Sunday, August 29, 2010

To Patch or Not to Patch (At School).. That is the question

So, next week my daughter starts kindergarten.  The program here is halfday and just a few hours long. She is in the AM class and should be home by noon.    Our patching regimen is 6-8 hours a day. 

The dilemma:
  • She doesn't want to patch at school.  
  • A part of me says to let her patch at home after school. Another part of me says she needs to patch at school.
We COULD patch after school but it would mean patching as soon as she got home and right up until bedtime.   This is what my daughter would prefer as she really doesn't want to patch at school. Socially the patch really upsets her. Even though she is a strong little girl who is quite confident, the patch definitely cuts into who she is and how she feels about herself.  Also, I recently found out that one of the children who is going to be in her class is someone who has been a problem before and called her names including "one eye" and teased her.  This is just wrong!

The problem is that patching after school we are going to have a hard time getting in all her hours consistently because of after school activities like dance class, etc.   I also feel that if she patches at school the types of activities they do are beneficial activities for her vision.  She is also having a hard time with reading and writing and so it is my hope that if the school sees her struggles she will get the extra support she needs. (I plan on meeting with the teachers and Child Study Team about this) - and she is in a kindergarten class that has 2 teachers so this is a good start.

Ultimately, I feel that we need to patch at school which means letting my daughter down. I also know that we need to do something with the class and the teacher to help explain her patch. We did this in Pre-K and it went pretty well. She brought in books and she talked about the patch. We also had an individualized health plan in place. 

I'm also perhaps overthinking this - but should she patch on the first day of kindergarten or is this something that we introduce after she has had some time to settle in and I could meet with the teacher, etc?

Clearly I'm more of a nervous wreck about her starting Kindergarten then she is! 

13 comments:

  1. Being an "amblyopia kid" I have some issues here as she seems that you, mom, have patches over both eyes.
    Though it's obvious you love your daughter very much, kids are kids and you are over-anylizing everything in my opinion.
    As a kid, when and where to patch was not "my preference" and kids who were curious about my black pirate patch (flesh tone patches came out my second year of patching) soon forgot about it and just took me as their classmate and friend. Sure there were some stares and curiosities but simple explanation "it makes my right eye-stronger so I can see better" pretty much ended it then and there. For me and my parents, patching was seen as a positive thing, especially considering my right-eye vision when it was discovered that I had amblyopia. I recall only being able to see the big letter "E" on the vision chart. We continually saw the progess due to my patching. I am so thankful for that!
    I had a fellow "amblyopia kid" classmate in elementary that never patched due to her parents' same very worries that you have. I've run into her on various occasions over the years (nearly 35 years after beginning my patching) and wondered how she dealt with her wandering eye as an older youth and adult. Quite honestly it looks bad and very unattractive.
    Just as most parents wouldn't hesitate to give their kid a "yucky tasting" medicine or tough it out and comfort their kids if they needed to get a shot or deal with wearing a cast to heal a broken bone, you need to think further on down the road and count your blessings. Patching is a temporary thing but the benefit is one of a lifetime.

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  2. Hi. Both of my kids patch with one in preschool and one just staring kindergarten. Last year in preschool, which was 3 hours, 5 days a week, we did an hour before school (right up until we pulled in the parking lot) and then the remainder after school. At that point, we were at 6 hours a day. We made up any missed time on weekends, but it wasn't more than an hour here and there. My daughter is also in dance, but doesn't patch in class. We do the same thing, with her wearing her patch right up until class starts, then again as soon as we get in the car. I really wanted to avoid having them patch for school, as my daughter was also really apprehensive about it. It worked out great, and both of them continued to make strong progress at their appointments. The time in the morning makes a huge difference. We just finished 3 months of full time patching over the summer, which we did largely to avoid her wearing the patch to kindergarten (ours if full day). I'm thrilled that we are now back down to 5 hours a day with their vision finally being equal. Good luck with your decision!

