Toys help Ashton engage with his world - Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children

Toys help Ashton engage with his world

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Mum, Renee, with Ashton and his RIDBC Consultant, Maria, using a toy with light interaction to help Ashton engage.

Ashton has been receiving services from RIDBC Early Learning Program (Vision Impairment) since he was six months old.

Ashton’s parents, Renee and Greg, noticed something was wrong with Ashton’s vision when he was just three weeks old.

“An ultrasound found a mass,” said Renee. “He had a tumour and needed surgery, but there were complications. Ashton had a severe stroke and lost the entire left hemisphere of his brain.”

Ashton is now two years old and has no vision in his left eye, low vision in his right, as well as significant additional disabilities.

“Regular early learning sessions with RIDBC are helping Ashton make the best use of his remaining vision,” said Renee.

“We’ve learned so much, like how to position him with the light behind him so he can get the most out of his eyesight, and the best toys to help him learn.”

Learning about toys for children with vision loss sparked Renee’s interest.

“When Ashton was diagnosed I realised there weren’t many appropriate toys – he needed black and white or high contrast toys as well as sound or light,” said Renee.

“I started making these little balls made of differently textured fabrics, with balloons and bells inside. Ashton loved them and now I sell them to support The Ashton Binskin Foundation and RIDBC.”

Renee’s passion has been infectious, with other mothers lending a helping hand with sewing.

“People just want to give back,” said Renee.

RIDBC Consultant, Maria Lupton, said Ashton is doing well.

“Whilst coping with all of Ashton’s frequent medical appointments, his family have responded to input and suggestions from RIDBC with great enthusiasm,” said Maria.

“Since he started with RIDBC, Ashton is making great progress. The latest – he is now mobile and can bottom shuffle to move towards his favourite toys!”

Renee said it hasn’t been easy, but the family focus on the positives.

“It’s been eye opening. In hospital there is always someone far off worse than us,” said Renee. “Really from the beginning we’ve had RIDBC. Ashton loves his lessons and we all feel so supported, it’s fantastic!”

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