Monday, December 27, 2010

Adventures in Christmas

I love Christmas. I have since before I could remember.  Its genetic my father loved Christmas.  This year was more different then any other. It wasn't bad it was just different. With new things all a little different.

The tree never really got its decorating finishing this year.(it was half decorated poor angel never made it on top)    We put our tree in three season sun room  (off our living room) and this year I really wanted it in the living room this year.   We decided to again put it in the sun room this year and see how its goes. (there is a lot of benefits to it being in the sun room) I felt the tree in the living room would be closer so Abby could enjoy it more.  (We are going to have it in the living room next year) Well its cold in the sun room. (one of the reasons we put it there a frozen Christmas Tree doesn't go  We never really finished it.  I realized on Christmas Eve it wasn't finished. 

Abby has recently joined the children choir.  Part of my plan to bring her music since she has lost so much of her vision.  On Christmas Eve she sang and it went very  but there was this one part where the children all went to sit with their parents when I realized my daughter was 'stuck' up front.  It all worked out but I was so scared she was upset. (she was fine)  I was so proud of her though.  I let her 'go'.  She was independent enough walk in with her group.  I am so proud.  Its just always something that apart of what she does. There isn't some  normal child activity  where I can drop her off with out going through her vision disability.  

We got back from church and decorated a gingerbread house and made cookies. Abby was so cute and she took a bunch of pictures during our gingerbread house build.  She actually didn't do that bad.  We had a great night.  I took note how much she enjoyed the tactile activity of building. (new tradition for sure) Then they were sent off to bed.  

Christmas morning was like most how Christmas morning is for most children.  The only exception being when she got up and ran to the tree She said "where are the presents?"  I had placed the presents in front of the sun room door hoping Abby could see them better that way and she honestly didn't see them at all till I pointed them out to her. It was kinda fun when Abby asked me (very innocently) if there was less presents this year.  There wasn't she couldn't see them all at once. It was funny because I thought I over did a bit this year.  So next year tree in the living room so Abby knows right were to look.   

I thought everything changed this year and really it was just like its always been...a wonderful family Christmas (with a few lessons learned)  I realize I didn't make much point in this blog post.  I wanted to write about our first Christmas since Abby lost her vision.  

Happy Holidays Everyone.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Homework Struggles

Wow we struggled with Braille homework tonight.  She gets upset sometimes that everyone else doesn't have to do this work when she does.   She is learning so quickly though.  I am so proud of her.  Is amazing how much progress she makes in just a week.  

She has learned the whole Braille alphabet. She can write it and read it.  She has moved on to words and its a bit more of a struggle but she is learning quickly.  She is being introduced to Braille grade 2 . Braille grade 1 is the alphabet with the words spelled out with each letter.  Braille grade 2 uses contractions (shorter versions of words), like e is braille grade 2 for every.  

Its all a lot for Abby to take on but really she can handle it but like every child homework is not fun.  So mommy and Abby didn't' have a fun hour while we got through her assignment that should have taken her 20 minutes. 

She just likes to prove she is still very a much a normal 6 year old.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I am waiting.

I keep waiting for it to get easier.   Easier to watch Abby fall down a set of stairs in front of her school (very minor fall).  I keep waiting for my my heart to not sink when I realize Abby can't see me.  There are many times I forgot my daughter is visually impaired.  Then like a splash of cold water I am reminded.  Its always the same sad crushing feeling.

I love introducing my children to great art. Abby had her 6th birthday at a local art museum and it was a great party.  We also made a trip to another art museum in late spring were Abby loved sketching what she saw. It was so wonderful to watch her develop an appreciation of art. She noticed the details and the beauty.   Thats something that was taken from her.  Her ability to visually enjoy details.  It breaks me.
Abby enjoying art February and April of this year.

It will get easier right?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Braille Basics

Yesterday we took home a Perkins Brailler and today Abby got her first homework assignment from her TVI (Teacher of the Visually Impaired).  Its fun to learn this along with her.  Its amazing how much she is understanding.  Braille is going to open up lots of things for her. While she can see enlarged text is very difficult for her to get any fluency  from it and she can't read what she writes. Which is why the school is focusing on Braille instead of just magnifying her text. Abby's age is  also a factor since she was just at the beginning stages of literacy when she lost must of her sight.

The following picture is a Braille cell.

On the Brailler there is six keys that matches up a number in a braille cell.   So when Abby write an a lower case A she hits the 1 key. 
(pictures of Abby using Brailler) 

                                             (Abby in Braille using a lower case A)

Related links:
A video about the declining instruction in Braille
Braille Alphabet 
Braille Font

Monday, December 6, 2010

Life's New Words.

Teacher for the Vision Impaired
Orientation and Mobility
Long Cane
Extended Core Curriculum
Nemeth Code
These are just some of the new words and terms I have learned and become  part of my life the last few weeks. These are words that meant little to me before but now they have such a larger role in our life.

One of the big things Abby has done recent is last weekend she participated in a program at a local blind school.  She spent the whole weekend with other children with visual impairments.   It was amazing.  She also made some a special friendship.
Abby reading Braille
 Abby is learning Braille in school and is making great progress.  Abby is lucky because Braille instruction is in decline.  Braille is going to open up her world and keep her on grade level.  

Abby in a few weeks will be getting a cane to use to help her with getting around (especially in new environments)

So many big changes going on but all full of adventure and fun. Another parent sent me "Welcome to Holland" shortly after we received Abby's diagnosis and at the time It didn't seem to fit. It didn't make any sense to me.  Now .. now I get it.