Integration Therapy. Dr. Appelbaum turned to an optometrist in college when he found he could not keep up with his reading. "All of a sudden I was doing something I had never done before: I was reading for pleasure. I like to do that for other people: I like to make a difference in people's lives. "
More information about Vision Therapy & Sensory Integration Specialists
SABB Development Center
The Co-Directors of the SABB Development Center, Dr. Stanley A. Appelbaum and Barbara Bassin are in partnership practice in Bethesda, MD. They are married both professionally and personally. The philosophy of the Center is one which emphasizes the physiological abilities necessary to achieve academic, job-related, sports-related and personal success. Some patients receive only Optometric Vision Therapy, others receive only Occupational Therapy, and some receive both. All patients who receive services are carefully screened for possible referral to other professionals.
Stanley A. Appelbaum,O.D., F.C.O.V.D.
Dr. Appelbaum is a graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry. He also completed a Residency in Optometric Vision Therapy at the State University of New York's College of Optometry. Dr. Appelbaum was Director of The Vision Therapy Clinic at The Optometric Center of Maryland, Baltimore City Health Department. Dr. Appelbaum was appointed by the Governor of The State of Maryland as one of five Optometrists to serve on The Maryland Board of Examiners in Optometry from 1989 -1994, at which time when the Board gave its own licensure exam, he was in charge of giving The Vision Therapy Exam. Dr. Appelbaum is a frequent lecturer and writer in the areas of Behavioral Vision, Vision Therapy,Learning Disabilities, and Rehabilitative Vision Care. His latest published book is entitled: SENSORY INTEGRATION: OPTOMETRIC AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PERSPECTIVES.
Barbara S. Bassin, O.T.R./L.,B.C.P., Occupational Therapist
Barbara Bassin received her degree in Occupational Therapy from Boston University, Sargent College, Division of Occupational Therapy. She is a Board Certified Pediatric Occupational Therapist. She is also certified by Sensory Integration International in the administration and interpretation of The Sensory Integration and PRAXIS Test (SIPT). Barbara previously served as an Assistant Faculty member of the Center for the Study of Sensory Integration Dysfunction. She has served as Senior Occupational Therapist at The Prince George's County Health Department and The United Cerebral Palsy Center. Barbara has been an occupational therapist specializing in Pediatrics for over 20 years. She is a frequent lecturer and writer in the areas of Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Learning Disabilities, Perceptual Motor and Developmental Delays.
For the evaluation and treatment of children and adults with visual dysfunction, learning-related visual problems, vision development problems and those in need of routine vision care, glasses, contact lenses, or treatment of eye disease.
OPTOMETRIC EVALUATION including:
- Eye Health Exam
- Visual Analysis-testing visual skills, abilities, and performance
- Developmental Vision Exam
- Routine Eye/Vision Exam
OPTOMETRIC TREATMENT including:
- Contact Lenses
- Individual Visual Training Programs
- Preventative and Rehabilitative Care
- Visual Enhancement Therapy
- Eye Health and General Health/Nutritional Recommendations
- Post-Traumatic Brain Injury/Stroke Vision Therapy
- Sports Vision Therapy
- Optometric Vision Therapy
- Treatment of Eye Disease
OPTOMETRIC CONSULTATION/GUIDANCE including:
- Other Professionals
- Visual Stress including headaches, eye fatigue, eyestrain, rubbing of eyes, squinting, etc.
- Complaints of discomfort or tension observed when doing visual tasks
- Reduced distance or near vision (reading vision)
- Difficulties in sports
- Learning-related visual problems, Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder
- Postural distortions when reading/writing
- Avoidance of close work-reading/writing
- Holds book too closely-face too close to desk
- Poor reading comprehension/speed
- Reduced performance on standardized educational tests
- Print blurs or doubles after reading a short time
- Loses place during reading-needs finger or marker to keep place
- Rereads or skips lines unknowingly
- Loses interest with time / comprehension reduces as reading continues / fatigues easily
- Nervous, irritable, restless after maintaining visual concentration
For the evaluation and treatment of children with coordination,perceptual, learning, and behavioral dysfunction.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY EVALUATION including:
- Sensory Integration
- Gross Motor/Postural
- Fine Motor/Visual Motor/Perceptual
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY TREATMENT including:
- Sensory Integrative Therapy
- Neuro-developmental Therapy
- Developmental/perceptual Treatment
- Fine motor skills/Handwriting
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY CONSULTATION including:
