Sitting on his grandmother's lap, Jaydin Nighswander of Tiffin appears to be a typical three-year-old, but he is sitting because he cannot stand or walk normally.
"He was diagnosed when he was nine months old with a seizure disorder," said his grandmother, Lisa Nighswander.
A neurologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus told his mother, Devin Nighswander, Jaydin likely would have delayed physical and mental development and visual impairment. The doctor prescribed physical, occupational and speech therapy that he could receive at Optima in Tiffin. Jaydin has therapy twice a week and attends one-on-one pre-school instruction at the Early Learning Center in Tiffin.
Jaydin Nighswander is surrounded by family members including mom Devin (left), great-grandmother Kathy (holding him at center) and grandmother Lisa during a fundraiser Saturday at Hedges-Boyer Park, Tiffin.
"He's not really making words, but he's very, very vocal," Lisa said, as Jaydin hummed to himself.
Now that the boy is older and stronger, he is trying to stand and walk during therapy, using a special device to support him safely. If Jaydin could have the stander/walker at home, he may be able to progress more quickly. His mother, Devin Nighswander, turned to Buckeye (Medicaid) for assistance in obtaining the $5,000 apparatus. Although the therapist has called the agency multiple times, the application has been denied.
"They're fighting it. They keep saying 'We need this,' but ... he needs the stander now, so we'll do it ourselves," Lisa explained.
The family set up an online fundraising account for Jaydin at www.youcaring.com and received a sizable donation from a single anonymous donor. They also planned a benefit Saturday at Meadowbrook Park in hopes of raising more money for Jaydin's equipment. The event included raffles, a baked goods sale, face painting and food.
Jaydin was on hand to greet his supporters. Lisa said a low-carbohydrate diet Jaydin recently started has helped to improve his behavior and mood.
"He's doing so much better. They decreased his one medicine ... he's a new kid," she said. "He's getting a lot of protein."
Jaydin has a savings account at Old Fort Bank, and contributions can be made at youcaring.com.