“There is something wrong with your child’s vision”
Hearing these words can change your life forever. It leaves parents with endless questions and sets them on a path in search of answers.
Molly and Joe Anderer found themselves in this very situation with the birth of their first child, Imre. Imre was born with a porencephalic cyst in his brain, which affected his physical and cognitive development; it also left him blind.
At one and a half, when Imre wasn’t sitting, rolling over or babbling, his parents were connected to a teacher of the visually impaired and a team of therapists (occupational, physical and speech) from Vision Forward. They set up a schedule of therapy and vision services to help him overcome his developmental delays.
“We needed help working with our blind child,” states Molly. “We wanted to learn how to help him be the best he can be.”
Before long, Imre began to eat table foods, work on standing up and operate switch toys to help with communication.
“Our team works together to fill in the gap that is created by the absence of vision,” says Cindy Francione, speech therapist. “It is important for the children to be aware of their surroundings. One way we help is by narrating the routine and giving cues for environmental noises. For example, a teacher might say ‘It is time to turn the water on,’ which helps Imre learn the noise of running water.”
Today, Imre is a very social three-year old who loves being around other children. Every day when he arrives at Vision Forward his goal is to be able to do what everyone else is doing. “Being around other kids could not have been better for him,” says his mom Molly. “He gets so excited to see his friends every day.”
He is thriving in a classroom that accommodates his vision loss in all programming areas. In conjunction with the team, his parents continue to learn new strategies in how to best help their son progress.
“Vision Forward has given us a lot of hope and helps us see an independent future for Imre,” says Molly fondly.