Avelyn (Avy) lives in Southern Indiana, spending her days outside with her siblings along with her animals–a cat, a dog, and eight chickens. She is a bubbly, playful, animal-loving almost-three-year-old who currently receives services from VIPS due to her Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), Anisometropia, and hypermetropia. Avy loves wearing her purple glasses as she works on skills to help compensate for the vision loss in her left and lower fields of vision. She works hard to keep up with her fast-paced siblings and her friends when running, swinging, or playing with a ball. While it often leads to bumps and bruises due to her depth perception, she doesn’t let it stop her from enjoying playtime!
Avy’s mother, Kara, explains how the services they receive through VIPS have helped their family learn to accommodate for Avy to make her more independent as she learns to navigate her environment. Avy and her family work with VIPS teacher, Ms. Pam, to ensure Avy is set up for success. Kara shares that Ms. Pam has shown the family many great resources including how to use an angled board to help with Avy’s field of vision, how to use contrasting colors for backgrounds, and how to guide Avelyn in public areas. Kara says, “We have been able to understand how Avelyn sees the world with the help of VIPS. I look for opportunities in daily activities for her to practice using all of her vision and focus on the tough areas through play. We practice in various public places for her to learn her depth perception and how to navigate without contrasting colors available.”
The family treasures the vision services they receive and the knowledge they have gained as it can be difficult to find early intervention services especially when living in a rural area. Kara said that it took their family almost a year, several doctors, and specialists to finally get an idea of what Avy’s visual challenges were and why she struggled with her vision as an infant. Through this journey, Kara hopes other parents going through something similar understand that advocacy is one of the most important things you can do for your child. Finding resources, utilizing what is available in your community, and asking for help when it’s uncomfortable will make a difference in a child’s overall development. Kara explains, “I have learned that the answer will always be “no” unless I ask, regardless of how uncomfortable and guilty I may feel.”
Avy has made such an impact on her family with her determination and independence. While she struggles to reciprocate verbal communication, she knows her family—including her VIPS family—is in her corner, fighting for her every step of the way. We are so grateful to have had a small role in Avelyn’s journey!