Overcoming our first school challenge

Paisley’s Big School Adventure. It sounds fantastic.

A combination of sheer terror and excitement all rolled into one. And, for the last couple of months everything to do with school has been smooth sailing. Paisley has made friends and learnt how to spell and read. So, it's safe to say that she has adjusted well into her new ‘big girl’ lifestyle.

Then, the ever-looming penny dropped.

It started with not wanting to read with me after school and not getting all of her sight words correct. As a Mum, I just assumed Paisley wasn't paying attention and needed less iPad time and more homework time. But, as the weeks went on, her attention span became shorter and her patience wore very thin for anything school related. One walk home from school, I decided to ask Paisley why she didn't like doing her homework anymore. She replied, “Because I can't see the words Mum”.

I was speechless. I had been so caught up in everything Paisley was achieving that I forgot, just for a moment, that she has an eye condition. An eye condition that she will always have and may one day unavoidably pass onto her children. Instinctively, I went into panic mode. What could I do at home to minimise the strain on her eyes? All while still trying to make homework fun and not have Paisley fall behind in class.

I decided to go back to the basics starting with enlarging fonts and downloading audio tapes for the library books she was bringing home. Listening and reading her books worked a treat and by enlarging the font and allowing Paisley to write out her sight words, instead of simply remembering the words through quick recollection, she slowly but surely started getting her confidence back.

Also, her eyes had begun to become quite red and irritated by the end of the day so I made sure that her eye drops are administered regularly. Her eyes don't self-lubricate due to aniridia and the dryness scars her eyes, which in the long run, can cause a lot of damage.

At the end of the day, I think as parents we tend to get caught up in everything else that we sometimes expect our children to keep performing at a certain level. Forgetting that the stress of school can be overwhelming for our little people, which is why it is important to stay on our toes and advocate for our children when they can't.  

I guess this little hiccup was a wake-up call reminding me that I cannot be complacent with Paisley’s eye condition.

It hasn't been all doom and gloom though. Paisley has made the sweetest little friend at school. Or should I say BFF? That's apparently what all the cool kids say. Sienna, pictured below with Paisley, is a 'pocket rocket', full of life and energy which was just what Paisley needed when she was feeling down.

Paisley and Sienna, two young girls are casually dressed and stand next to each other.