Skip to content

Ask Dr. Julie: When Should You Add Other Treatment Modalities?

other treatment modalities

Hi, I’m Dr. Julie Steinhauer, and on this segment of Ask Dr. Julie let’s go into when should you add another treatment modality to your functional vision therapy program.

So this is a question we get asked all the time. I can’t really give credit to any one particular person, because it’s something that we just hear so often. But many times, our patients come into the office and they are in the middle of another type of therapy. They might be receiving occupational therapy, physical therapy, maybe they’re even receiving some sort of socialization therapy if the child is autistic or on the spectrum.  They might be looking into auditory therapy, or maybe there’s another type of sensory therapy if they have issues with being over sensitized to their clothing or tastes or smells.

So there’s so many different treatment modalities out there, but when can you kind of lump them all together and combine them, or should you if you’re starting on a functional vision therapy program? The answer is there are some that can be put off and there are some that can’t. There are also some that can be put off down the road a little bit because they’re going to be more successful down the road, and there are some that you should definitely do at the exact same time. So let’s kind of go through these, and I have a few that I want to mention for certain.

When we hear about someone who’s in OT and PT, now a lot of times those things are going to be ongoing. They may have been in them for years before they ever even came in our door. So if that’s the case, a lot of times I’m going to tell you put the pause button on both of those things. OT and PT,  they’re awesome, they’re amazing. Obviously they were needed and that would be a reason why the individual is in them or is looking at needing them. If it’s something that they’ve been in for a while, pause it. Start your functional vision therapy program, particularly if you’ve got one that includes photo-syntonics or light therapy, because the changes that are going to happen with you are going to be so rapid, or the changes with your child are going to be so rapid and so amazing that whenever you pick those things back up, if they’re even needed at the end, you’ll progress even farther. So put a pause on those.

If we’re talking about something like socialization therapy, it depends on when you’ve been in that one, or if it is your child that has been in that one. I definitely usually say put the pause on that one, too. Again, a functional vision therapy program is going to bring about a lot more socialization from that child than what you’ve ever seen before. Maybe they’re even going to become a lot more verbal and you’ve never even seen them be this verbal before. Maybe there was a bunch of more jibber jabber and kind of repetitive talking, or maybe they just quoted things.

A lot of our patients have come into the clinic over the years and they’ve just quoted books and things that they’ve read, and that was their communication. Even though they wouldn’t necessarily answer your questions very well, they did communicate with you by memorization of facts and things that they liked or they found interesting. That level of communication is going to change if you have a good functional vision therapy program that includes photo-syntonics light therapy. Hands down, there’s no way on earth you’re not going to have something changed with socialization skills. It will be dramatically different.

What about sensory integration? A lot of those programs are going to be ongoing, or maybe it’s something that the person’s heard. Maybe they’re jumping into the rabbit hole for the first time and so now they’re looking at all kinds of different treatment modalities, and maybe they’ve not jumped into sensory integration. This is definitely one that can be good to be going on at the same time as your vision therapy or functional vision therapy program. So I don’t necessarily say put a pause on that one.

What about just in general someone getting some outside help and resources, like they’re going through tutoring? Pause it. Put a pause on it because everything is going to change. The way that they look at the world, the way that they’re processing information is totally going to be different, so you don’t necessarily want to continue to try and tutor a child who is struggling visually. Get the visual system in place so that the brain can process information visually in a completely different way, and then hop right back into that sort of thing when it makes more sense. Usually about three-fourths of the way through a functional vision therapy program it will make a lot more sense, and believe me, it will be so much more productive. So it’s going to be more productive, not only for them for learning, but you for paying the bill for something like that to be taking place.

What about if we’re talking about auditory therapy? So let’s jump on that one. This one is super important. It is one that needs to happen at the same time if you can make it so. The reason why it’s so important is that auditory therapy will be literally propelled light years ahead so much faster if they’re actually having a functional vision therapy and photo-syntonic light therapy at the same time.

If it’s just a functional vision therapy program that’s more motor based, which is more about teaching your child how to cross their eyes, that’s not what we’re discussing here.  We are talking about a really high level functioning visual therapy type of program with photo-syntonic light therapy at the same time. You’re reprogramming the brain electrically with the light therapy on how to process information. So it’s going to speed up the sentences, it’s going to heighten all of the senses, therefore your auditory therapy is going to just go lightning fast. In fact, most of our patients whenever they’re in this stuff with us at the same time say “this six month program they suggested that we have for auditory therapy, we only needed two months.” It will be cut almost in half or even less in some cases. Now, not in every case, but in a lot of cases, so do it at the same time if you can.

What about something like speech therapy? Well, speech therapy is definitely one where it depends. Yes, you can do it at the same time, but I would probably still recommend you put a pause on that one. The reason why is that you want to get the brain to process a lot of information more quickly and to be able to integrate a lot of information better in order to process for something like a speech therapy to work because it combines multiple things. It’s not just their ability to form and say the words, but it’s also the ability to hear it correctly. There’s so many things that are involved with speech, and so I would usually put a pause on that one and say to let the functional vision therapy program, again, combined with light therapy at the same time. Those two have to be put together.

If you have functional vision therapy with the photo-syntonics, then I would say put a pause on the speech therapy and come back again about halfway to three-fourths of the way to the program because they will be processing at a completely different level with their brain. You have electrically turned on things so much differently than what it was before, and the speech therapy will go so much more smoothly, more efficiently, and it won’t even be the same type of program or output or length of time.

That’s what I recommend for our patients in the clinic. I’m really specific about that. I don’t want our patients spending time on this little thing over here, this little thing over here, that little thing over there, and a million other little things that I know are out there. They all are very helpful. It doesn’t mean I don’t want my patients to have those things, because they all have their place.

So what comes first and what should be treated first is super important because some of these things are going to affect how the brain is able to process everything else. And, are they needed? Absolutely. If someone has told you that your person or your child needs to have auditory therapy or speech therapy, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to need those things at the end of functional vision therapy, but it does mean that now your child is a lot more ready to receive what they need to learn from those programs, and that’s the key so you’re not spending your time, your energy, your funds, on lots of things that won’t have their maximal effect. I don’t like doing that. You shouldn’t like doing that. I definitely don’t like it for my patients. I want you to be able to maximally use what you have to help your child, but again, in the right timeframe. Super important.

For more information on this topic and so much more,  you can go to our website at and fill out the questionnaire there, or just call us. Call our office at (618) 288-1489. We can talk about how we can help you.