“I knew I had to step up and be the dad I needed to be for Liam, says his father, Ryan. “Wayfinder helped me out a lot.”
After a divorce, Ryan became a single dad to Liam, who had been born three months prematurely, weighing only 2 pounds. Liam was in the neonatal intensive care unit for four months due to serious gastrointestinal issues.
At 9 months old, Liam was assessed with various developmental delays due to prematurity and genetic issues. “I wanted to get Liam all the services I could to get ahead of the developmental issues,” says Ryan.
Liam entered Wayfinder’s Early Intervention program with a condition that causes his eyes to make rapid, uncontrolled movements. It was difficult for him to follow objects with his eyes and coordinate his eye and hand movements. In our Early Intervention program, children with vision loss or multiple disabilities increase their visual functioning and reach developmental milestones through weekly sessions with our early intervention specialists.
Amanda, a Wayfinder vision specialist, met with Ryan and Liam solely online due to the pandemic. “The communication was great,” Ryan says. “The resources were phenomenal.” Amanda used play and practical goals to build Liam’s visual skills while Ryan provided his son with hands-on assistance. “He is an amazing dad,” Amanda notes. “He is always getting resources for his son. He’s a very kind, warm, energetic man.”
Ryan applied himself to learning more about Liam’s disabilities. He saw a puzzle toy that needed to be modified for children who are blind or low vision, so he designed a new toy! Ryan’s toy, My Little Nugget, has simple pieces made of silicon that are easy to manipulate, plus saturated colors that children with low vision can more readily see. Amanda likes it so much that she purchased the toy on Amazon to use with other children in early intervention.
Caring for Liam is a round-the-clock job. In addition to therapy from multiple specialists, Liam initially had to be fed through a gastrointestinal tube and now eats from a syringe. Ryan had to leave his job because he was providing all of his son’s in-home support services. “If you have no help it’s really hard, but I have to do it.”
In fall 2022, Ryan decided to move closer to his parents. They are happy to help with Liam while Ryan earns a real estate license, which will give him a flexible work schedule.
Now age 3, Liam can pick out a toy of a specific color, find his shoes and put them away, and identify pictures in a book. He can follow objects with his eyes, both near and at a distance. Liam is beginning to associate words with physical items. The fun, curious little boy is even learning to swim! “He is starting to catch up developmentally,” says Ryan.
Ryan stays in touch with Amanda, sending pictures and updates about Liam’s progress. Ryan’s ongoing dedication to his son’s development is an inspiration to all who know them. Ryan stepped up for Liam in the most amazing way!
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November 22, 2022