Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Eyes Have It

Tuesday found us back at in the Ophthalmologist's office. We go every six months, so this isn’t earth-shattering, but this time I got a bit of news.

After years of having no idea what sort of vision Charlie has, we seem to have reached a definitive diagnosis.

Officially, Charlie has optic nerve atrophy.

It’s a vague diagnosis that could mean many things. What it means definitely, is that there are areas of Charlie’s brain that have been damaged and as a result don’t process visual images.

What that means for Charlie is less certain. His eyes have become more and more functional and he uses them together more and more. He is able to find the sweet spot when he wants to forward a song on my iPhone and he’s getting a lot better at eye contact. We don’t know if he’s got overall blurry vision or if he’s got normal vision in some places and lesser vision in other places. I’m thinking it’s the latter, but either way, his doctor feels confident that it’s functional.body-part-blog-2

I should be relieved, but I’m left wondering again.

You see, I had really decided that all this vision stuff was just mumbo jumbo. Every third kid with cerebral palsy has some type of vision diagnosis and they’re all made with what appears to be little or no proof. I mean, how do they separate the physical disability from inability? Different kids will have similar symptoms and have wildly different diagnoses.

But here I am now, with a clear answer that makes sense to me. He’s not blind, he doesn’t have a voodoo diagnosis—I have something to work with. Now, I need to start making some accommodations that might make vision easier for Charlie.

I need to test large print books.

I need make sure I’m giving him high contrast learning materials.

I need to accept that my child’s vision is damaged and start helping him use what he has.

Time to get moving. 

body part blog

Pictures from our unit on faces. Also, looking at the camera, eyes perfectly aligned—wasn’t sure I’d ever see the day.