Vision Therapy For Kaamil!

$4,310 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 53 people in 21 months
Julian Wotherspoon
on behalf of Kimberly Smith
 Regina, SK
The Smith family need our help accessing a new vision therapy for Amblyopia for their middle son, Kaamil. This therapy is newly offered to southern Saskatchewan but not covered by Sask-health or insurance. The estimated cost is $4000 for 18-22 weeks of therapy.

In every corner of our community that Kim, Matt, and their children are involved, the Smith family put forward hours upon hours of volunteer time, support, and passion for making our city and province a better place for all of us. We are more than happy to help them access this care for Kaamil because we know that this family would be -and has been- first in line to help us when we need it.

Every dollar is extremely appreciated. If you would like more details about Amblyopia and the vision therapy he needs please read further:

Kaamil was diagnosed with Amblyopia as a young toddler.  Amblyopia is a neuro-developmental disorder of binocular vision and is the most common form of reversible blindness. The condition of amblyopia results in a loss of visual function involving reduced eye sight in one eye, loss of depth perception, delays in visual information processing, visual-motor coordination and can have numerous quality of life consequences. Kaamil may never have the chance to be “anything he wants when he grows up” as we commonly tell children. He and his family also have to worry about injury to his good eye as that would render him blind.  His family also worries about bullying and social exclusion; Kaamil is a sweet boy and a good friend to many, but there is always worry that he will be treated unfairly or left out because of his impaired vision.

In the past, amblyopia treatment has been limited to patching and Atropine eye drops. Kaamil has tried this all with no success.  At his last appointment with the eye doctor, Kaamil's family was told that patching is no longer an option because of the kind and severity of Amblyopia. Kaamil's brain has suppressed the bad eye to the point that the eye is shut of from the brain, leading to stereo blindness and deficient depth perception. This leaves Kaamil accident prone and with poor eye hand coordination making daily things we all take for granted a unique challenge for him.

Occlusion therapy is an outdated and largely ineffective approach to a complex and serious vision disorder that Kaamil has. BUT there is a new research-based advanced amblyopia vision therapy available to children. This is new to our area and was therefore not an option for Kaamil at an earlier age.

Vision therapy emphasizes binocular vision and visual information processing development. This therapy takes place in the office with a doctor trained in vision therapy along with supporting at-home activities. Vision therapy patients gain significantly faster and better results, including restoration of sight, depth perception, visual processing abilities and eye hand coordination. Research shows that there is neuroplasticity in the brain and by using vision therapy we can turn the brain/eye communication  back on and Amblyopia can be successfully treated.

Again, this therapy is not currently covered under Saskatchewan health or insurance coverage, leaving an estimated cost of $4000 for 18-22 weeks of therapy.  
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I can hardly believe that we are nearing the end of Kaamil’s scheduled appointments and looking at the progress he has made this year. Today was appointment 37 of 40. Doesn’t he look like a completely different kid? I mean, I know he’s a year older and that alone is going to make for big changes but the confidence and personality that has developed is amazing to see. His ability to see and navigate his world was impacting so much more than we could have known and was holding an amazing kid from all of us to get to know.

To be told not to expect your child to ever be able to do certain things, like see depth or 3D, and then watch that skill develop is amazing. To know that there are so many options beyond surgery to help, actually help the eye and the brain see, not just make him look “normal” and aesthetically pleasing is beyond what we imagined. My goal coming into VT was to make his vision strong enough to be eligible for surgery. And now surgery isn’t really on the radar.

More progress can be made as Kaamil has not yet plateaued in his development. We do not yet know what that looks like but we know his journey to overcome this struggle he has faced isn’t quite over.

Your support and gifts are beyond any level of saying “thank you”.
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This is a little of how our sessions look
Testing out if Kaamil is using both eys
This is Kaamil seeing the new colour!
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We have had 10 office sessions. So much progress is being made. We still have a long way to go but I am fascinated at each appointment how much improvement is being seen.

Kaamil saw a new colour today. He had a hard time explaining this colour. Wearing the green and red glasses, he would normally see whatever colour was over the "good" eye, usually green. Once his "bad" eye started working he could get it to see the other colour, usually where we have the red lens. Yesterday he saw the two colours blend. He saw a kinda red colour and a kinda green colour. It's a colour he's never seen before. That means he used both eyes together. His brain wasn't going back and forth between the two eyes, which is what he started doing at the start of therapy once we engaged that bad eye and "woke it up". That lead into my question of "will be ever see 3D?" Essentially these glasses are 3D glasses, right? Why did I even ask that question?

Because I was once told Kaamil will NEVER see in 3D. Guess what happened yesterday? Kaamil saw 3D! It wasn't an exciting 3D movie but rather just an in office experience. He was not really sure how to react because it was a whole new experience that he's never had before. We had taken him to a 3D movie when he was little and we didn't know what we know now about his eyes and he hated the experience. Now we know why! The doctor said it's completely reasonable to try a 3D movie again. It might not be a successful attempt and we know might have to leave and try agin in a few months, but the doctor thinks there is a really good chance he would have a good time and new experience.
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Kaamil has had his assessment and has started his therapy. The assessment revealed Kaamil will need level 3 Vision Therapy. This will last 38 weeks and costs $6000. Our family is so incredibly grateful for every penny that has come in from friend and family and strangers. Without it we likely wouldn't have been able to commit to the costs.

Kaamil is only two weeks into his therapy and already we are seeing amazing things. I might get very teary eyed every time the doctor asks Kaamil to do something she isn't sure he can do, but when he tries hard enough he gets it, and she cheers him on. You can hear in her voice that this is working. Sometimes I can't tell exactly what is working and doing what but I sure can tell from her voice that it is good news! Oh and Kaamil already is down three strengths in his glasses and is functioning just fine with that. We are also expecting to see pretty rapid changes to his prescription; likely new prescription every 3-6 months. This is incredible stuff for a little boy who was told that improvements had to be in place by the time he was 7.
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$4,310 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 53 people in 21 months
Created February 18, 2017
Julian Wotherspoon
on behalf of Kimberly Smith
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