By: Lindsay Hammer
Zoe is an amazing little girl who has captured the hearts of family and friends. She was born March 15, 2011 at 37 weeks gestation after an extremely stressful pregnancy. Immediately after birth she was suffering from acute respiratory distress and was transported to the NICU at St. Francis. It was there that the doctors also noticed some genetic anomalies and ran a standard chromosome test, but everything came back negative. After spending 10 days in the NICU, she was released to come home. Over the next couple of months we began to notice that she wasn’t meeting milestones. She wouldn’t look us in the face or smile but rather look at bright, shiny objects or windows. Zoe also wasn’t responding to voices or noises. We made an appointment with Sooner Start and from there she was evaluated and started physical and speech therapy. They also sent us to have her hearing checked, which led us to find out she has mild to moderate hearing loss in both ears.
Over the next year, she was very slow to meet milestones and develop socially like a typically developing child would. We eventually learned of a doctor, a neuro-opthamologist, in Oklahoma City who would be able to help us with diagnosing Zoe. After a full examination and MRI, he diagnosed her with Cortical Visual Impairment. He also performed three eye surgeries over the period of a year and corrected her eye alignment. With the diagnosis of Cortical Visual Impairment, or CVI, Zoe has trouble processing what she is seeing. The physical structure of her eyes are fine, however it’s the way her brain processes what is being seen that is the issue. Over the past year with the surgeries to correct the eye alignment, she has been making more and more progress with every aspect of her life. She has begun to stand, walk with her walker, play more intently and purposefully with her toys and just enjoy life and take in all of her surroundings.
Zoe is a very happy and independent child most of the time. She is 2 years old, so of course she has her moments! Some of her favorite activities involve the outdoors. She loves to swing, go on walks in her wagon and go swimming. The moment we go outside, her whole face lights up and she gives us a huge smile. Zoe also loves it when anyone sings to her. She will stop what she is doing and listen intently until you are done singing. It calms her down anytime she is upset.
We are extremely excited that Zoe was able to start attending the Little Light House this year. We have heard amazing things about it and we are ready to see what kind of progress Zoe will make and how she will learn and grow. One of her major hurdles at the moment is communication and social interaction. We know that she wants to communicate with us she just doesn’t know how. One of the main goals for her over the next year is for her to be able to better communicate with everyone around her, and we know she has a lot to say and we can’t wait to hear it! This is what we do in Tulsa. Eagle HotShot>