Ensures that children, youth and adults facing challenges always have a place to turn. We serve individuals with visual impairment and additional disabilities, as well as at-risk youth in the child welfare system with medical and mental health challenges.
Web Site www.wayfinderfamily.org
Gina eagerly awaited the arrival of her first foster child. After having two biological children, she and her partner were ready to adopt. “She was supposed to be a perfectly healthy 3-month old,” Gina remembers. “But when she arrived, she was only 6 weeks old.”
Kennedy slept nearly all day. “She didn’t cry for eight months,” Gina says. “When her eyes were open, she stared into a corner.” The little girl had been exposed to methamphetamines in the womb - she was legally blind and her development was severely delayed.
When Kennedy was 4 months old, Bertha Preciado started making home visits. Bertha is one of Wayfinder’s specialists who provide early intervention to children with vision loss or multiple disabilities. Bertha brought an iPad to work with Kennedy on following a slow-moving, glowing red bunny with her eyes.
“When I first met her, Kennedy was nonresponsive to stimulation,” says Bertha. “If she wasn’t being touched, she was unaware of her surroundings.” To give Kennedy more sensory input, Bertha introduced sand and water. Kennedy loved it.
“It’s amazing how plastic babies’ brains are,” Gina says. “The improvement happened over months, but it was quick. She started seeing.” When Kennedy was 1 year old, “Bertha was using the same bunny, but it was bouncing all over the iPad, and Kennedy was following it,” says Gina.
With Bertha, Kennedy’s vision continued to improve, and she made rapid developmental progress. Now 3-and-a-half, Kennedy is in a typical preschool and does not need special education services.
“Early intervention was totally life-changing for Kennedy,” Gina says. “I didn’t know what to do for her. Thank you to Wayfinder from the bottom of my heart.”