Riley’s Story | Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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Riley’s Story

Riley playing in the playground

Having a baby comes with its own unique challenges, but what if you discover your 12-week-old child has a vision impairment?

That was the situation facing Amanda, who lives in regional NSW. Her son Riley, now aged two, was born with glaucoma, a condition that causes increased pressure in the eyes. Unsure of what her baby son could and couldn’t see, Amanda sought assistance from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. Kristen, an Orientation and Mobility Instructor from our Central West region started working with Riley, encouraging him to develop his motor skills by reaching for objects and crawling around.

Riley playing in the playground, being guided on a swinging rope bridge

To help Riley safely negotiate steps and other hazards, Kristen introduced the outdoors-loving toddler to a ‘pre-cane’ that he could push along the ground to identify and avoid obstacles.

Happily for Amanda, further tests revealed that Riley’s vision impairment was not as severe as originally thought.

While he doesn’t need a cane now, Amanda knows that if Riley’s vision changes, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will be there to build on the services he has already received.

For children with impaired vision, confident, purposeful movement is essential to help them reach their full potential. The Guide Dogs NSW/ACT children’s programs focus on equipping kids with the same skills as their sighted peers.