Almost a year ago, I wrote a FamilyConnect blog post about Leah, a participant on MTV’s Teen Mom 2. Leah had twin daughters named Alianna and Aleeah, and was dealing with Alianna’s diagnosis of nystagmus, a visual impairment that involves involuntary movement of the eye or eyes. The doctor prescribed very cute glasses for her. There was some concern that the child may have another condition affecting her legs and hips, and what may have been the cause of the nystagmus.
This season, Leah and Corey (Leah’s husband) get more information about their child’s prognosis. They visit a physical therapist, who discusses prescribing braces for Alianna’s legs.
Leah and Corey prepare for meeting with a geneticist—this had been discussed since the last season. They are anxious to meet with the geneticist and to be one-step closer to an answer. After the meeting, they talk about a possible diagnosis from the geneticist, who suggested the possibility of a rare condition called campomelic dysplasia, a chromosomal disorder. The couple Googled the condition and are shocked by the suggestion that it could be fatal. During the appointment, the geneticist drew blood and said it would take four weeks to have the results.
During these episodes, you hear Leah and Corey discuss how they never thought about their child being born with any type of condition. The truth is, no one ever imagines his or her child having an impairment or disorder prior to birth. Often, children with visual impairments have other conditions as well, or a visual impairment could be a symptom of another issue.
Families deal with these types of diagnoses everyday. It is important that families have resources to go to for support and information. FamilyConnect is a website created by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Association of Parents with Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI). FamilyConnect offers articles, blogs, message boards, Facebook-like features, and, most importantly, connections to the true experts—other parents who have gone through it and are still living it.
Later, Alianna stands with the support of holding on to objects—this brings Leah hope. This is prior to the use of leg braces. You can tell that this elates Leah and Corey. The episode concludes with them getting a call from the geneticist saying that everything is normal with her chromosomes. There is still a good possibility of a skeletal issue, which should have much less complications for their child’s life. Now, they are extremely happy.
You can watch the episode, titled “Lean on Me,” via MTV’s website. What are your thoughts? Add a comment and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.