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  3. My opinion is to have her wear her patch after school...and then for 6 hours as opposed to 8...her weak eye will be so tired-expecting anything more is torture....(I have amblyopia so I know what I'm talking about!) :)

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  4. Dear Anonymous Commenter #1:

    To say that I have patches over both my eyes and suggest that I am being negligent by not having my daughter patch at school is completely off base.

    Never did I say that she would not patch at all. My child patches for 6 hours minimum a day - and many days she goes for 8 hours. She has requested to not patch at school. I am weighing the odds of her patching at school vs. patching after school. She is going into a brand new place, all new kids except for 1 child that is absolutely HORRIBLE to her (he lives near me and he calls her names!!) because she wears a patch - the parents do nothing. When she patched in preschool she was in a familiar place with kids who she had established friendships with for many months before wearing a patch. This is a completely different situation. If wearing the patch will make her socially uncomfortable and deflate her self esteem I do not want to do that to my child! If she doesn't patch at school, she will patch at home afterwards. Simple as that, perhaps I am overanalyzing it.

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  5. Hi,

    I have to patch two boys. I personally do not think it's absolutely necessary for your daughter to patch at school. One important reason is that YOU will not be there to monitor the patching. Yes, there will be her teacher and there will be trusting your daughter. However, you want to make the most of her patch time and you are simply the best person for this. Your daughter already has the experience of teaching other children about her patching and has worn her patch around her peers so you have already taught her a wonderful lesson in that. You can patch before school, after school and if need be a little bit on the weekends. The thing is that you get the patching in, it doesn't have to be at school. You also do not want her struggling to learn or straining to read the board and such while trying to master new concepts at school. This may not be harmful but allow her to focus on the task of learning rather than the extra strain of learning to read at the same time. You can still have your daughter do plenty of eye exercises at home. Even if it is things she is learning at school but she will have been exposed to these new concepts at home. and she will be with you, the best person to be with in the whole wide world. :) Remember she may have homework and that will also be eye exercise time while she's patching. It will all work out.

    If you decide to try patching at home don't worry about if you decide down the road to send her to school with a patch on and how the children will react. They are going to ask questions whether it's the first time they meet your daughter or if they already know her when seh starts wearing a patch. In fact she may want to establish some friendships before she wears a patch to school so she won't seem so different right off the bat. Some children shy away from something different and your daughter may have a slight disadvantage establishing friendships in the beginning if she's seen as different. Her peers will adjust and get used to the patch whether it's the first day of school or later down the road.

    Ok, so I said all that to say that I think it's perfectly fine to start school without patching at school and see how that goes and if you think she needs to patch at school because you just cannot squeeze in all the hours at home then I do not believe it will be a disaster to introduce her peers to patching part way through the school year. Remember that the doc will gradually reduce the number of hours she will need to patch which will mean it will be even easier to patch at home only. Enjoy and take advantage of the fact that she is only going to school for half a day.

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  6. MT- You are an amazing mom...it speaks volumes that you are making such an effort to make the best decisions possible when it comes to both your childrens' needs. I don't have any real advice but I am again inspired by you.

    PS- I def had a harder time adjusting to L in school than she did.
    - MO

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  7. I think there is plenty of time outside of school to get patching in. My daughter dealt with bullies in Kindergarten and it sounds like B will, too. Why add the patch on top of that when there is really no reason to? It already makes her feel self conscious, from what you've said earlier. Her eye will turn out fine, and she will be more confident if she patches at home instead of school. And she won't resent you.

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  8. MT, you definitely aren't over-analyzing this situation. You are showing what a caring and devoted mother you are, and you ALWAYS have your children's interests and feelings in mind.

    Maggie isn't currently patching as you know, but if she were, I would probably opt for after-school patching rather than during school. Then again, during school might make that weak eye work a little bit harder with all of the activities they are doing. As always however, you are genuinely concerned for your children's emotional well being while balancing their obstacles they must overcome.

    The comment from Anon#1 is completely unwarranted. How easy it is to hide behind a computer, throwing assumptions at someone who is obviously so dedicated to doing the right and best thing for her children.

