One morning, during Peyton’s third week of kindergarten, she turned to us and asked “is there anything wrong with my eyes?” Some of the older children at school had been teasing her, saying they don’t like her eyes and that they gross her out. As the tears began to flow, she looked at us and asked “am I really blind in one eye?”
Our daughter Peyton was born with a rare genetic syndrome that causes under-development of the optic nerve and involuntary side-to-side eye movement. She’s considered legally blind and has little to no vision in her left eye.
We first learned of Peyton’s condition shortly after she was born. We went from having normal questions, such as what would she be when she grows up, to worrying about her near future. How much could Peyton see? Will she be able to read and write, to walk properly like other children? Would she be able to live a normal life? And most importantly, what was the next step?
Thankfully, this is where the MAB-Mackay Centre came into our lives.
Many of the milestones that come naturally to other children seemed out of reach for Peyton. With the help and dedication of her therapists at the MAB-Mackay, she’s overcome what seemed at the time like insurmountable challenges, such as picking up food with a fork and putting it in her mouth, or hopping on one foot.
Despite her difficulties with depth perception, she’s learned to safely go up and down stairs. As her parents, it’s amazing to see her run around, play, ride a bike, and dance like other children her age.
Another area of difficulty Peyton has struggled with is reading and writing. With the visual aids recommended by the MAB-Mackay and the support she received, she’s able to keep up with her classmates in these important skills. We often find her absorbed in a book or writing stories and poems in her free time.
Most importantly, though, Peyton’s perseverance and triumphs have taught her self-confidence. Despite unkind treatment she often receives from other children, Peyton knows her worth and refuses to let hurtful behavior bring her down. In her words, “God made me this way because I’m special. Maybe God wants me to help other kids who are special too.”
Peyton recently turned 8 years old, and has already given a lot of thought to her future. She wants to be a spy, as she loves solving mysteries and is always up for a challenge.
Peyton’s journey is not over. She will continue to face challenges as she grows up, but it is reassuring to that the MAB-Mackay will continue to be there for her. She’s in Grade 3 this year, and one of the goals Peyton set for herself is learning to read and write cursive, like the rest of her classmates can.
Bethany, Peyton’s proud mom