At just eight weeks old, Kai Loomes’ diagnosis of rare brain condition left his family “completely shocked.”
Now 15, Kai lives septo-optic dysplasia, a condition where the optic nerve and areas of the brain are underdeveloped, and as a result is completely blind.
“We noticed his eyes were wandering and took him to the specialist when he was around eight weeks old. We were completely shocked when he was diagnosed, Kelly, Kai’s mother, said.
After diagnosis, the Loomes went about looking for support for Kai and contacted Vision Australia.
“We were given information about a number of different organisations that could help us. Vision Australia was one of them and they came to our house when Kai was about three months old and have been working with us since then,” Kelly said.
Currently a Vision Australia physiotherapist is supporting Kai during school swimming lessons through Queensland’s Specialist Disability Support in Schools program, while a Vision Australia occupational therapist has been helping Kai at home.
“Kai loves swimming and having the Vision Australia physiotherapist come into the school lessons means he gets to take part along with everyone else at school, which is amazing.
“Bethany, our occupational therapist has been working with us to help Kai be able to pour his own drinks or make a snack at home. It’s something that’s really made a difference and helped him be more independent.”
Along with supporting Kai with important skills to help him in day-to-day life, Vision Australia’s involvement has also helped him enjoy the sorts of things all children enjoy.
“Through the NDIS and Vision Australia we also got a tandem bike for Kai. Our Vision Australia physio did all assessments and reports for that and really made it possible for us to get the bike,” Kelly said.
“That’s been so amazing, it means we can go out and ride as a family. Kai loves it and we all enjoy it, before Vision Australia helped us it was something that we thought we might never be able to do.”
Recently, Kai has been accessing Vision Australia services through his National Disability Insurance (NDIS) scheme.
“We’ve been really happy with the NDIS experience. It’s given us the opportunity to access so many more services than we could otherwise. The occupational therapy and things like that have been through the NDIS and it’s opened up so many opportunities.
"We're planning on getting some speech therapy soon through Vision Australia and the NDIS, that will help him develop his communication skills by better understanding verbal cues."
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