giovanni-thumb  At the Lighthouse of Pinellas, we see things differently. Suppose your 14 month old son struggled with multiple vision-related impairments. Where would you go? What would you do? Who could help you?

When Giovanni was just one year old, his parents learned he had Nystagmus (a condition of involuntary eye movement). They needed help and support. They turned to the Lighthouse.

Through the years Giovanni was diagnosed with several different, additional visual impairments. His parents feared that their son might lose his sight completely, and they wondered if he could adapt to blindness and still learn and develop like other boys.

From the day he arrived at the Lighthouse Giovanni was a friendly, outgoing child. He participated in the Early Intervention Program (ages 0 – 5), and through participation in individual sessions and playgroups he was able to acquire age-appropriate developmental skills.

Giovanni learned adaptive skills to help him access the computer and received Braille instruction, too. With the help of his Lighthouse therapists, his fine motor, gross motor, communication, cognitive, self-help and vision skills were right on track!

“The Lighthouse of Pinellas has not only helped my son, but has been a great help to me,” says Giovanni’s mother. “At the Lighthouse I discovered I was not alone, and that there are other parents out there who share the same concerns for their child.”

His mother goes on to say “Giovanni has made many friends at the Lighthouse who are also visually challenged. It is a place where he can totally be himself, because he will not be judged for his vision.”

The Early Intervention Program was there for Giovanni, as it is for many children with visual challenges in Pinellas. This program effectively lays the groundwork for future learning by helping a child progress through normal developmental stages. The cost to serve a child is $6,042 each year. The State only provides– for up to 33 children annually.

As you can see, the need is much greater than the funds provided through the state. Without your support, we cannot deliver the wonderful services that have helped Giovanni become a well-adjusted, developmentally adept young man.

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