Brylee Slatton loves to swing.
Unfortunately, when the Wylie 1st-grader made the move from Wylie Early Childhood to Wylie West Elementary, she could no longer swing. Brylee is a blind, special needs student, and Wylie West Elementary did not have the handicapped swing she required.
Now, thanks to the Joseph Thomas Foundation, Brylee is back in the saddle of a specially made swing.
“We had one at the Early Childhood Center that the school purchased,” said Dianne Field, teacher of the blind at Wylie. “But we didn’t have one at the Elementary. We really appreciate the Joseph
Thomas Foundation purchasing one for Brylee. It’s something she loves to do.”
Meagan Kirk with the Joseph Thomas Foundation said this is exactly the foundation’s mission. It purchases equipment and supplies not covered by insurance for medically fragile children, whose families often have many medical expenses.
“Mrs. Field reached out to me and asked is this something you can help with,” Kirk said. “I said absolutely. We would love to help.”
Although the foundation purchased the swing for Brylee, Kirk said she is excited that other children will also benefit.
“There will be multiple students that can use it,” Field confirmed. “We are very grateful.”
Brylee was born blind, although doctors did not know it at the time. She also has Joubert Syndrome, a rare disorder where the brain doesn’t fully develop, and Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, a genetic eye disorder that caused her blindness.
“They told us she was perfect when she was born,” her mother Darcie said. “But she never looked at me. We have slowly figured everything out one step at a time.”
Darcie said her daughter is nonverbal and has a lot of sensory issues, but loves music, dancing and hanging upside down.
“Swinging is one of her favorite things to do,” Darcie said. “She is so excited to get this. Everybody else has a blankie. She has a swing.”
Darcie said she is very grateful for both the Joseph Thomas Foundation and for the Wylie school district.
“We have amazing teachers and amazing aides,” she said. “The administration has been outstanding. They have stepped up and done everything we have needed. Mrs. Field knew Brylee enjoyed swinging. She started this. It was a group collaborative effort after that.”
The Joseph Thomas Foundation presented the swing to Wylie West Elementary and to Brylee at a ceremony in October, where Brylee got to try out the new swing. Although she was bothered at first by high winds, it didn’t take long before she was smiling and pumping her fists, happy to be back in the swing.
By Candy Reagan