FEMALE NARRATOR: A title: Movement. Infancy - Gaining Strength.
DEE: When he was an infant his head was too big to sit up and hold up and his only way of learning to move was initially just rocking his head so we had to have a special seat and special support for him to be able to participate in any activity and when he finally started gaining some physical control he could roll around but that was the maximum of his independent mobility skills until he was nearly three and a half, almost four.
NARRATOR: While Dee spoke a photo showed a young Jake sitting in a crib holding onto the bars. Title: Early Childhood - Movement Makes Visual Learning Possible. A photo shows Jake as a toddler sitting and dressed in bright clothing.
DEE: But when he was two and a half we had an evaluation done by a specialized grant that looked at different technologies and that grant allowed him to get a mobile prone stander that supported him and I have to say the year that that happened he learned, you could just see the problem solving happening and the learning happening because even though we was able to hold his head up he couldn't really stand up or move independently any other way. So with all the supports that gave him he was able to reach wheels like on a wheelchair but he was in a standing position and that movement allowed him literally to learn visually because of the cortical vision impairment, movement actually helped him see more in the environment, and take in more information, and as he moved in that mobile prone stander and he would get stuck we didn't just fix the stander for him. He would run into corners of chairs, and we was even at a height we had to watch him when he was near the kitchen table because he'd bonk his head on the table. So we always made sure all the chairs were kinda buffering around that, but anyway he would get stuck on corners of things or chair legs and we'd be like, "Oh Jake, look." We would tactically and auditorally queue him to that wheel is stuck on something. It isn't just like randomly stopping and he would learn to eventually gaze towards that direction and fix it and go around that item. And sometimes that took several minutes but we just allowed him to have that time to do that and we had to teach the staff at school. Allow him the time to do that because it was problem solving. He was learning how to solve a problem at the age of two and a half and three. And then as he got a little bit older and had more trunk control and got into a gate trainer where he learned to walk. He was able to just apply that skill of 'my walker got stuck, I gotta back it up and turn it and move it so I can keep moving in this environment' and that allowed him to start seeing and exploring things beyond his little body and beyond his little world, and he would light up when he would find things that he didn't know were there until he got to that area. It was really an exciting time to see him continually, like daily learn how to move and grow and visually exploring more and more and more all the time.
NARRATOR: While Dee spoke three photos of a young Jake showed him next to a baby in a swing, in a toy car and at a pumpkin patch. Soon, a photo shows a school-aged Jake standing on a small chair. Title: School-Age - Jake's World Expands.
DEE: Then as he got older with a walker and he could walk with just a regular walker places he continued to walk with that walker even though he didn't need it for stability anymore because he used it like people with vision impairment use their cane to see that lower field so they don't trip and fall. He used that walker for years and years and years beyond what he needed. And then the PT wanted to take that away and then suddenly he didn't want to walk through his world anymore unless he had someones hand and then he would walk with them. Later on we finally had an orientation and mobility specialist to say 'yes, he needs a cane and here's what we are going to do' but that was several years down the road. But, like one of the first times, he'd had the cane a week. but he'd always whenever we went places he'd stay stuck to me like glue, we are at a brand new doctors office, never been there before, he took off on me and I'm like freaking out because where is he going? I don't know where he's going, he doesn't know where he's going, but he wants to go see it. So that was exciting and a little scary at the same time but it was wonderful to see him gain that independence because he felt safe enough to leave me and go somewhere on his own and explore his world.
NARRATOR: A photo shows Jake outside with his dad holding his white cane.