Wayfinder 2020/21 Annual Report – Unlocking potential

two young siblings laughing on bed

Mayra and Pedro’s twin babies, José and María, were born prematurely at only 27 weeks. In their birth country, the twins received medical treatment that left them blind. Mayra and Pedro wanted so much for their children. But without vision, how could the twins become independent? “I did not have any idea what I was going to do to teach them,” remembers Mayra.

Mayra and Pedro relocated to the United States, where the twins entered Wayfinder’s Early Intervention Program. In the program, children with vision loss or multiple disabilities maximize any residual vision they may have and reach developmental milestones through weekly sessions with our early intervention specialists.

“THANKS TO WAYFINDER, MY CHILDREN ARE LEARNING SO MANY THINGS, AND I AM LEARNING WITH THEM.”
-Mayra, Mother Of Children In Early Intervention

When José and María started early intervention, they were 2 years old—and developmentally behind. They did not walk or speak. They repeated words they heard without understanding the meaning. When Cristina Caro, a Wayfinder vision impairment specialist, met the twins via telehealth during the pandemic, they were crying and acting out. She knew they were frustrated by their inability to communicate.

Cristina recognized quickly that the twins were clever. They made sounds with their voices to determine if an object was in front of them. Cristina started teaching José and María the concepts that other children learn by sight, like right, left, front and back. These basics will help the twins learn to move safely through the world.

To prepare them to read braille, Cristina introduced books with textures and touchable objects. The twins use their very sensitive fingers to match dots by size or follow lines across a page. “I wanted them to be aware that they can see using their fingers,” Cristina explains.

In just six months, José and María have made tremendous progress. “They walk
and they jump,” reports Cristina. They are learning the meaning of phrases instead of just parroting words.

“Now, if you say, ‘you dropped your bowl on your right side,’” Cristina says, “they extend their hand on the right side.” The twins are nearly ready to start using a child-size braille machine.

“Thanks to Wayfinder, my children are learning so many things,” says Mayra, “and I am learning with them.” Mayra is studying to become a braille sight reader, so she can help her children develop reading and writing skills. “I am learning how to teach our children to become independent,” she adds, “and how to advocate for our children.”

 

Read More of the Impact Report

 

December 8, 2021