    Keep up the wonderful inspiration and support system for all parents and those with amblyopia.

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  9. Hi,

    It's great that you are considering as many aspects as you can in making this decision.. :)

    I think it would be best to at least try to do the patching at home. I have several reasons for thinking this.

    The first is that it's best to make the most out of patch time and I believe you are the best person to ensure this. You are her Mom and there isn't any school faculty member that is going to value the importance of improving your daughter's vision as much as her family. :) If she patches at home then you KNOW that it was done to your satisfaction.

    Another thing to consider is that it can be very exhausting to learn all the new things she will learn along with the effort she is going to have to make using her weak eye. . Depending on her vision in the weak eye, that may be a lot for your daughter to take on in the first few weeks of school. This is the big year to learn to read.

    You will have plenty of opportunity for your daughter to get in plenty of exercise for her eye. Remember, she will probably also have homework. You will be right there to make sure she's not getting overly frustrated with her school work while patching and practicing reading or any homework her teacher sends home. Plus, you probably have plenty of activities for your daughter that will make that eye work hard. :)

    You may also consider whether you really want your daughter to wear the patch during gym class or out on the playground. I don't know that I would feel compelled to have my children patch during P. E. as it is important to them to do well, feel confident, and safe during sports activities. You can work on hand eye coordination exercises during patch time at home so you don't feel like she's missing out on that sort of activity.

    I am glad you are considering your daughter's feelings about wearing the patch around her peers. I personally have not subjected my children to that sort of situation simply because there are other alternatives and it's not absolutely necessary. If it was the only way then I would have my children wear the patch around lots of strangers, friends, and family but we've not been in a situation where that was our best option. My feelings are if it's not vital that they wear the patch in front of their peers than we don't do that. My boys are pretty sensitive to that sort of thing. Every child is different. If you decide that your daughter needs to patch at school then I feel it would be best to let her establish friends and build relationships first because she will have that support if it becomes vital that she patch at school. If she starts out patching she may have a slight disadvantage at establishing those all important relationships with her peers. We of course never want our children to feel ashamed of their amblyopia but I do take in my children's feelings on feeling "different" when it's possible. One of my boys did not even want to wear glasses in front of his friends but that was not up for debate. :) In that case we had to work with him to wear his glasses in front of friends and strangers. :) It is vital he wears his glasses all the time and therefore in front of his peers.....

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  10. ...Continued

    Another important thing to remember is that you will not always be required to patch for six hours a day. The number of patching hours will gradually be reduced and so it will be much easier to fit those patch hours in the day without having to wear the patch at school . I believe you can patch some before school and do the rest after school at least to start because the doc may reduce the hours for patching and therefor patching outside of school hours will be even easier and you would not have had to have your daughter patch at school. If down the road you find patching at school vial then she will already have a group of buddies to support her. :)
    I encourage you to try patching at home to take advantage of the fact that your daughter is only going to school for half a day and therefore it will be much easier to do the patching at home than if she was in school all day.

    You are her Mother and ultimately know your daughter best and all the details of the issues and concerns for your daughter and family. You will make the best choice for your daughter because you want what is best for her.

    Best wishes

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  11. Hi, I am really enjoying reading everyone's comments. My daughter (now 4) was diagnosed with amblyopia 1 year ago. Supposedly, we have maxed out the effect of the glasses according to the opthalmologist- who of course wants to do the surgery. He poo-poos Vision Therapy. If I can scrape up the 5000.00 to do one 10 month series of Vision Therapy... I will do that first... along with patching. The surgeon says that her deviation is too strong to respond to this type of therapy,.... but I think/feel that since he is a surgeon.. that is all he knows or even wants to know. What has anyone/everyone's experience been with this type of thing? Thanks Judy

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  12. It has been a while since I made my post (#1) and wanted to respond to a couple of things as to my rationale for posting what I did as it seems that it was misinterpreted.

    If you do not choose to read my entire post, please go back and read the 2nd and last sentence of my initial post.


