Children possess a unique sense of optimism and ability to adapt to challenging situations. Joey, a 12-year-old boy with a progressive eye condition, demonstrates this optimism as he navigates life while losing his central vision. During a recent video lesson, Joey was asked to braille a sentence stating his favorite thing. His answer was, “My favorite thing is my whole life,” which emphasizes the tremendous gratitude he feels for life, family, opportunity, and all that he can do.
Two things that Joey does very well are playing the piano and writing braille. He had to find new ways to continue learning during the pandemic. He was encouraged to view piano music websites and select a piece he would like to play. Joey chose Ave Maria and used a strategy of playing a measure at a time after listening to the instructor play the melody on the clarinet. Joey’s listening and memorization skills enabled him to play the four-page piece flawlessly, and develop wonderful confidence in his musical ability. He played Ave Maria for his fellow campers and shared his strategy of learning to play by ear.
Braille is similar to piano in that it requires striking a key, isolating the fingers, and communicating with others. The second half of his weekly video lesson is dedicated to braille, where Joey demonstrates the same degree of enthusiasm and dedication. He remembers every detail that was taught the previous week and more. Joey’s attitude proved inspirational during this period of isolation and fear. His spirit is a reminder to embrace new opportunities for learning and to be grateful for our “whole lives” in spite of the difficulties we face.