Our second son, Isaac, arrived happy and healthy in July 2017, and he was a very welcome addition to our family. As he began to grow and develop, we noticed his eyes were shifting back and forth a bit. Although we thought this didn’t seem quite right, we were somewhat in denial that anything might be wrong. But after a relative called it to our attention, we decided to bring it up at Isaac’s six-month check-up.
Isaac’s pediatrician noted our concerns and referred us to Children’s Wisconsin for a CT scan. The results came back with a diagnosis of encephalomalacia, the softening or loss of brain tissue which is most commonly caused by hemorrhage (loss of blood from damaged blood vessels) or infarction (inadequate blood supply) before, during or after the birth process.
As any parents of a newborn would be, we were devastated by the diagnosis. We felt profound sadness about all the things he might never do along with a lot of worry about what the future held. Also, we noticed that his motor skills were delayed due to his vision issues. He didn’t crawl like other kids his age, and he was slow to pull himself up to a standing position. When he finally did stand, he always held onto the wall as he moved about.
Around the time Isaac turned one our pediatrician referred us to Vision Forward, and we connected so well with their Children’s Program that we enrolled our son. Through Vision Forward’s therapies — music, physical, and speech — and vision services, Isaac learned to overcome many of his challenges. His vision improved, allowing him to run outside on different surfaces; he learned to identify different shapes and colors; and he learned to better express himself and communicate with others. He became more independent and is able to do a lot on his own now.
Our son became a whole different boy.
When the pandemic hit, we worried that Isaac’s progress would come to a halt and set him back. However, Vision Forward’s virtual services helped him continue to advance. So, our family put in a little more effort and worked as a team to keep him going. We took Isaac on walks so he could practice his mobility skills and verbalize what he saw. We set up an obstacle course and played soccer in the back yard to help him improve his coordination and balance. And his big brother, Christian, helped him practice walking up and down the stairs until he could do it without using his hands.
As a result, Isaac was able to overcome a lot in a very short period of time. His overall progress has enabled him to become more independent in his daily routine. In fact, we are hopeful that Isaac’s vision will one day allow him to operate a vehicle on his own because he loves cars and monster trucks!
Isaac will be transitioning to a public school in the fall, and we expect him to continue to achieve and succeed in life. Although he will no longer be working side by side with the awesome team at Vision Forward, we will be forever grateful for all they have done.