    Now, to respond to comments:
    (ex."The comment from Anon#1 is completely unwarranted. How easy it is to hide behind a computer, throwing assumptions at someone who is obviously so dedicated to doing the right and best thing for her children.)

    Here is what I read and based my comments on (I didn't assume them):
    "Our patching regimen is 6-8 hours a day."
    "She doesn't want to patch at school."
    "A part of me says to let her patch at home after school."
    " I recently found out that one of the children who is going to be in her class is someone who has been a problem before and called her names."
    "Another part of me says she needs to patch at school."
    "The problem is that patching after school we are going to have a hard time getting in all her hours consistently because of after school activities..."
    "I also feel that if she patches at school the types of activities they do are beneficial activities for her vision."

    In looking beyond the emotion and wondering "to patch or not to patch (at school) I simply wanted to make the point that the potential benefits of patching,which you stated as well, outweighed that of a problematic kid (that should be dealt with if not by the parents then by the school).
    I never questioned your love/devotion as a parent. I simply felt/feel that you over analyze things.

    What does your child's doctor feel should be the regimine? Is it up to you where/when?

    Ultimately, you are the parent (loving,caring, devoted,...) and can rest assured that the accountability of doing the "right thing", however subjective that may be, falls solely on you so ALL comments posted here are simply that...comments.

    Being in your little one's situation and patching for five years (5-10 years-old)with much success due to no debate and dedication from loving parents (like yourself), I chose to look at this site and make a comment as it is a passionate subject for me as I've experienced it myself. I was blessed in that 35 years ago my amblyopia was detected early on (like your daughter) and time was on my side so that patching would produce very effective results. Back then, there were no blogs nor information readily available.

    Good luck to you and your little one as you both face brand new places,new kids, and unforeseen obstacles, with or without patches!

    My very best!

    Some inspirational food:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc4HGQHgeFE&feature=related


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc4HGQHgeFE

    ReplyDelete
  13. It has been a while since I made my post (#1) and wanted to respond to a couple of things as to my rationale for posting what I did as it seems that it was misinterpreted.

    If you do not choose to read my entire post, please go back and read the 2nd and last sentence of my initial post.


    Now, to respond to comments:
    (ex."The comment from Anon#1 is completely unwarranted. How easy it is to hide behind a computer, throwing assumptions at someone who is obviously so dedicated to doing the right and best thing for her children.)

    Here is what I read and based my comments on (I didn't assume them):
    "Our patching regimen is 6-8 hours a day."
    "She doesn't want to patch at school."
    "A part of me says to let her patch at home after school."
    " I recently found out that one of the children who is going to be in her class is someone who has been a problem before and called her names."
    "Another part of me says she needs to patch at school."
    "The problem is that patching after school we are going to have a hard time getting in all her hours consistently because of after school activities..."
    "I also feel that if she patches at school the types of activities they do are beneficial activities for her vision."

    In looking beyond the emotion and wondering "to patch or not to patch (at school) I simply wanted to make the point that the potential benefits of patching,which you stated as well, outweighed that of a problematic kid (that should be dealt with if not by the parents then by the school).
    I never questioned your love/devotion as a parent. I simply felt/feel that you over analyze things.

    What does your child's doctor feel should be the regimine? Is it up to you where/when?

    Ultimately, you are the parent (loving,caring, devoted,...) and can rest assured that the accountability of doing the "right thing", however subjective that may be, falls solely on you so ALL comments posted here are simply that...comments.

    Being in your little one's situation and patching for five years (5-10 years-old)with much success due to no debate and dedication from loving parents (like yourself), I chose to look at this site and make a comment as it is a passionate subject for me as I've experienced it myself. I was blessed in that 35 years ago my amblyopia was detected early on (like your daughter) and time was on my side so that patching would produce very effective results. Back then, there were no blogs nor information readily available.

    Good luck to you and your little one as you both face brand new places,new kids, and unforeseen obstacles, with or without patches!

    My very best!

    Some inspirational food:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc4HGQHgeFE&feature=related


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc4HGQHgeFE

    ReplyDelete