She Started Seeing

Gina was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her first foster child. After having two biological children, she and her partner were ready to adopt. “She was supposed to be a perfectly healthy 3-month old,” Gina remembers. “But when she arrived, she was only 6 weeks old.” And something was very wrong with baby Kennedy.

Kennedy slept nearly all day. “She didn’t cry for the first eight months,” Gina says. “When her eyes were open, she stared into a corner.” They discovered that the little girl had been exposed to methamphetamines in the womb.

An assessment revealed that Kennedy was legally blind and her development was severely delayed. The prognosis from doctors was so bad that Gina didn’t think early intervention could help her vision. “I thought, how are they going to teach a blind kid to see?” recalls Gina.

When Kennedy was 4 months old, Bertha Preciado started making home visits. Bertha is one of Wayfinder’s specialists who provide early intervention statewide to children with vision loss or multiple disabilities. Among other items, Bertha brought an iPad with a glowing red bunny. Week after week, Bertha would work with Kennedy to follow the slow-moving red bunny with her eyes.

“When I first met her, Kennedy was very nonresponsive to stimulation,” says Bertha. “If she wasn’t being touched, she was unaware of her surroundings.” To give Kennedy more sensory input, Bertha introduced sand and water. Kennedy loved it.

“It’s amazing how plastic babies’ brains are,” Gina says. “The improvement happened over months, but it was quick. She started seeing.” When Kennedy was 1 year old, “Bertha was using the same bunny, but it was bouncing all over the iPad, and Kennedy was following it,” says Gina.

With Bertha, Kennedy’s vision continued to improve, and she made rapid developmental progress. Now age 3-and-a-half, Kennedy is in a typical preschool and does not need special education services.

“Early intervention was totally life-changing for Kennedy,” Gina says. “I don’t know where she’d be now without Wayfinder. I didn’t know what to do for her. Thank you to Wayfinder from the bottom of my heart.”

child with glasses smiles while sitting on her mom's lap

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December 4, 2019