From St. Louis Metro Area

Thought to lack an aptitude for reading, 4th grader, Mary Alberts [name changed to protect privacy] was not expected to achieve academically.

That was 1996.

She was reading at a 2nd grade level. Her parents and teachers were puzzled. She had passed well child physical examinations and school eye screenings. They sought assistance from many specialists and pursued multiple options, all providing little hope for improvement. That is until her 4th grade teacher referred her to the Pupil Project at The College of Optometry at the University of Missouri Saint Louis.

Based on a multidisciplinary approach, optometrists, psychologists, and teachers found a process for her success. With daily exercises using different lenses and reading charts as well as biweekly visits to the eye clinic, her reading disability improved. Soon she considered herself an avid reader completing all assigned classroom readings without difficulty, increasing her recreational reading each year. Her school performance also showed dramatic improvement.

She and her parents were grateful for her 4th grade teacher and doctors in the Center for Eye Care. She was not destined for a life of underachievement and dependency. Rather her progress served to inspire and motivate.

Within that same year of her initial diagnosis, she increased her reading level by two grades. In 8th grade her reading comprehension ranked in the college level. Last year [2011] she read 40 books.

It was that experience which seeded her career aspiration and passion…teaching.

Doing what some thought she could not, Mary Allen, pursued a degree in middle school education. Now 25, she is appreciative that her parents, teachers and doctors identified the problem and encouraged her to purse the interventions that were often tiring.

Mary often wonders what her life would be like without the help of the Pupil Project and hopes her story will encourage other students to discover the wonderful world of reading.

This is a true story.
Many children throughout Missouri have vision related learning problems.
Most pass routine eye screenings.