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    Laying the Foundation for a Carefree Childhood

    Stories ON Feb 11, 2011

    On her first day of kindergarten at Nazareth Hall, Abbie Riggins explained to her classmates in her own words that she was legally blind.Photo of Abbie Riggins

    With that out of the way, she spent the year concentrating on things that are important to a kindergartner: making three best friends, playing games, and of course recess and pizza day.

    Legally blind since birth, due to glaucoma, Abbie has no vision in one eye and a small amount of usable vision in the other. Abbie’s parents Jannette and Elgin Riggins turned to ABVI when Abbie was two looking for services for children who are blind. At the agency she received a comprehensive low vision evaluation and rehabilitation services. Our doctors prescribed special eyeglasses and magnifiers to maximize her usable vision. Through mobility training she learned to safely navigate in her home environment.

    As she got older, Abbie joined in more groups and activities at ABVI. She participated in ABVI’s Getting Out (GO!) program, which was funded by the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. During the GO! Program, she took two sessions of gymnastics. Abbie loves music, books and movies. She borrows audio books and audio described movies from the ABVI library.

    One of Abbie’s favorite sessions at ABVI was Computer Camp for Kids. She learned how to access a computer using Zoom Text with Speech, a software program that magnifies and reads the computer screen for her. Now she is able to play skill building computer games on her computer. Abbie and her parents were thrilled, thanks to generous donors, at the end of camp she was able to bring her computer home, fully equipped with the accessible software she needs.

    Abbie’s Mom and Dad have also looked to ABVI for support. They attend parent support group meetings at ABVI, which are associated with the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI). Abbie’s mother, Jannette gets emotional when she talks about the agency, “I don’t even want to think about what her life would be like without ABVI.”

    The independence Abbie has gained with the help of ABVI has empowered her to pursue activities in the community. She is in the school choir and is a Webster flag football cheerleader.

    Abbie is looking forward to this summer when she will attend Summer Sizzle, a week long day camp at ABVI Goodwill where she will meet other children with visual impairments, and have a lot of fun. She is excited for her second summer of cheering. Go Abbie!



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