- Other Professionals
- Poor balance
- Delayed Gross and Fine Motor Coordination
- Poor handwriting
- Delays in school performance
- Fear in movement
- Sensitive to sound, touch, movement
- Poor organization
- Easily frustrated
- Developmental Delay
- Learning Disabilities
Questions and Answers
Q. Do children with Sensory Integration Dysfunction or Binocular Vision Dysfunction have brain damage?
A. Most of these children do not have actual brain damage as diagnosed by electro-physiological testing. Certainly children with brain damage would show some problems in the areas of sensory integration or visual processing, but the reverse is seldom the case. A.J.Ayres, O.T.R., Ph.D., in her book SENSORY INTEGRATION AND LEARNING DISORDERS states that "learning is a function of the brain;learning disorders are assumed to reflect some deviation of neural function." The problem is generally not brain damage but that the nervous system does not operate in an efficient manner.Once certain processes are developed through the therapeutic use of proper types of sensory stimulation in a well organized environment,the child's brain frequently operates much more efficiently.
Q. Does Sensory Integration Therapy or Optometric Vision Therapy involve drugs, psychotherapy or medical/surgery treatment?
A. No. The process of organizing the brain does not involve drugs,complex medical/surgical equipment, or psychotherapy. Therapy relies upon the natural sensory experience which occurs in body activities. Instead of forcing the child to attend or behave, therapy enhances the child's own ability to learn and to adapt.
Q. Can only school-aged children benefit from Sensory Integration Therapy or Optometric Vision Therapy?
A. Adults can benefit from both treatments as seen in cases of patients with headaches, dizziness, vertigo, strokes, comas as well as schizophrenia and other behavioral disorders. The literature currently reports Sensory Integration Therapy most extensively used with infants and school-aged children. Optometric Vision Therapy however, has been shown in the literature to be very successful with adults and children. Adults who spend much time on a computer or who do a lot of reading, frequently complain of eyestrain, headaches, or fatigue and are often too tired in the evening to do much reading. These patients may have the correct glasses but may have problems getting their eyes to work together and can benefit from Vision Therapy.
Q. Are Occupational Therapy and Vision Therapy fun?
A. Occupational Therapy treatment is usually a fun and exciting activity. It incorporates play with therapeutic activities. For most patients each activity should be a challenge met with success. One aim of the therapy is to tap the patient's inner drive and help him integrate his nervous system. Vision therapy also consists of fun and motivating activities that are designed to get the patient to monitor and control their ability to focus, use their eyes together as a team and develop efficient eye movement, skills and abilities.
Q. Does a child with a vision problem or sensory integration problem really need therapy or will he merely grow out of the problem?
A. Children can learn with a lot of practice and effort "splinter skills" that merely compensate for poor sensory-motor processing and cover up the problem, but they can not "grow out"of the problem. It is almost that these children learn in spite of the neuro-physiological disorder but not the most efficient way -- splinter skills generally require more energy. Operating with splinter skills is the hard way to do things, leaving the child with significantly less energy for other activities. The goal of treatment is to make things work easily for the child,and this can only happen when the brain works in an integrated way.
Q. How is progress in treatment monitored?
A. The Doctor/Therapist keeps therapy notes about the patient's responses to treatment on an ongoing basis. Many of the gains which treatment is aimed at are observed during functional activities outside of the therapy setting and effective, regular communication with other professionals working with the patient is recommended. Periodic progress evaluations are done to measure and evaluate neuro-physiological changes as well as parent/teacher/patient observations. When it is felt that the patient has either met the desired goals, plateaued and is not making further gains,o r doing well enough to succeed on his own, a recommendation for stopping treatment is made.
Q. Is the goal of treatment to eliminate the learning disability?
A. The therapy program is designed to change the way in which the brain functions so that learning/coordination become easier. The treatment supplements but does not duplicate educational therapy. Neuro-developmental concepts that are known to be basic to the acquisition of sensory-motor and academic skills are utilized. A specific program is given based on the patient's sensory integration and vision profile. The goal is to reduce and hopefully eliminate the sensory integration and vision processing problem by providing the patient with the opportunity and means to organize his own nervous system through purposeful therapeutic activities.
