It is an almost impossible beginning. A little boy is born with an inconceivably rare chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 7p. As a result he faced open-heart surgery at only five months old.
He doesn’t walk or learn or process new things like other children. He has a daunting visual impairment and a chronic condition that doesn’t let him sleep deeply. For the first two years of his life Tom knew only infections and illness. Then came the year his family found ChildVision, Ireland’s only National Education Centre for Blind Children.
One of the things your support of ChildVision makes possible is a bus that picks up kids like Tom who live within a 60 mile radius of our campus, who mightn’t attend school without this special transportation.
“He was all smiles,” Tom’s mum Catherine remembers. “When the bus dropped him home he was exhausted – he slept for three hours!” With Tom’s physical challenges, mum Catherine also takes great comfort in the three full-time donor-funded nurses who are on staff to care for Tom when he needs it.
As Tom began each year at ChildVision, his mum looked forward to reading the notebook of daily achievements that were recorded by ChildVision staff for each student. “It listed all his motor skills, vision work, table top activities, computer work and time in his walker. It might say, ‘Tom enjoyed his walk today and we met lots of people along the way.’ He even had play dates with his pal Sam from preschool. That was the highlight of my day, reading his notebook.”
The future isn’t certain for Tom. But already “there’s a massive difference in his little personality,” says mum Catherine. “His immune system is stronger and he’s just so much more alert and happy. ChildVision is like a protective haven, giving Tom the best chance of education and with the best supports in place. I can’t wait to see what he is going to achieve in speech and language, occupational therapy, horse riding and physiotherapy.”
“ChildVision is like a protective haven, giving Tom the best chance of education and with the best supports in place.”