Shaelin Shakespeare is a six year old girl born on December 28, 2009 who is diagnosed with LCA and the NMNAT1 gene mutation. Shaelin had limited vision but the vision she has has been stable and remained the same for approximately the the last two years. After two rounds of genetic testing from the Scheie Eye Institute at the University if of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia Shaelin was officially diagnosed with LCA and the NMNAT1 mutation at four years of age. She is a tactual learner and uses a cane in unfamiliar environments. Shaelin can recognize all of the letters of the alphabet and write them from visual memory accurately but Braille is much easier and faster. She lives in Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania in the United States, which is about 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh. She lives with her mom Stefanie and two older sisters, Tamia, 11 and Kira, 9. Shaelin loves animals and has two cats and a dog. She enjoys riding horses,swimming,crafts, playing outside, music, and is a very creative and imaginative young lady who is always making up stories and songs. She aspires to be a nurse when she is older and is very attentive and nurturing to those around her, especially her classmates.
Shaelin attended the Western Pennsylvania School for blind children from her third birthday until June 2016, during her last semester at the school she began transitioning to her home district three days a week for kindergarten and will be enrolled full time there in the fall, entering first grade. While enrolled there she learned to read and write Braille and was beginning to work with the abacus for advanced math problems. Shaelin also was nominated as student of the month for the month of May 2016 because of her accomplishments using her Braille and abacus skills as well as her advancement with her orientation and mobility lessons and her desire to learn and help others.