December 10, 2017
Resilient, spunky and determined, Mackenzie came into this world with a spirit unlike any other. Despite having serious vision and hearing loss, among other challenging medical and physical conditions, Mackenzie’s joyful determination brought her family solace when they felt completely lost and alone.
Fortunately, they also had Blind Babies Foundation, a program of Wayfinder Family Services, by their side.
When Mackenzie was first diagnosed, doctors told her parents that she might be able to tell the difference between light and dark and perhaps be able to track some movement—sort of like looking through Swiss cheese—but that would be the extent of her vision.
Michelle, a vision impairment specialist at Blind Babies Foundation, began working with Mackenzie and her family immediately.
“Blind Babies Foundation has been a guiding light for our family, providing Mackenzie with services and offering us support and a sense of community… all free of charge, which is truly a gift,” says Mackenzie’s mother, Shilo.
Michelle engages Mackenzie in activities and exercises to help strengthen whatever limited vision she has, while teaching her parents how to make adaptations for Mackenzie at home. For example, they replaced colorful foam mats in their play area with black ones, so that Mackenzie can recognize a fallen toy on the floor. They also padded the floor boards with foam swim noodles, so that Mackenzie knows when she is approaching a wall.
Michelle consults with Mackenzie’s teachers to ensure their lesson plans are accessible and accompanies the family on Mackenzie’s doctor visits to help translate medical terms. Through collaboration with Michelle, Mackenzie’s parents learned how to advocate for their daughter.
Mackenzie is thriving! She has accomplished feats her parents could only dream of before, like painting and playing with puzzles.
Mackenzie and her family have also found support through Blind Babies Foundation’s community events. Our spring hunt for beeping eggs and family camp are only some of the ways families can connect with others who share similar experiences.
“The services Mackenzie and the whole family receive from Blind Babies Foundation have been tremendous,” says Mackenzie’s father, John. “We are truly grateful to have them by our side every step of the way.”