Meet James

James puts his hands on his cheeks as he looks at the camera

James is a 2-year-old boy who, like many children, loves music and exploring.

Kelsey and Michael, James’ parents, noticed James wasn’t making eye contact with them around 4 months old. As new parents, they were unsure of the timeline for these milestones, and turned to an eye doctor for answers. The ophthalmologist recommended CSC, and our Early Intervention Department has been by the family’s side ever since.

James gives a big smile to the cameraAs new parents and members of the blind and visually impaired community, Kelsey and Michael had no idea what to expect, and were hoping for information and guidance on how to raise James to be independent.

“In the beginning, we were worried. And then, working with Barb, we gained confidence in raising him and realized he can do so much," said Kelsey.

Barb, CSC’s Early Intervention Specialist, showed Kelsey and Michael how to adapt and focus on what he can do, instead of what he can’t.

“It's just very life changing to have help and encouragement and be given next steps.” Michael said. “It gave us a brighter outlook on everything.”

Not only is Barb an Early Intervention Specialist, she is also a certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI). This means that she can provide tips and tricks to prepare children on her caseload to read braille. Kelsey expressed interest in learning braille so she can help teach James in the future, and Barb is helping her do just that! James is only 2 years old and he already loves braille! 

The first time I read a braille book with James, I grabbed his hand and rubbed it on the braille as I was reading,” Kelsey recalls. “As I did it, he was cracking up! I don't know if it was tickling his fingers or what but he absolutely loved it! Ever since, he always says, "Read mama? Read dada?’”

In addition to pre-braille learning tips, CSC’s Early Intervention team has certified orientation and mobility specialists (COMS) that can help CSC’s youngest clients learn to use a white cane.

James holds out his white cane as he walks onto a paved trail.

Deb, a COMS and Early Intervention Specialist at CSC, provided an orientation and mobility lesson to Kelsey and Michael, where they learned how the white cane works. James took to it quickly and is proof that with the right resources, a blind or visually impaired child can do anything!

We had good expectations for what was possible for James beforehand, but Barb’s help exceeded that,” Michael said. “Barb will say how amazing he is, and I don't think he would be as amazing without her help and her guidance. She taught us how to teach him.

James’s family is grateful for Barb and all of Cleveland Sight Center staff members, whose support reminds them they aren’t alone.

Barb is amazing, and we wouldn't be where we are today without her,” Michael said.