When our son Sam was born prematurely, his tiny body weighed only one pound, 12 ounces. He had a host of medical issues and he spent the first six months of his life in the hospital.
Today, Sam is 5 years old and visually impaired and growing and changing rapidly thanks to the Early Childhood Center at The Maryland School for the Blind (MSB). Three years ago we enrolled him and since then he has hit milestones we never imagined possible. When my husband and I first visited MSB, we felt right away that it was a good fit for our son. Sam requires physical and occupational therapy; he uses a feeding tube and a wheelchair. At MSB his needs could be met right there in the classroom integrated as a part of his learning. Self-care and self-advocacy is a very important part of a non-verbal, intellectually-disabled child like Sam’s ability to grow and thrive.
The Maryland School for the Blind is helping Sam achieve a level of independence we thought impossible. In the pictures on this page you can see how has changed, become more social, and more engaged with the world around him.
Your support makes it possible for Sam to attend this program free of charge.
Sam has started to recognize people’s faces and voices and interact with his classmates who do not have disabilities. The typical peer program at MSB’s Early Learning Center is made up of a one-to-one ratio of blind and visually impaired students and sighted students, called typical peers, it encourages inclusiveness. Sam has made friends and has been invited to their birthday parties. They compete to help push his wheelchair, and it’s great to see them all interact.
MSB gives their students so many opportunities to actively participate. I was surprised last year when I visited for Parents’ Day, to see my son walking around kicking a ball with his classmates. The staff had put him in his gait trainer, an assistive walking device, and let him go. At home we only use it to practice walking, and it never occurred to me that he could use it like this, for play!
Make a Gift to MSB today to ensure that Maryland’s children – especially those with impaired vision and other disabilities – get the best start in life. You can be assured that your donations are being put to the very best use for students who are blind or visually impaired including kids like Sam who have additional challenges.
-Sam’s Mom, Dawn Edwards