Our Stories

A Journey of Hope: Mickayla’s Story

10 June 2024

Mickayla playing on a playground on a sunny day.

A Mother’s Intuition

When Rebecca brought her newborn daughter Mickayla home, she noticed something unusual about her eyes. At first, the family thought it was a harmless lazy eye, a condition familiar in their family. However, by the time Mickayla was four months old, Rebecca’s intuition told her something more serious was wrong. A visit to the doctor led to an eye specialist, and the devastating diagnosis followed: Mickayla had Septo-Optic Dysplasia Plus, causing blindness due to underdeveloped optic nerves and other brain abnormalities.

Finding Support

Rebecca recalls the heartbreak and confusion of receiving such life-altering news, with the diagnosis hastily scribbled on the back of an appointment slip. She was left to grapple with this information on her own, finding solace in late-night internet searches and social media groups for parents of children with similar conditions.

Reaching Out to Blind Low Vision NZ

Amidst this turmoil, Rebecca reached out to Blind Low Vision NZ. This marked the beginning of a journey that transformed their lives. Specialists from Blind Low Vision NZ, like Barbette and Mick, provided Rebecca with the guidance and support she desperately needed. They visited Rebecca’s home, introduced her to adaptive tools and services, and coordinated with various professionals to ensure Mickayla received comprehensive care.

“Mick’s always been at meetings, he’s been at physios, he’s come up with us to do a national assessment with the medical side along with the blind school,” says Rebecca. “So he’s been involved quite heavily right through Mickayla’s journey.”

Transformative Tools and Support

Thanks to the generosity of donors, Blind Low Vision NZ could provide Mickayla with essential mobility aids, orientation devices, and adaptive technologies. These tools helped Mickayla stimulate her other senses, improving her overall learning and development.

“Mickayla loves music, and you can get some really cool sensory drums now where the feedback from hitting the drum is much more powerful than a normal drum,” Rebecca shares. “There are all these tools out there now that you can get that just exhilarates and heightens her senses.”

Remarkable Progress

With these resources, Mickayla has made remarkable progress. She has started using her first white cane, made her first contact with braille, and is preparing for kindergarten. Recently, Mickayla has shown signs of vision in her right eye, a profound change for a child once thought to be completely blind.

“From a baby who didn’t interact visually to one that can now mimic her mum’s head nodding, this change is profound,” Rebecca says.

A Bright Future Ahead

This transformation wouldn’t have been possible without the support from donors like you. Your contributions help Blind Low Vision NZ provide critical early interventions, family education, and the adaptive technologies that children like Mickayla need to thrive.

As Rebecca looks to the future, she sees a bright path ahead for Mickayla, filled with opportunities and achievements. “I can just see Mickayla going miles in her future,” she says, filled with hope.

How You Can Help

Your support ensures that children who are blind, deafblind, or have low vision can access the tools and services they need to lead fulfilling lives. By donating to Blind Low Vision NZ, you help children like Mickayla reach their full potential, breaking down barriers and creating a world where they can thrive.

Please consider making a gift today to support the incredible work of Blind Low Vision NZ. Your generosity can change lives and help children like Mickayla continue to achieve their dreams.

Donate Now and be a part of their journey towards a brighter future.


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