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Mother turns son's impairment into a 'superpower'

Published: Thursday, Sept. 26 2013 9:10 a.m. MDT

For 17-month-old Scott Butler, eye patches, glasses and contacts are a part of everyday life. But to help her son and other children have confidence with their unique appearance, Scott’s mother Jessica created a design T-shirt line teaching that glasses and patches are cool.

“My son was born with a congenital cataract, and so he’s been in glasses and a contact and an eye patch since he was 4 weeks old, and it’s not an easy thing. I just want him to grow up (not) embarrassed about his eye patch,” Jessica Butler said in an interview with the Deseret News. “I want him to be proud of his glasses and excited about it. I wore glasses as a young kid too, and I hated them, so I just want to kind of change that and make it fun.”

Scott and other children wear eye patches, glasses and contacts for various reason, but they are mainly used to strengthen and train a weak eye’s vision.

In May, Butler and her husband launched a 29-day Kickstarter project to start a T-shirt line for children that emphasizes the positive aspects of glasses and eye patches accompanying vision impairments. They hoped to receive $3,000, but the project exceeded their expectations and earned $4,984 from 131 backers.

“When we first launched our Kickstarter project we had high hopes for it, but we had no idea if we would even get funded, and it just took off and we started getting a ton of input and comments and people reaching out to us,” Butler said. “We thought some people would think it would be cool, but we didn’t expect such huge support and what amazing friendships (we would make).”

The shirts feature designs such as “My glasses give me super powers” accompanied with a cape, a robot or friendly monster in glasses, as well as a cupcake saying, “Will patch for cake.”

Much of the feedback Butler receives on the Eye Power Kid’s Wear website and Facebook page talks about how the shirts’ positive messages about vision issues help some children enjoy their glasses and eye patches more.

“There are so many kids out there that they hate to patch, and it’s a struggle everyday, and now they want to put on their patch in the morning because their patch gives them ‘superpowers,’ ” Butler said. “It helps with their imagination and helps them just to be excited to patch instead of dread it.”

People who have ordered the shirts have seen a difference in how their children approach patching and wearing glasses.

“Dane (is) rocking his new shirt,” Krafty Eye Patches Australia said on the Eye Power Kid’s Wear Facebook page. “He actually said 'me LOVE patching now Mummy.' Thank you!!!!”

Butler is grateful for lessons she has learned from her son in the way he approaches his challenges.

“I want him to know that he is an amazing little boy and he puts up with so much and he really has taught me more than I could ever even imagine possible. He teaches me so much everyday and he doesn’t even know he’s doing it,” Butler said. “He’s such a blessing in our lives.”

See Butler’s T-shirt designs on her website.

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact her at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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