Riley Fly, nine, is in his first year of 4-H and exhibited two pigs in the 2005 Spring Livestock Show.
Society has hung the tag of “visually-impaired” on the youngster. But someone it seems, has forgotten to tell him. He shows pigs in a livestock show, mainstreams his education at Keyes Elementary and rides an ATV.
As an infant, he was the victim of “Shaken Baby Syndrome” by a family member.
“I have some friends who are EMTs,” said Riley's grandpa, Ed Munson, (who now has parental custody.)
“As he was being transferred from Guymon, where it happened, they were trying to figure how long he might live.”
Munson tried to show where the young man's skull had been incised to drain the pooling blood that was putting pressure on his brain and had destroyed his optic nerves.
Riley shrugs off the attempt with a push of his hand.
Munson explained that the youngster's vision is much like trying to read through a drinking straw, “He has no peripheral vision. He's classified as 20/1200 in his right eye and 20/infinity in his left.”
Riley then asked that something be written on a piece of paper to demonstrate his reading style and ability.
He placed the paper just under his right eye and moved it along his chin.
“Riley, read to me,” he read and then gave a lopsided grin.
“I went to blind camp last summer and learned to play beep-ball. The ball beeped so we could hear it,” Riley said.
“I'm trying to learn to play basketball now; I want to go out for basketball.”
“He doesn't know he's challenged,” Munson explained.
“He rides a four wheeler on a track I built him at home. We've geared it down, it'll only do about 25, but he rides it.”
“We don't tell him that he has limits,” Munson said.
“He can see the difference, the variation in colors, between the plowed ground and the grass; that's how he keeps it on the track,” Munson explained.
The Keyes School system has sent a teacher for advanced education so they can respond to Riley's educational needs. Right now, he's beginning to learn Braille, to read and write it.
Next month, his 4-H talk and demonstration will be on Braille.
A former teacher, Ella Durham has nothing but praise for Riley and his determination to take on life at his own terms.
“He is bright; a very bright young man. He's amazing,” Durham said.
Munson explains that Riley's personality is such an upper that Keyes Superintendent Ed Turlington often brings the young man to the office to give him [Turlington] a boost.
At age nine, Riley has decided he wants to eventually train to be a minister, like his uncle, Chuck Munson.
But for now, Riley is fortunate to have a very broad base of support in his community.
As he brings his pig into the show ring, Riley is always assisted by at least one 4-H member; today, it's Rachel Durham, who walks with her 4-H friend and with the sound of her voice guides him back to the pig if it escapes his limited view.
His uncle John Dadisman, has also helped Riley with his swine project and in learning to ride the four-wheeler.
Boise City News