Northam family tell journey of son's health

A Northam couple feature in a new educational film that aims to help other families who may be facing a diagnosis of a rare neurological brain damage condition.

Walt Reidy, who is four-and-a-half years old and lives in Northam, was diagnosed with Cerebral Vision Impairment (CVI) at a young age.

Although Walt's eyes have been formed correctly, he cannot see properly because of a disruption with the pathways between the brain and the eyes.

He features in the film 'CVI - Coming to terms with a diagnosis.'

The new feature is produced by VisAbility - a main service provider to those living with disability.

Walt's mother Jess Reidy said she was keen to get involved with the films to spread her message and help other people in a similar position.

"I was keen to tell others about the journey we've been on," she said.

"I had a normal pregnancy and delivery but I could tell something was wrong at seven weeks.

"He slept a lot and I felt he couldn't see me.

"I went to my GP but initially he dismissed my concerns. Eventually at three months Walt was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and then at seven months CVI."

Ms Reidy said that despite his condition, Walt lived a good life in Northam with his extended family, including his father Lloyd.

"My diary is full of appointments for Walt but he is a very relaxed, happy child," she said.

"I live in Northam, which is remote, so sometimes I have to travel a distance to see his specialists.

"Today I was with a physiotherapist. Walt can't use his arms much so we were trying to strengthen his legs and put some balls out so he could kick them.

"He really enjoyed this and it was lovely to watch.

"Living with a child who has a disability can be hard, but I am fairly laid back and I have learnt that is it okay not to be consumed by Walt and his condition."

Walt attends AvonVale Educational Support Unit in Northam and Ms Reidy works one day a week in a local estate agent.

The team at VisAbility have been providing a variety of support services to Walt to make his life easier and his education more enjoyable and successful.

Therapists have also been giving tools to his parents so they can be empowered to help him to reach his own personal milestones through play and activities.

Ms Reidy has met other parents who have children with disabilities at VisPlay - a combined therapy and play session held at the VisAbility headquarters in Victoria Park.

"I have learnt that it is okay not to be consumed by Walt and it is alright if I skip some services," she said.

"He's a happy-go-lucky child.

"I know so much more about the human body than I never thought I would, but more than that I have learnt I am a capable adult."

If you would like to find out more about CVI and Walt, you can watch the film on Vimeo at vimeo.com/manage/306097030/general.

VisAbility are a local provider of disability services and have helped people living with disabilities for more than 100 years.

For more information on VisAbility, visit their website at www.visability.com.au.