BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. (June 20, 2019) – Three-year-old Brooklyn Grace Hunt may be one of the youngest students enrolled at Pine Log Elementary School, but her impact reaches all corners of the school’s 98,368 square-foot building and beyond. Brooklyn can feel the impact, but cannot see it.
At seven-weeks-old, doctors diagnosed Brooklyn with septo-optic dysplasia, a rare congenital malformation of her optic nerves, pituitary gland, and midline part of her brain. As a result, Brooklyn is completely blind with no light perception.
“Because of this malformation of her pituitary gland, she will have lifelong endocrine issues, including diabetes insipidus, adrenal and growth hormone deficiencies, and hypothyroidism,” says Lexie Hunt, Brooklyn’s mother.
While adjusting to a ‘new normal,’ Brooklyn’s family quickly embraced her unique love of music. It had Brooklyn tapping to the beat of ‘Are you sleeping Brother John’ on her piano before her first birthday. Now, she also enjoys singing and playing the guitar, banjo, xylophone, and drums. With a passion for singing songs across all music genres, Brooklyn’s family captures the phenomenon and shares it on social media weekly.
“She shocked us all,” says Missy Scoggins Smith, Brooklyn’s grandmother. “We knew we had a little musician in the family right away. Without vision, she doesn’t see any obstacles, so she just approaches everything with an ‘I can do it myself’ attitude. It’s unreal how the other senses compensate when another is weakened or missing.”
Music and movement continue to strengthen Brooklyn’s vestibular system, balance, and self-awareness.
Other early intervention therapies include enrollment into a pilot pre-K class at the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta and Pine Log Elementary School.
“At PLES, a teacher works with Brooklyn on her orientation, mobility, and pre-Braille skills,” adds Smith. “She loves the school and we are very fortunate for the teachers, paraprofessionals, and school administrators that have been placed in her path. She is blossoming before our very eyes.”
Administrators say Brooklyn is a true asset to the Bartow County School System as she lights up the school community with her big personality, strong will, and determination to achieve her goals.
With one sense taken away, Brooklyn is using others to tell her story.