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Katy lost her sight at 3 but she never lost her smile or courage. We're so proud of our little dance star; PUPIL OF THE YEAR BLIND GIRL STEPS UP TO CHALLENGE PUPIL OF THE YEAR BLIND GIRL STEPS UP TO CHALLENGE Mum tells how brave eight-year-old keeps dreaming big despite disability.

Byline: MARIA CROCE reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk

A GIRL has been named GIRL has been named Pupil of the Year at her Pupil of the Year at her dance school - despite dance school - despite being blind.

Katy Orr's mother yesterday told of her family's pride at how the brave eight-year-old has overcome her disability and keeps facing her daily challenges with a smile.

The remarkable youngster suddenly lost most of her sight at the age of three.

mum Lindsay, 49, said: "Katy had MUM LINDSAY, 49, said: "Katy had been such a confident child and after it happened her confidence took a dip. But she brushed herself down and got on with it.

"She didn't know any different, so "She didn't know any different, so she got used to it. She is an absolute star and never complains about anything."

" Katy, who lives in Loans, Ayrshire," Katy, who lives in Loans, Ayrshire, with her mum, aerospace director father Robert, 50, and brother Andrew, 16, has learned to read and rew, 16, has learned to read and write, can ride a bike and even dreams of becoming a Paralympian. But for now, her big love is dance.

She joined the Karalyn Bell School of Dance in Troon when she was four.

Lindsay, who teaches zumba to kids, said: "She'd always loved music and dancing around, so I thought I'd let her try.

"She just loved it and Karalyn was "She just loved it and Karalyn was fantastic with her - and she's been there ever since.

"Katy does tap and disco and has "Katy does tap and disco and has now taken up musical theatre.

"Karalyn taught her the names "Karalyn taught her the names of steps, so she follows the instructions. When Karalyn says things like, 'step ball change', she does it automatically.

"She gets into the beat of the "She gets into the beat of the music and seems to be able to figure it out even though she can't see anyone to copy the steps.

"She also feels the music and "She also feels the music and beat through the floor and listens intently.

"I was so proud when she was "I was so proud when she was awarded a shield for being Pupil of the Year at the summer show."

" Katy also loves Strictly Come" Katy also loves Strictly Come Dancing and is keen to learn Latin steps.

Lindsay said: "I took her to one of the live shows and dancer Natalie Lowe came over and gave her a high five. She's her favourite and she was so excited.

"I was worried about taking her, "I was worried about taking her, because I knew she wouldn't be able to see a thing, even though we were in the front row. But she loved the atmosphere and being part of Strictly - it was phenomenal."

" Recalling the shocking day when" Recalling the shocking day when Katy suddenly lost her sight, Lindsay said: "She'd been perfectly healthy and had just turned three.

"The last photo of her being "The last photo of her being able to see was with her birthday cake. But a few days later, I was in the kitchen and she came in and said, 'I can't see you, Mummy.' "She was looking off to the side "She was looking off to the side and couldn't focus on me. It was really frightening."

" After several weeks of medical" After several weeks of medical tests, doctors at Yorkhill hospital in DOING FINE With mum Lindsay Glasgow came to the conclusion that a virus or infection may have attacked Katy's optic nerves.

Lindsay said: "There was no blood supply to the optic nerves, so she developed a condition called retrobulbar optic neuritis.

"They'd never seen the condition in a child of Katy's age.

"She has no central vision, just a slither of peripheral vision on her left side.

"She's got no distance vision. You have to be within a metre of her for her to see something - and she has to have it right up at her face, almost in front of her eyes, to see detail. She's got no focusable vision at all."

Fearing that Katy might lose what little was left of her sight, the family took her on holiday to Disneyland in Florida.

Lindsay said: "It was lovely to see her having fun, dancing with Jessie from Toy Story and meeting Minnie Mouse. She could just be an ordinary kid."

After worrying for a year that Katy's sight would disappear completely, the family finally got a tiny bit of good news from doctors.

Lindsay said: "They told us her sight hadn't deteriorated but that it wasn't going THIRD BIRTHDAY Last picture Last picture to get better either, so they were going to register her blind. Her optic nerves were just gone.

"To a certain extent it helped to have this news, because all the uncertainty of watching Katy to see if she was losing more sight was so difficult.

"Hope of her getting better was taken away but reality could start to kick in, so we could begin to look at how to cope with this.

"But we've had to find our way through it. I really think there should be more help available for families going through this."

Lindsay added: "The initial difference in Katy was heartbreaking. She used to be a real chatterbox in the car, pointing out the trees and houses - almost like giving us a running commentary.

"When she lost her sight, she stopped talking in the car as she couldn't see anything out of the window."

But she recalled the day when she realised her daughter would be fine.

She said: "After that year of watching Katy and worrying, one day I looked at her playing and thought, 'Why am I feeling sorry for myself ? She's out there getting on with it.'" Katy has learned to swim and ride a bike, goes horseriding with South Ayrshire Visually Impaired Kids and can read using a camera that projects the type on to a screen - but she still faces many challenges.

Lindsay said: "She suffers weekly migraines and throws up when she comes home from school because she's straining to see beyond her visual capacity.

"It's difficult because she's discovering how different she is from the other people around her at school.

"She's having quite a hard time mentally as she doesn't want to be different to anyone else."

Katy has also developed a fear of dogs, because she worries about unknown movement around her, and is often scared at night.

Lindsay said: "When I ask her why she's so scared, she says, 'Mummy, I'm scared if I close my eyes when I wake in the morning I won't be able to see anything.'" Lindsay wishes there was psychological support for her brave young girl to help her deal with her fears.

But she is confident Katy's strong personality will help her to keep making amazing progress.

She enjoyed going to the Commonwealth Games and her sporting hero is visually impaired sprinting champion Libby Clegg.

Lindsay said: "Katy worships her and also loved the visually impaired cyclists.

"They've inspired her and shown her what's possible to achieve in life, even if you can't see.

"She says maybe she'll be a runner or a cyclist.

"Katy's personality will see her through. She is such an extrovert and it will carry her through this."

She gets into the beat of the music and figures it out even though she can't see anyone to copy the steps MUM LINDSAY

CAPTION(S):

GRACEFUL Strictly fan Katy Orr shows off some of her dance moves

FA F MILY H ILY OLIDAY At Disneyland shortly after young Katy lost her sight At Disneyland shortly after young Katy lost her sight

THIRD BIRTHDAY Last picture of Katy while she was still able to see Last picture of Katy while she was still able to see
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 3, 2014
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