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Student Spotlight: Meet Waylon

Waylon’s Story
as told by parents Aron and Michelle

Tell us about your child, their diagnosis(es) and your “Anchor Journey”. How did you come to know about and receive Anchor’s Services?

Waylon was born at 36 weeks with a prolapsed cord which caused an HIE brain injury. Waylon spent almost a month in the NICU after birth and then we were sent home without a clue of what to expect or what to do next. Waylon was later diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, CVI, epilepsy and g-tube dependent. Before getting any sort of vision diagnosis our neurologist mentioned Anchor Center to us during a routine visit. At the time we didn’t know we would need Anchor Center but kept the name in the back on our minds. We noticed at around 6 months Waylon was not tracking the way he should and decided to see an optometrist. The optometrist told us Waylon most likely had CVI, and said there was nothing we could do to help him. She told us she’d see us again in a year to re-evaluate him. We were definitely not pleased with this answer and decided to get a second opinion.

We called Anchor Center hoping to get some advice and help in our next steps of this new diagnosis. After speaking to a staff member from Anchor we were immediately relieved by the warm, welcoming and informative response from just the first phone call. Waylon began school with virtual visits (due to COVID), but the knowledge, tools and quick progress we saw in Waylon exceeded our expectations. When we were finally able to attend the Infant/Toddler program in person, we were absolutely in awe of the welcoming and calming the environment. Waylon loved every minute of our time at Anchor and made such good progress…we were hooked.

Describe “what happens” at Anchor Center. What are the changes you see in the children and families?

The first time was walked into Anchor Center it felt like we were with family we didn’t know we had or needed. Each and every family we met along the way were so welcoming and grateful to have found Anchor just as we were. For the first time in my short time of being a special needs mom, I truly felt like I belonged and others really knew what we were going through. Along with bringing families together, they also cater to each induvial child’s needs and goals while fostering social interactions and growth.

What inspires you at Anchor Center? 

To hear the stories and see the progress the students make while at Anchor Center is so inspiring. One inspiring moment that has always stayed in my mind is one day during infant/toddler program. Waylon has always loved music but especially loved listening to Ms. Laura play the guitar and sing. Waylon doesn’t generally reach for objects with both hands at the same time and at this point had never done this. On this day as Ms. Laura got close enough for Waylon to reach, he reached out with both hands and strummed the cords with the biggest smile on his face. This was an amazing moment as a mom and something I will never forget.

What are your hopes and dreams for your child?

We would just love to see Waylon achieve anything and everything he desires. Waylon is growing daily and developing his communications skills and is finally able to voice what he really wants. Technology is truly on our side as Waylon grows, we are so excited to see what he will become and do. For right now, we just hope that Waylon can grow academically and socially as he enters this next phase in schooling.

What does Anchor’s programs/services/education mean to both students and families?

To the students anchor means being able to grow and learn in a safe and understanding environment individualized to each student. Being able to socialize with other kids who are just like them. To the families it means, community, family, knowledge, support and not feeling alone. The sense of community we immediately felt upon entering Anchor has meant the world to me and my family.

Imagine there had not been/there is no Anchor Center? How would you (children and families) be/have been impacted?

If Anchor wasn’t available I think a lot of families would go without important questions answered, useful resources would go unknown, parents and caregivers would lack knowledge on how best to support their child with vision needs. Personally if Anchor wasn’t available I would have felt lost when we were first told Waylon had CVI and that there wasn’t anything we could do to help him. There is no worse feeling then being told there is nothing you can do to help your child. We felt so lost and had no idea what to do. If we didn’t find Anchor I think Waylon’s vision needs would have gone to the way side because we wouldn’t have known you can improve CVI with therapy and hard work.

Why is Anchor important to the community – to our children and families — to you?
Anchor does such an amazing job bringing awareness to vision impairments and blindness and teaching the community how to best serve our child and support their needs.

What would you say to potential donors thinking about supporting Anchor Center? Why is their investment important?

If you are questioning weather or not to make a donation to Anchor Center please know that Anchor center is an amazing one of kind organization that is actively helping children achieve goals who were told they would never be able to. Your donation is being used to support families, children and amazing teachers and therapists.

I just want to thank Anchor Center and each and every person that has made an impact in Waylon’s life the past 5 years. Thank you to all the people that have given us the tools and knowledge of how to best support Waylon in his daily life and how to advocate for his vision needs. I truly don’t know what Waylon’s life would like if we hadn’t found Anchor and we are forever grateful.