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Vestals benefit from Help Me Grow, Head Start

| November 27, 2018

Pictured in their home is the Vestal family. From left are: Dad Josh with Ziva, 2, and Ezra, 3, mom Crystal, Isaiah, 13, Tobias, 11, and Elliot, 6. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Shortly after Crystal and Josh Vestal learned that their daughter Ezra was deaf, they discovered their youngest was blind.

“When Ezra was eight months old we tried to get her into an ENT, but the doctor wouldn’t give us a referral,” Crystal said. “We tried again at her 12 month visit and finally got into one four months later when she was 16 months.”

It was at this time that the Vestals discovered Ezra was completely deaf.

“We were shocked and angry because of the delays,” Crystal said.

Ezra was born hearing, but after being diagnosed with RSV Pneumonia and a double ear infection, something changed.

“She had to spend a night in the hospital and after she was released she didn’t like the same toys,” Crystal said. “She was born with a hearing problem, but when she got sick that seemed to trigger the rapid loss of hearing. It was worse on one side than the other so she got a cochlear implant on that side. The other side got worse and we did an implant on it too about a year later.”

The Vestals barely had time to digest Ezra’s diagnoses when they found out that Ziva was blind.

“Their diagnoses were three weeks apart,” Crystal said.

The girls are a year apart in age. At Ziva’s two month checkup, Crystal and Josh started having a feeling that something was wrong.

“She was cross-eyed since she was born,” Josh said. “They kept saying it would fix itself, but we knew there was definitely something wrong.”

Crystal asked about a referral at Ziva’s three month checkup and then again at her four month checkup before getting to the bottom of the problem.

“She has light perception, but it isn’t much,” Crystal said. “She is really good with her other senses though.”

By this time, Help Me Grow was already working with Ezra so the Vestals also sought assistance for Ziva.

“They helped with everything from speech therapy to all our IEP meetings,” Crystal said. “They even set us up with the school for the deaf. We wouldn’t have known what to do without them.”

They also have been able to work with the school for the blind, Early Head Start and Head Start.

“Ezra will be mainstreamed at Coshocton City Schools and Ziva is transitioning to the next step with Early Head Start,” Crystal said.

The girls are keeping up with their brothers, Isaiah – 13, Tobias – 11, and Elliot – 6.

“We try hard not to treat the girls any different,” Crystal said. “We are a soccer family so Help Me Grow found a soccer ball that beeps for Ziva and Ezra is going to do SOCCA this spring. Ezra also is doing basketball at Kids America and we’re going to have Ziva try Rising Tide because she loves water.”

Both girls’ impairments are due to rare genetic disorders.

“We just take one day at a time,” Crystal said. “I’ve realized I have patience I didn’t know I had.”

She is thankful for the services available in Coshocton.

“I’m involved in a lot of different Facebook groups where kids have different diagnoses and their families don’t have the services we do here,” Crystal said. “We are lucky to have the people we do here.”

Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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