(ABC4 News – Sandy, Utah) Xaverius (rhymes with Aquarius) Nelson is an active 2-year-old boy that loves to play. He giggles as we toss a big red ball back and forth. He likes to play with a toy bus and his favorite song is “the wheels on the bus”, especially the part with ‘the wipers on the bus.’ And, of course, he loves dinosaurs.
Xavarius has a special teacher, Darci Crossley from the Parent/Infant Program with the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind, that makes house calls. She cheers on Xavarius as he uses the ball as a tool to help guide walking; “Go get it, Go get it. I love it as you watching as you are walking. Yeah, you are looking where you are going buddy.”
She said; “When he was little, we worried most about motor, so learning to sit up, roll over, crawl, walk. He was a little bit of a late walker, but he has sure made up for it now. He walks and climbs, kicks and throws. “
Xaverius and his Dad, Justin, both have aniridia, an eye condition that literally means “without irises.” Justin told me; “I see what you do, I just don’t have the distance. My depth perception is pretty much non-existent for the most part. You adapt for that part. Everything is a lot blurrier basically.”
I was amazed that this special program includes house calls and is free to families.
In speaking with Xaverius’s Mom, Katie, I asked her ‘what do you want people that are watching this story to be able to know or takeaway?” She replied; “That there are places like the school for the deaf and blind. There are early interventions. There are other opportunities within our community to be helped and buoyed up and supported so we can have the family life that we want.”
Darci has a challenging, but important job. She figures she has helped over 500 kids in her career. Why does she do what she does? She replied; “I love the change that it brings into families lives. Connecting with their children. Learning that it’s okay to have a visual impairment. Life can be amazing and wonderful. That’s why I do my job.”
We ended our visit singing together “the wheels on the bus go around and round all around the town.”
These stories deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.
You can reach the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind at: www.USDB.org