GREETINGS DELTA CHARTER SCHOOL VISITORS! Please click this link for an update on the Steve Ingersoll story.
Michigan has lots of charter schools. The state leads the United States in charter school creation. These schools are advertised to parents as an alternative to public education often offering specialties such as fine arts and science, or focusing on students with special needs. Charter schools draw people from different occupations and walks of life into the education business. Dr. Steven Ingersoll, an optometrist currently living in Traverse City, Michigan, and facing felony fraud charges, is one of those people. He combined his expertise of vision therapy and education and came up with a model for charter schools that develops children’s vision so they can better focus on learning. According to Dr. Ingersoll, his methods have dramatic results with students who suffer from ADHD
The main component of Ingersoll’s charter schools is Integrated Visual Learning. IVL according to Ingersoll is a “visual therapy with a cognitive finish.” Vision therapy is a method of retraining the eyes to work together in order to strengthen vision, which enables a person to stay focused and process information more efficiently. This is why every student at one of Dr. Ingersoll’s schools receives an eye exam. This is not uncommon; schools have vision screening for students. Dr. Ingersoll however gives students full eye examinations. In fact, every school operated by Dr. Ingersoll has a full optometry lab.
The first school where Dr. Ingersoll used his new IVL model was at Livingston Developmental Academy in Howell, Michigan. This school was co-founded with Chuck Stockwell. The school implemented Steve Ingersoll’s three-phase approach and had incredible results. According to Ingersoll, 90% of students who were diagnosed with ADHD no longer exhibited the characteristics of ADHD; the students were able to stay focused and had greater success with their schoolwork. Combined with William Glasser education theory and character building education, Dr. Ingersoll went on to establish another charter school in Traverse City with his co founder in IVL, Mark Noss, O.D. In 2011 he opened Bay City Academy and used the same education model there. In all of these schools the same amazing claims were made that students through IVL were able to stay focused and found learning easier. Ingersoll in fact stresses the importance of students being trained to work with what he calls a visual learning style, and that other learning styles force children to use incorrect coping skills that make learning more difficult.
It wasn’t easy finding information about IVL. There is no Wikipedia article about this method of retraining students to learn. The Facebook Page hasn’t been updated in a year. Only through finding information from a Canadian Optometry Clinic in Vancouver that uses IVL was it possible to find a link to Dr. Ingersoll’s Excel Institute. Educators and vision therapists who want to learn Dr. Ingersoll’s method take classes at one of three locations in Michigan – Traverse City, Farmington Hills, and Battle Creek.
Steve Ingersoll’s claims that the majority of students diagnosed with ADHD are misdiagnosed and suffer from poor vision development doesn’t take into consideration that there are different types of ADHD and the condition can come from different causes. Children diagnosed with ADHD have gone through a series of tests performed by pediatric psychiatrists and neurologists. For these children who attend Ingersoll’s schools and were “cured” of ADHD through the Doctor’s IVL method, it would be worthwhile to find out how those children progressed through school once they no longer were part of his program.
Intergrated Visual Learning is only the beginning of Dr. Steve Ingersoll’s total visual learning education model. He has developed other parts of this program, including curriculum and software.