I’ve Been Watching Shane.

When Shane finished his vision therapy – after 18 months and $20,000 – the doctor gave us two things: instructions about how to sit when reading, and $300 glasses with no discernable prescription in the lenses. He was instructed to wear these glasses at all times.

Shane never sat the right way when reading. He sits all hunched over, too close to the book, with the world’s worst posture. In other words, he reads like I do.

About six months later, I learned that Shane’s friend was reading small print for him because Shane couldn’t see it.

So we went to a vision specialist, and got Shane a prescription for lenses that would help him read. Shane wore his glasses for more than a year – well into fourth grade – before he suddenly decided he didn’t need them anymore. Later, we found out that his eyesight had corrected itself.

But then there was this test, where he didn’t make his goal. And suddenly I’m panicked because – what if? What if Shane’s posture caused him to have trouble again? What if he should have worn his prescription-free lenses longer? What if all that therapy suddenly reversed itself and Shane reverted back to being unable to read?

So I’ve been watching Shane, looking for signs of vision processing relapse.

I’ve paid close attention to how he reads. I’ve asked him to read things out loud that, normally, I would know he knew. I’ve checked and double-checked that he’s not flipping numbers when he does his math homework. And I’ve really listened when he talked about any struggles – although none of them seem to be related, except for the standardized test.

Shane came to me one day and said, “Mom, maybe my vision processing is coming back.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I was reading the word ‘brain’ on somebody’s shirt, and I thought it said, ‘Brian.'”

“I can see why you would think that,” I said, “but that is perfectly normal.” I realized that I – and most people – have done similar word flips throughout their lives, without any harsh repurcussions.

In fact, now that his test is over, there don’t seem to be any signs of relapse at all. Perhaps he just didn’t do well on his test. I always tested better in math than I did in English, especially in vocabulary, all the way up to the SATs. I hate math, and I love words. But my test scores sure didn’t show that.

So I don’t think Shane’s having a relapse of vision processing disorder.

I am thrilled and relieved, and I also feel a bit stupid.

But mostly I’m just thrilled and relieved.

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