Intervenor helps girl with rare condition

KINGWOOD, TX (KTRK) -- Imagine living in a world of silence and darkness, deaf and blind. Now imagine if that's your child. It's what a family in Kingwood faces every day, but luckily they have a key to unlock that world. It's someone called an intervenor.

Lauren Daley, 12, is not just learning to swim; she's learning to live in the silence and dark. Lauren was born 17 weeks early and is both deaf and blind.

"Her vision impairment was there from the very beginning but her ears had been slowly getting worst," said Lauren's father Paul Daley.

It is a rare condition. Just 45,000 people in the United States are both deaf and blind. But with the help of an intervenor many are finally able to break through the dark and the silence.

"We mediate between them and their environment so we tell them everything that's going on around them," said Intervenor MacKenzie Droll.

Droll is the first to tell you her job isn't easy. Establishing trust with someone who can't see or hear takes time and a soft touch.

"When you're first introducing yourself to a child you don't just grab their hands but you would follow along on your elbow so that they know you are there," said Droll.

Mackenzie introduces herself to her students through touch. They come to know her by her necklace. And she teaches them sign language which for the first time gives her students a voice.

"The most rewarding thing is seeing them advance," she said. "They are no longer in a dark closet but now they are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel where they want to get out there."

For Lauren the process began six years ago when she was only five. Hard to imagine, but Lauren's mother says it wasn't until an intervenor came into the picture that she really got to know her own daughter.

"She's funny. She has a great sense of humor," said Lauren's mother Caroline Daley. "I think as a Mom to get to know my kiddo really get to know her was an amazing gift that intervenors have been able to give us."

It's an amazing gift but certainly a costly one. An intervenor like the one Lauren now has costs $1,000 a month. The Daley's have had to make sacrifices.

"It's so worth it. Lauren is truly a pillar in her deaf blind community," Caroline said.

She won best swimmer at deaf blind camp over the summer, a win that couldn't have been possible without the passion -- the patience and the love of an intervenor.

And you may be wondering about the intervenor you saw working with Lauren in the story. She has even more insight into Lauren's world. That's because she's deaf as well and didn't want to be interviewed for our story.
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