About Our Son
Anthony came into the world as a very healthy, normal sized child. At about 3 months of age we noticed he wouldn’t acknowledge either of us when we’d look down at him. Anthony would only react to us if we spoke or touched him. We also noticed Anthony displayed nystagmus (an involuntary jerking of the eyes). We took Anthony to an optometrist for an eye exam. The optometrist performed an eye exam and suggested we get him glasses. After we had glasses made for him, we noticed some improvement with the nystagmus but he still wasn’t able to focus or follow any objects. An appointment was made with a local ophthalmologist in town. The Dr. referred us to a specialist at UCLA and suggested he get an MRI. The MRI came back clear and the neurologist suspected LCA. Three weeks later we made the trip to UCLA to see the specialist and had an EEG done. A few weeks later LCA was the diagnosis. It was very tough to hear the news and we were both devastated by the diagnosis. Neither of us had ever known anybody who was blind nor had any idea how to raise a child that was. We had and continue to have great support from family and friends and we decided that we would raise him the same as our two sighted children. We didn’t have a manual or instruction book on how to raise our two girls so why would he be any different. We began to do as much research about LCA as we could. Anthony had DNA testing done at Carver Lab, the University of Colorado Denver and a lab in Oregon. We were happy to find out his mutated gene in June 2013.
Early on we noticed Anthony was no different than his two older sisters. He was crawling all over the house and getting into everything. The child locks that were still on all of our cabinets for our girls did no good. Anthony was quick to learn how to manipulate the child locks and could open any door that he wanted to. Once he began to walk we knew that we were in real trouble. The deadbolts on our doors were no match for Anthony and soon he was helping himself out any door that he wanted to. Needless to say dad was busy installing locks at the tops of all the exterior doors to the house to keep this busy boy confined to the inside of the house. Anthony was a “learning machine” from day one. Anything he did involved learning something. At 1 ½ years of age he taught himself the entire alphabet by feel with a set of audio Leap Frog letters. Karrie called me into his room one day and told me to watch him do the alphabet. We both had no idea that he was doing any of this. We sat on his bed while he pulled each magnetic letter from his wall and not only told us what each letter was but told us the sound of each letter. We were both amazed by what he had done but speaking for myself I was a bit sad by this. When the girls were young we had a big role in helping them learn new things and felt a sense of accomplishment in their success. Anthony had not only taken this on by himself but had mastered it without any help from either of us. It was then that any feelings we may have had about how he would learn or accomplish things in life as a blind child, were thrown right out the door. This was one of the proudest days of my life and the day my 1 ½ year old son became my hero and inspiration. Anthony was soon out in the backyard swinging on the kids’ swing set and climbing up into their playhouse. He would get his share of bumps and bruises along the way but his two sisters kept a watchful eye on him at all times. As time went by Anthony was never one to sit on the side lines. If his sisters were doing something, he wanted to be right there with them. The swimming pool became a second home for him during the hot summers along with climbing trees in our backyard. A bike (with training wheels) was soon to follow at Christmas and not long after, Anthony was racing up and down the sidewalk.
Anthony was 5 ½ months old when we started to have many people in the education field in and out of our home. At 14 ½ months Anthony started going to “school” twice a week and continued at that school until he was 3 years old. At 3 years old Anthony started private pre-school at our church. Anthony has had amazing teachers/aides/Vision Instructors over the past 13 years. We have been blessed by some amazing educators: George Leckner and Joe Gutcher vision specialists, Kathy Williams, Mr. Vidal and Ms. Dana mobility instructors, teachers Mrs. Nielsen, Mrs. Shaw, Mrs. Krugh, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs, Greybehl,
Mr. Griffin, Mr. Gonzalez, Ms. Serdehely, Mrs. Andrade, principals Mr. Carlile, Mrs. Bianco and Mrs. Kesselring. Anthony is in the 8th grade. His current team of educators: Mrs. Muth, Mr. Cano, Mrs. Cattaneo, Mr. Dean, Mrs. Pierce and Mrs. Richmond (teachers), Mrs. Carrie (Vision Teacher & Mobility Instructor),
Mrs. Frank (aide), Mr. Penton, Mrs. Cross and Mrs. Wozniak. Together they make an amazing team and push him to be the best he can be. We are lucky to have them all.
Anthony has always wanted to be knee deep and involved in any and all sorts of activities. From a young age he's enjoyed learning how to work on anything from antique Mack trucks to nitro burning nostalgia fuel altered drag cars. Through these experiences he's learned all of the hand tools by feel. Anthony has been exposed to organized team sports since the age of 5. He has played everything from soccer, t-ball, basketball and Jiu Jitsu. He enjoys everything he's involved in and makes a lot of new friends along the way. He's spent most of his summer vacations at Pismo Beach (until we moved here) with family and friends and began learning how to surf when he was just 6. He loves the ocean and often spends most of the days at the beach out in the water surfing, paddle boarding and boogie boarding with his family. On any given day you can find Anthony at home building and designing with legos; boats, planes, robot and much more. If you ever want to the know the history and facts of the Titanic just ask him but be ready to sit and listen. There's not a sport or activity he's not willing to try and our family has made a lot of special friendships through the activities he's been involved with.
Tony & Karrie
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16