How ‘Eye’ See It- Reflections of a Mother to a VI Child
Vision loss is not a forethought for many. It isn’t until it affects us or a loved one when we finally see its importance.
As a mother of a visually impaired child, my life changed after my son’s diagnosis. My son, JP, has multiple eye impairments, including glaucoma, which he’s battled throughout his 13 years of life. As his vision stands now, he has no functional vision in his right eye (blind). His left eye has limited peripheral and no depth perception, meaning he only has about a pinhole size of available vision. JP is often left with migraines, along with dry eye since having shunts placed in both eyes as part of the treatment plan to rid the excessive amounts of fluid buildup. Despite his vision loss, JP is a vibrant, loving, and sweet child that loves learning new things and hanging out with friends. As a mother, I could not ask for a better son. Nightly, I still think of how we can do more, not only at home and school, but as a community.
I am determined to learn about every opportunity available to my son. I have delved into researching the options available in our Southern Nevada community. Vision related services, assistive technology, or other adaptations, such as transportation, are available to help someone with a visual impairment to live out a “normal life.” For those with visual impairments, the struggle in accomplishing the smallest of things that others consider a daily task is often time consuming. Completing tasks like coordinating an outfit for school or making a snack in the kitchen without assistance requires more time and may take some extra education on how to use the tools available to them.
For the last few years, JP has been able to explore the community that has aided him to see with the limited vision he has left thanks to Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF). JP’s adventures have ranged from learning how to cook, competing in FIRST LEGO League Robotics, to going on exciting field trips to feed a giraffe or pet a dolphin! He enjoys horsing around with his friends that see him for who he is; just as he sees them beyond their diagnoses.
Over the years, JP has joined me in advocating for not only himself, but for his sister, and others with needs similar to his own. He recently shocked me at one of his eye appointments. He asked the hardest question I could have imagined coming from a young man only in 8th grade. He spoke with confidence to ask about a procedure on his right eye called enucleation, which is the removal of the eye. On the fourth of October, JP underwent this surgery. It’s fitting as October is Blindness Awareness Month. This month has always been special to us, but now takes on a new meaning for our family. JP is currently recovering from his procedure and is in good spirits.
We are thankful for NBCF and all those that have invested in the cause of bringing awareness of the blind and low vision community within southern Nevada. Thank you for making it obtainable to families to call NBCF a home away from home. Thank you from the bottom of my and JP’s hearts in allowing us to share a little of our story.
With much thanks,
Kimberly, the mother of JP