Q. Does health insurance cover Occupational Therapy and Vision Therapy?
A. Most major medical health insurance covers Occupational Therapy and Vision Therapy. Our office is happy to assist in filing for major medical reimbursement for both diagnostic testing and treatment.
Vision Therapy Success Stories
April 13, 2011
I wanted to share with you the latest update on Adam’s reading progress since going through Vision Therapy and Occupational Therapy at your office. His latest TOPS Report from our Accelerated Reader program indicates that Adam has read over 1.5 million (yes MILLION) words, so far this year. He has read all five Percy Jackson novels, six of seven from the Harry Potter series and a few other books (Narnia is next). In his class, the next closest reader has just over 1 million words read. And that’s not all! Adam has averaged 97.5% on all tests he’s taken on these books, proving that his comprehension is soaring. All this from a 4th grader who was told by his 1st grade teacher that he might never be a good reader!! He now reads at a 7.0 grade level (grade 7, month 0). Before he came to your office he hated to read and was over a year behind in reading and math.
This success in reading has also allowed him to score very well in math and science. In addition, he has been elected to the student council and the school’s Peacemaker program. All successes we attribute to the confidence he has gained in school.
Last year, Adam started taking acting classes and won critical acclaim at a Hollywood competition in January. He was recently signed by an agent and is pursuing real jobs in Hollywood. You may just see him on TV someday!
Once again, I cannot tell you how thrilled our family is with the care Adam received at your practice. You and your staff literally changed his life and we are forever grateful.
Dear Dr. Appelbaum:
I read the article about your practice in the New York Times recently. I started reading it and saw your name and said "That's my doctor!" You must be so proud to have your son practicing with you. That is really wonderful.
I have thanked my parents many times over the years for making me go to eye exercises at your office. You really taught me to control my eyes. I know that I could not have done what I have done in life if I had to fight that stigma. You did so much to help me, and my brother Patrick. My mother always made it a point to bring us separately so that we could have our time alone. She spent many hours in your waiting room and every few years she reminds me what a mess I would have been if I never discovered vision therapy!
I'm glad that you are getting recognition for helping so many people. Your love of your work really came through in the article.
Dear Dr. Appelbaum,
My mother sent me the NY Times article featuring you and it was very interesting. You'll be happy to know that I spend my days looking through my eyes, keeping them focused forward because of the vision therapy I did with you. I go through life pretty much with both eyes straight now and am so glad you talked my mom into cancelling my eye muscle surgery . I am glad to see that you're still helping people. It's hard to believe how much I hated to read before vision therapy...now I'd rather read than do almost anything else.You helped me so much and I thank you very much.
Dr. Appelbaum may very well have saved my son's future. When Alex was in the first grade we found that he suffered from at least one learning disability, but in addition that his visual powers had not developed to the point where he could read. As he reported "the letters keep moving around". This is not unusual, apparently about 20 percent of boys lag in visual development to the point that without therapy they literally cannot learn to read until they are seven years old or so, at least two years behind at the outset of their education.
Alex was lucky, with the help of Dr. Appelbaum he gained the visual ability to focus his eyes on the page and absorb what was printed there. He graduated from the University of Oregon two years ago and is pursuing a career in medicine. Without my wife, who brushed aside the easy arguments that "every kid is different" and "he's a smart kid, he'll learn to read when he wants to" and insisted upon the testing which revealed Alex's vision difficulties, as well as his other learning disability, and Dr. Appelbaum, who explained and provided effecive treatment for the visual deficit I doubt Alex would have been able to master these difficulties and become an avid reader and successful student. Others may say what they like, I've seen the benefits of vision therapy.
I am a physician and work every day to provide my patients with the best and most evidence based evaluations and therapies. At age 6, my gifted son still could not read and was diagnosed with orthographic dyslexia. I was told he would never read or write well and that there was no way to remediate his problems. After Dr. Appelbaum's evaluation and series of eye therapy sessions, he is now reading years beyond grade level. There were no other variables that were changed other then starting the vision therapy and he somehow no longer has "dyslexia". I believe that the author does a disservice to this issue and displays a lack of understanding of science. Just because there is no current evidence to support a treatment does not mean that the treatment does not work. It just means that the therapy has not yet been adequately studied to make that determination. Instead of the ophthalmologists dismissing this, they should partner with the developmental optometrists to study the efficacy of the intervention. The time and effort and money that our family spent was the most important of my life.
