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Georgia Aquarium: CVI-Friendly Family Fun

I love visiting aquariums. And considering my husband’s first dream job as a child was to become a marine biologist, it’s safe to say he likes them, too. We first explored the Georgia Aquarium when we attended a friend’s wedding in Atlanta back in 2014, and it quickly became one of our favorites – mostly because it is the only aquarium in the Western Hemisphere that has whale sharks(!), but also because it is a great aquarium all-around. So, as soon as we moved within 7 hours of Atlanta a couple of years ago my husband began plotting our eventual return with the kids….

When our daughter, Rosalie (who has congenital hydrocephalus and CVI), was born we necessarily stuck very close to home (and our hospital) for a long time. Once she remained surgery-free for awhile and things seemed stable with her shunt we carefully eased ourselves back into travel with a few weekend trips in-state, no more than 2-3 hours away.

Last month, when Rosalie was 11 months old, we did our first out-of-state travel as a family of 5 because I was the Matron of Honor in my best friend’s wedding. The fact that Atlanta was the halfway point on our road trip sealed the deal: we couldĀ finally take the kids to the Georgia Aquarium!

Aquarium8-wm
Whale shark sighting!

Because Rosalie is so young, we do not yet plan family outings “for” her; instead, we do things geared towards her big brothers’ interests and abilities – as long as it can accommodate Rosalie’s needs and not overwhelm or scare her.

I had heard that aquariums tend to be a favorite of kids with CVI – with their low lighting contrasted by luminous tanks, brimming with highly-saturated hues of marine creatures. This is not unlike the reason why iPads, with their back-lit screens, can be so beneficial for visual attention in children with CVI.

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Another CVI Blog is Born….

One year ago I gave birth to a precious little girl, Rosalie. Though she is small, she is MIGHTY. She currently says two words: “done” and “yay!” Both are incredibly telling of her joyful, feisty personality; she exudes happiness and is generally delighted by all that life has to offer, but she has always made it perfectly clear to everyone when she is just…over it. She found her voice at birth out of necessity, effectively communicating her likes, dislikes, wants, and needs – loudly – to anyone who will listen and respond accordingly. If this is a glimpse at how she will advocate for herself in life I could not be happier – because she will need to learn how to advocate for herself as she grows.

Rosalie was born with hydrocephalus, a brain condition with no cure that currently has only one treatment: brain surgery. She had her first brain surgery at two days old and has had a total of 4 brain surgeries to date. My husband and I were thrown quickly into the world of special medical needs parenting, but when Rosalie was 7 months old we were sent reeling by a new diagnosis: Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI).

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