Friday, June 24, 2011

Blind Services

We had no idea how many resources were available to Deacon because of his "legally blind" diagnosis. I feel like we are just beginning to get our feet wet, but this is the perfect time to share what we have learned this far, before we have so much info that it is overwhelming to write (and for you to read).

The street sign above was the easiest to obtain. Our street is adjacent to the entrance to our neighborhood. Frequent traffic and fast drivers have been a complaint of many parents on our street, so I figured a sign might slow some of the speeders down. I called City Hall and asked who I needed to talk to for getting a "blind child" sign posted. They connected me to the right person in Public Works. Within a week or so a sign was up, no documentation needed or anything.

I have said it before, but Deacon's VI (visual impairment) Teacher is a-mazing! She has taught us so much, and now that she is coming to our house for therapy for the summer, we are learning so much more! The craziest thing is that Deacon is much more receptive to new items if you introduce them to his feet first! lol She compares putting new objects in his hands to going inside a haunted house where they ask you to stick your hand into a box with an unknown object inside, kinda scary. It is much less intimidating to place it on his bare feet first, then he will reach down and touch it with his hands. She has also showed us Deacon's motivation for anything with movement and light, which explains why he has always liked the television. This has helped us pick the best toys for him to play with, and she even found spots in our house that he goes to most often to place the toys. Yes, our house looks like a playground!

She also connected us with Texas Division for Blind Services, part of DARS. We just met with them last week, so I don't know everything they can do, but they told me that they take children and their families on field trips/vacations to places that cater to visually impaired, and they will also purchase products suggested by VI Teachers. They just ordered Deacon this goody, for close to $200, at no cost to us:

These two items work together, helping Deacon to turn electronic devices on/off easily. The switch plugs into the power strip. When the button is pushed all items that are plugged into the power strip turn on. This will allow him to turn on the radio, help with cooking in the kitchen, and operate any other electronics associated with daily living.

We have also been given a couple of these mats for eating. They are basically latex sheets that lay on his tray and give contrast to the food for easy tracking and grabbing.

(Notice any new tricks Deacon has learned??)

We have been working hard to find items that catch his attention and keep him engaged. These mirrors were like $5 each at Target, and were easily installed at his level.

Deacon got this toy at Christmas time, and since moving it by our backdoor where he likes to hang out, it gets used constantly!

You may remember this from Deacon's birthday. This is BY FAR his favorite toy; he is borderline obsessive. It is low to the ground, making it safe for low-vision children to practice their balance on the uneven surface and climbing on and off.

This was the very first toy for Deacon to show interest in after the seizures stopped. It spins, plays, music, and has flashing lights, what's not to love? Best of all, it activates with very little effort.

Oh, how I love this! It has now become my favorite gift to buy expecting mothers! We have used it with Deacon from day 1 because the white noise it plays blocks out all sound of Big Brother and James screaming in the next room. It has an outlet, so you don't have to worry about batteries dying either. And as Deacon's vision has improved, he loves the lights and movement of the projector on the ceiling, and its 3 different scene discs.

After finding out that we may be able to get some items purchased, I have spent some time googling and have added these to Deacon's wishlist:

Deacon loves banging, all things metallic, and noise; this is so perfect!

It has a suction cup at the base and a large lip on the side to help with scooping.

Miniature Disco Ball
We went to the skating rink this week and Deacon started crying when they turned the disco ball off!

Looks pretty basic, but got wonderful reviews from parents with low vision children. It's soft, lights up, and plays music.

Deacon had so much fun with the parachute at Little Gym!

Clip Fan
This would go great with his new power strip!

Deacon had his check-up with the neuro-opthamologist today. She could hardly believe the progress he has made, or really even that he is the same kid! On her report she wrote, "Vision much improved. Cortical Visual Impairment definitely improving. His fixing and following and visual attention has significantly improved."

We are utilizing every resource we can because I have a feeling he won't be needing them for long!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those are some very cool gadgets!