Visual Spatial Disorder

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#When I was in Kindergarten, I ran straight into a bookshelf. Actually, I had the firm belief that I didn’t run into the bookshelf; it ran into me. In first grade, I struggled with geometric pattern blocks and found out that I needed glasses. This fixed only part of the problem- most physical activity was at least uncomfortable, and, at most, painful for me. I developed coping mechanisms to prevent “Meganne” incidents. I knew that in any given room, I was the most likely to spill something, trip, break something, fall, or otherwise cause a scene. I excelled in my honors and AP classes, had friends, and was very shy, awkward, and quiet-I was constantly disoriented, and the energy that I would’ve used to carry myself confidently, speak up in class, and assert myself and my goals, was being used to constantly try, in vain, to orient myself in space. Teachers just saw that I was getting good grades and had some friends; they didn’t see a need to investigate anything. My family knew that something was wrong and tried to support me, but the doctors I saw couldn't find anything wrong with me. There was a huge gap of frustration between what my body was doing and what my brain was trying to tell it to do. This all became so much worse when I started to learn to drive. I got horrible scores on my practice drives, and had never felt more frustrated in my life. I couldn’t tell when other cars were letting me pass, how far away they were, or when I was too close to one side of the road or the other. I thought it was just because I had anxiety, but I kept making mistakes even when I felt relaxed. It was hard to see people’s reactions to the actions that weren’t fully my fault. I also didn’t like what I was doing, but I didn’t know how to change it. I finally decided to talk to my doctor, Dr. Erin Donley. She told me to see an occupational therapist, and I completed eight sessions with Lisa Pirock at Mercy Health, who then referred me to Dr. Pederzolli. He was the first person to fully understand what I was going through. It suddenly made sense as to why I simply couldn’t do things that other people could. I had visual-spatial processing disorder. The diagnosis alone made me feel free, confident, and self-aware. I experienced balance for the first time in vision therapy. After seeing Dr. Pederzolli, roads look wider, I can tell when cars are near vs. far, I can play catch, and I can play baseball! These may seem like little, trivial things that are nothing more than playground games, but the world feels less threatening. I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and I’m so grateful for my experience with Dr. Pederzolli and vision therapy. – Meganne, YSU 2-11-2021 #