News & Stories

Youngest Client Opens Eyes to Possibilities Ahead


At five months of age, Ryder came home from the hospital for the first time and became CICOA’s youngest client. Now one year old, he has endeared himself to all who know him.

Ryder was born with an extremely rare neurological disorder known as Moebius syndrome. On average, two to 20 people in a million will be born with the syndrome, which is characterized by facial paralysis, an inability to close one’s eyes and abnormalities of the limbs and chest.

Ryder cannot breathe without a ventilator or swallow on his own. Two fingers are fused together. His throat must be suctioned hourly to remove mucus buildup, and his eyes must be lubricated, because he cannot blink. Ryder does, however, have normal intelligence. He can roll over and scoot around, and he responds to the voices of people around him, particularly his older sister.

CICOA supplements the skilled nursing care Ryder receives under Medicaid Prior Authorization with case management and respite nursing.

Doctors think Ryder may, with time and treatment, be able to lead a “normal” life — without the tubes and ventilators that now limit his movement. He cannot close his eyes today, but that means they are wide open to the love around him and the possibilities ahead.