Drew uses his magnifying dome for reading and homework.

November 22, 2021

When Jessica Fannin’s son Drew was 12 weeks old, a single word changed the roadmap of his life. That word was “blind.”

This was a prognosis after Drew was diagnosed with ocular albinism, a condition that causes visual impairment. At the time, Jessica was still learning the ropes of raising a baby; “blind” was not in her mothering playbook. But “instinct” was, and Jessica wasn’t going to settle for the diagnosis. She took Drew to a specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital who said he was not blind but had low vision. Jessica didn’t even know what that meant.

But by the time he was five, Drew became a regular visitor of the Pediatric Low Vision Clinic at Clovernook Center. This changed the course of his life.

“They gave us just a little glimmer of hope, and at the time that’s all we needed,” Jessica said. “Our big question was: Will he be able to drive? To live independently? Each year the prognosis gets better.”

Image of Drew holding a logos project and smilingThe doctors at the clinic taught her practical ways to help Drew distinguish what he saw. For example, rather than ask, “Do you see the cow?” She asks, “What do you see?” They also taught Drew to use tools, such as a monocular and magnifying dome, to thrive in a seeing world.

As he grew up and made friends, Drew felt a little embarrassed using his seeing tools, until his parents and doctors told him they will help him drive one day. He began using them. Now 11, Drew excels at math and wants to become an inventor, but for the moment he’s happy creating with Legos.

“There is nothing, they said, he couldn’t do,” Jessica said of the clinic. Indeed, Drew plays soccer and basketball, and has tried golf with his dad – activities the staff at the clinic encouraged.

“We are exceedingly grateful for the time the doctors have given us,” Jessica said. “I can’t thank the donors to Clovernook Center enough. I would love to give money someday to this program that has benefitted our son. Because every time we go out the door, I see another family coming in.”

During Jessica’s latest visit to Clovernook Center’s clinic, she asked again: “Is Drew going to be able to drive?” The doctor said she didn’t see why he wouldn’t be able to drive, at least during daytime hours.

Read more from this edition of The Perspective:

November Letter from Clovernook Center’s President

Dr. Sarah Lopper Making a Difference for Children with Low Vision

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