Meet Akiva

Akiva smiles for the camera while wearing a sun hat and a matching bathing suit.

Congratulations are in order for Akiva – he just graduated from our Early Intervention services program!

Akiva began his time with Cleveland Sight Center Early Intervention services when he was 4 months old because his mom, Kory, was concerned he wasn’t tracking objects with his eyes or smiling.

“My concerns were heard and validated, which is huge when you're a new parent and don't really know what you're doing and what's normal.” Kory said. “It's been a really wonderful resource.”

A photo of Akiva getting tummy time in a play tunnel.

His Early Intervention Specialist, Deb, gave Akiva’s parents strategies to help him utilize his vision. These strategies included using a dark background, light up toys and introducing different textures. Akiva responded to the strategies and began to track objects.

“I definitely think the intervention Akiva received is going to change his life,” said Kory. “I don't know what would have happened if we hadn't gotten Cleveland Sight Center services, and now I don't have to.”

In addition to the strategies Deb showed the family, she was also a resource for Kory when Akiva received other interventions. She attended Akiva’s occupational and physical therapy appointments to ensure all the specialists integrated their methods and were on the same page with his care.

“I can't say enough wonderful things about Deb,” Kory gushed. “She is just so knowledgeable and smart and funny and tactful. She just kind of holds your hand through the whole process. You can definitely feel lonely going through this. She just makes you feel like ‘I've got you.’”

Another way Deb supported the family was by inviting them to a monthly playgroup where parents can connect and CSC’s youngest clients can play with each other. It was at one of these playgroups that Kory saw Akiva play for the first time.

Baby Akiva lays on his back and looks up at the toys dangling in the little room.

“I had never seen him really interact with his environment,” Kory recalls. “My husband was there too, and we just looked at each other and started tearing up because we had never seen him really play with toys or interact with his environment.”

The toy he played with is called a "little room." The cube-like structure allows children to touch items, move and explore in a safe and confined space. When in a little room, a baby lies pn their back so they can look up and interact with the toys dangling near them. That little room helped Akiva respond to stimuli and be aware of his surroundings for the first time. Akiva’s family took a little room home with them, and used it to make his environment accessible in a way it wasn’t before. Now, Akiva likes to play with the light up toys Deb brought on her visits.

Today, Akiva is approaching his first birthday and thriving! Kory’s ready to be his biggest advocate and knows she can reach out to Deb again if she has any questions. Kory will use the strategies and tools she learned to make sure Akiva meets his developmental milestones.

“I think, as a parent, you want your child to have limitless options and opportunities,” Kory said. “I feel with the services and interventions Cleveland Sight Center has provided, no door is closed to Akiva and he’s now able to fully engage with the world.”