Dr. Peter M.
I am a neurologist and my wife is a psychologist, and I had a kid with multiple learning disabilities which together looked like ADHD plus mental retardation. We were given the usual pablum by the head of the relevant pediatric subspecialist at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. She passed routine visual and hearing examinations with aplomb.
However, my kid had both auditory and visual processing issues. She couldn't spell worth anything, she couldn't learn the common sight words, and she fatigued IMMENSELY with any kind of reading. We'd study her spelling words for over an hour a day, one on one, using multi-sensory techniques, and she still would write "u" for "you" on the weekly spelling test. Then I noticed that she was reading using her neck rather than her eye muscles; when she looked at the words, she would move her neck instead of keeping her neck still and moving her eyes. When I tried to correct that, she couldn't do read at all.
At the suggestion of the teacher, we went to Dr. Appelbaum. So we started vision therapy, and sure enough she had convergence insufficiency and some other, lesser issues. Within a month of beginning vision therapy at Dr. Appelbaum's office, she was able to memorize her spelling list in 10 minutes three times a week, and was able to memorize her sight words. She began to read, but still had ADHD symptoms. Adderal now was helpful however, whereas before it hadn't seemed to work.
At Dr. Appelbaum's suggestion, we also did Interactive Metronome to work on her ADHD symptoms, and eight weeks later we were able to discontinue the ADHD medications and still have her able to focus as well as if she was on it. She hasn't required any meds, therapy or extra tuition since she was 14. She is 19, and a sophomore in college now, and reads for pleasure in both Spanish and English. Based on her current GPA and number of credits, she should finish her double major in communications and Spanish on schedule in two more years. I am so, so VERY GLAD that I ignored the advice of my respected MENTORS and my COLLEAGUES at the "Big John" in Baltimore, refused to "accept her the way she is", brought her to Dr. Appelbaum and put in the hard work needed for a cure.
Dr. Steve L.
I'm usually skeptical about things like vision therapy, but my son was diagnosed with convergence insuffiency (eyes don't track together) about 3 years ago by Dr. Appelbaum. He is a completely different kid after almost a year of vision therapy. We did the exercises every night and went to Dr. Appelbaum's Annapolis office twice a week. He is a bright kid (high IQ, etc.) who was simply not able to read. He's a different kid now -- loves sports -- including ball sports which he had a hard time with before, plays chess on the state level...and made his mother cry when I first caught him reading without me asking him to! He loves to read now. I'm incredibly grateful we bumped into Dr. Appelbaum and vision therapy (a family member mentioned it) and were able to get an accurate diagnosis & help him.
I am a Harvard educated PhD who has benefited enormously from optometric vision therapy. I have been cross-eyed since infancy. While three surgeries by a skilled ophthalmologist made my eyes look more or less straight, I did not use my two eyes together and initially had trouble learning to read. Nevertheless, I was told by many eye doctors that my vision was just fine because I saw 20/20 with each eye. Finally, at age 48, I consulted a Dr. Appelbaum, a developmental optometrist who guided me through a program of vision therapy which taught me how to use my two eyes together. I began to see in 3D for the first time in my life and found many routine tasks including driving, playing sports, and sustained reading much easier. The procedures I practiced make a great deal of scientific sense and wish I discovered vision therapy a long time ago.
The vision therapy that my son had with Dr. Appelbaum in his Bethesda office was the best money I have ever spent. He could not ride a bicycle or catch a ball and he had difficulty reading. Halfway through the treatment he was sitting next to me on a couch when his sister tossed a ball to me and Steven plucked it out of the air before my eyes. The change was so astonishing that it proved to me beyond a doubt that my investment had been worthwhile. By the end of the treatment his reading had improved and he became a less angry and frustrated child. The tantrums and tears with homework stopped. He always hated to read, loved to be read to, but right after he started vision therapy, he began to read books on his own. Now that he has finished his vision therapy, I still get tears in my eyes every time he asks me to take him to the library, which occurs now almost every week. I also have an adult friend whose three dimensional vision was very poor, at the age of 55, she underwent vision therapy and actually burst into tears as she walked down a street and saw true 3D for the first time. I am so glad I did not listen to my child's doctor who said I would be waisting my time and money.