The program that she participates in is called the Brick Stars, and was recently highlighted in Asbury Park Press newspaper. I share this here so others could take from the example of my daughter and the many other children in this program who have made huge gains both on and off of the ice. I truly feel that playing hockey has in many ways given me my daughter back. Not only been the ultimate in vision therapy for her but it has boosted her self esteem, broke her out of clingy/shy behavior, motivated her, and gotten her active and physically fit.
In the beginning she couldn't skate at all. In early games she go on the ice assisted and take "set up" goals. Now she plays without skating help and is in on the action. She's scoring goals left and right and skating fast, maneuvering around kids who are 3 times her size (or more). She is not letting her "disability" and vision challenges stop her.
Last season they had her using a special high contrast vision puck (pictured) which was a really effective training tool. Belle uses the "junior" puck, which is the one shown on the top of the photo - with the largest 'dot' in the center.
- Vision and Balance
- Eye-Hand Coordination
- Tracking, and
- Eye movements
But, back to where I started... Sharing about this fabulous program for special needs children that has changed my daughter's life.
And that’s just what their time spent on Sunday mornings at the Ocean Ice Palace is for every parent of a special needs hockey player in the Stars program — pure joy.
It certainly has been for MaryTara Wurmser, whose daughter, 6-year-old Isabelle, has been with the Stars since its beginning in 2009 and currently is the only girl in the program.Isabelle has a neurological disorder that affects her eyesight, making focusing on anything difficult, particularly moving objects. She used to wear eye patches to help try to correct her vision, but hasn’t worn a patch since March, and MaryTara says it has everything to do with Isabelle playing hockey.
“She still has some issues with the puck going left to right, but she’s doing really well,” Wurmser said. “She used to be a little shy and introverted. But this program has done wonders for her. It’s given me my daughter back.”
4 part series of articles & video linked below: