Four-year-old Tyler Webby can only attend kindy three times a week and, as a result, his development has suffered – but with a Leap Pad (an educational tablet for kids) supplied by Satan’s Little Helper, he’s made encouraging progress.
When Tyler was born, all his mum Larissa and dad Scott could do was cross their fingers and hope.
You see, the pair knew that their son had a 50/50 chance of inheriting a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF).
And at just three months old, their fears were confirmed. But things would get worse.
“He had a bad seizure when he was two. After it happened, we rushed him to hospital and had a two month wait for an MRI. When he was finally given one, they found a brain tumour. It was really scary for us.
“Tyler now has tumours on his nerve endings in his brain, his neck and around his lower body. The biggest one is in his optic chiasm, which sits behind his eyes and affects his vision.”
Left unchecked, the tumour will grow and eventually Tyler could go blind – which is why the four-year-old is undergoing weekly chemotherapy treatment in Whanganui.
His medical condition also means Tyler has delayed development, some learning disabilities and ADHD.
Despite it all, Tyler “takes it like a champ” even though he does have some difficult moments.
“Because of his treatment, he has missed out on a lot of social development. He loves to play with other kids, but he can be a bit rough with them. However, he’s working with a special teacher at kindy and he’s improved a lot. For example, he’s a lot more gentle with his sisters and he’s softer with other children as well.”
Tyler is still going through chemo, which means his time at in learning is limited.
“He can’t go to kindy for 48 hours afterwards, as he’ll pass on the radiation from his chemo to the other kids. We even need to be careful with him around his sisters.”
All of that means Tyler can only attend kindy three days a week, which is affecting his education. To help make sure he doesn’t fall behind further, Satan’s Little Helper sent him a Leap Pad!
“It’s so good for him!” explains Larissa. “It’s teaching him new words and he can recognise shapes and colours so much better. He’ll come out with new stuff all the time and we’re like OMG, where did you learn that from!?”
The Leap Pad is also teaching him practical skills.
“He loves using the cooking app on there. It teaches him how to cut bread into slices and it teaches him to use utensils! Before the pad, he was terrible with a knife and fork but now he’s eating properly.”
Larissa says it’s been an invaluable tool to take some stress off her, too.
“He’s so engaged with it, he’ll sit still for an extended period now and he won’t be running around the house, hyper as.”
Tyler has a long road ahead of him but with the help of his new bit of technology, it’s looking a lot less uncertain.