Caleb Tobias and Family Defy All Odds
In March of 2019, Caleb Tobias, his older sister Morgan, their mother Kim and a foreign exchange student living with the family, were in a tragic car accident leaving 13-year-old Caleb fighting for his life. Caleb spent more than five months in three different hospitals and another three months of full-day intensive outpatient rehab hospital care. Due to traumatic brain injury, Caleb has a multitude of challenges he will continue to work through for the rest of his life, including hearing loss in his left ear and no vision in either eye.
Miracles abound, Caleb returned to high school on his 14th birthday and participated in marching band and ran track. Now Caleb attends Kansas State School for the Blind in Kansas City with confidence due to many meetings with Ray Oddis and Karen Kendrick from Envision’s Vision Rehabilitation Clinic and Terese Goren from Envision’s Workforce Innovation Center.
“After only about six sessions with Ray as a family, it felt like he opened up a whole new world for us,” said Kim Tobias. “Ray wasn’t hesitant to answer any of our questions. He tailored the training to Caleb’s abilities and his needs and goals. We also received great direction from Terese about various assistive technology tools to help us keep making progress in that area. It was invaluable to have Karen come into our home and teach us the simplest tricks, that were specific to our environment, about making daily life easier at home. We are so grateful for everything that Envision has provided for our family.”
Ray and Caleb have a special relationship that includes countless jokes and meaningful conversations. Caleb gave Ray the nickname of "Razor Ray" and Ray calls Caleb "Professor" because he always corrects him with simple phrases and words.
"What I remember most about first meeting the Tobias family was the dynamic between Caleb and his mom, Kim. I couldn't help but find time for the whole family to engage in training with this brave young man," said Ray Oddis, Envision's certified orientation and mobility specialist. "However, I did forewarn both of them that once they start training with me, we're going to become such good friends that the separation at the end will be difficult. I think we all found that to be true."
Caleb continues to thrive at Kansas State School for the Blind. Every so often, he comes back to visit Ray and the team at Envision to either receive or give lessons, depending on the day.