Starting school is a big milestone for any child, but what made it different for Max Goodfellow is that he can’t see.
Max turned six in January and has just started primary school this year. He’s in Prep at the local Catholic School and he’s loving it. He’s passionate about learning and enjoys reading, writing and playing with all his school friends.
Born blind, Max was initially diagnosed with Norrie Disease, a rare disorder that primarily affects vision. Doctors now suggest he has a form of NDP Retinopathy – a related genetic condition that affects the retina, causing blindness.
Vision Australia started working very early with Max and his family when he was just weeks old. A dedicated early childhood specialist has helped every step of the way as Max has hit all the usual milestones – such as learning to sit up, walk and talk.
Max’s family were also connected with others who were experiencing the same challenges with blindness. Forming a playgroup when Max was just 7-months, the ongoing help and support has been invaluable. The group has expanded thanks to a Facebook page and now includes over 15 families.
When it was time for Max to start Kindergarten, Vision Australia worked closely with the school to help him take this exciting step. The whole school community has embraced Max, they love learning about him and it has been a fantastic opportunity to learn that being blind is no reason for Max to not be involved with all aspects of school life.
Max receives ongoing training to help him confidently and independently find his way around the school grounds and buildings. Each week, a Vision Australia mobility specialist works with Max to help him use a white cane and echo location – skills that will continue to be useful as he progresses through school and beyond.
With two older brothers and one younger sister, all with full vision, Max is part of a typical busy family. He loves music and takes piano lessons, goes horse riding once a fortnight and is a regular down at his local swimming pool.
The whole family is really excited for Max to be involved with Carols By Candlelight this year. Max loves music and singing and can’t wait to experience the magic of Australia’s most iconic Christmas event.