Don’t be Afraid of the Ball!!!




    No, balls don’t really scare me…unless they are flying in the air towards me.   Flying objects appear closer than they really are to me.  This has nothing to do with my reading vision (which is 20-20) but with a different type of visual condition called Intermittent Exotropia.  The eyes drift outward, causing moving objects to appear closer than they really are.  Here is an example of what my eyes would look like up close:


Picture from

     A study by The University of Arkansas found that most people with Intermittent Exotropia also have  neurological issues, such as Attention Deficit Disorder.   If Thomas Hartman is correct that those with A.D.D/ADHD were nomadic hunters millions of years ago, perhaps having Intermittent Exotropia gave them the ability to see animals a little bit sooner.  For me, having Intermittent Exotropia got me picked last every single time during gym.  No one wants someone on their team who turns away from a flying ball instead of trying to catch it.  Gym sucked.

       This condition can not be cured by neurofeedback or through any other means.  Yet Neurofeedback can help with my other visual issue: Dysgraphia.

                Dysgraphia is a learning disability that makes handwriting sloppy, words hard to spell, difficult to process information, and nearly impossible to write words or numbers on a straight line.    Here is an example from



          Can you imagine being an elementary teacher and having this horrible handwriting?  As a substitute I would always type up my reports.  The principal was pretty impressed that I would take the time.  Really, I was just trying to hide my Dysgraphia.   Sadly I can’t hide it in my current position.

                For one student that I assist, I have the responsibility of writing how many times during the day I have to get him refocused in class or reteach him a certain subject.     This data is to prove to the student’s mother that he needs an aide.  The student’s mother wants him to be de-classified.   I think it is because she didn’t want her little angel (as she calls him) to feel different from everyone else by having an aide.  I’m more concern about what will happen to ‘Angel’ later on if he doesn’t get the accommodations he needs.

          Angel’s case manager, Debbie, said I wasn’t going to need to hand my notes until Monday.  I had planned to retype the notes over the weekend.  The notes would be neat, legible, and obtain perfect spelling and grammar.  You can imagine my agony when Debbie asked for my notes on Thursday.

     “Wha….what?”  I was sure (or hoping) that I had heard wrong.  I didn’t.

     Debbie explained that the IEP meeting with Angel’s mom was rescheduled for that afternoon.  Therefore Debbie needed to see the notes to talk to Angel’s teachers.  My heart raced faster than a locomotive.

      “You do have the notes, right?” 

      I gulped.  I had two choices.   I could lie.  I could say I forgot my notes.  The downside to that was I would look irresponsible.

     The second choice was to tell Debbie that, yes, I have the notes.  I could show her my sloppy, misspelled and misaligned notes and explain that they were my first draft.   Really, my choices were to portray myself as irresponsible or hasty.I decided to go with the latter choice. 

     “I have my notes, but they are kind of sloppy.  Really, they are more like a first draft .”

     “Oh please!  It can’t be as bad as mine!” Debbie showed me her notes.  Of course her handwriting was legible and written in a nice line.               “Bring them to the meeting at noon.”  Before I could protest any further she left.  I had never felt so nervous!

     At noon I went to the meeting.  My hands were shaking and my stomach was flip-flopping as I opened to the door to the conference room.  Debbie and three teachers were sitting at the table.  Debbie waved to me.  “Good to see you, Mary.  Please put your notes in the center of the table and sit down.”

      My face must have been red as a tomato as I placed my notes in the center of the table.  Four educators were looking at my terrible handwriting and spelling.  The room was silent and I wanted to die.  After what seemed like an eternity, one teacher cleared her throat and made a comment about Angel’s skills.  I don’t recall the exact conversation because I was busy asking God if a bolt of lighting could  come and strike me dead immediately.  Needless to say, God’s answer was no.  

                Yet, none of the adults made a comment about my sloppy handwriting or spelling.  A week later, Debbie told me to keep my sloppy notes separated from my neat notes in the future.  What a relief!  It felt like the weight had been lifted from my shoulders!   So, I always make sure my notes are typed by the end of the week and ready to hand in.

                Doc said that my handwriting will always be sloppy.  Neurofeedback or  Occupational therapy will not help.    However, I can now write in a straight line as shown below.


     This shows that my visual skills are improving as well as parts of my Dysgraphia.   Will it be enough to obtain a teaching position in the near future?  I doubt it. Yes, I will be able to correct work without missing mistakes and be able to write in a straight line but there is still a lot of ‘traffic’ going on in my brain.  In other words, my brain isn’t processing information quickly.  Still my visual results are very positive.   Perhaps I will be able to obtain a real teaching job in the future.  What do you think?