This story highlights one of the 5 year old’s in our Children’s Program who we will refer to as “Justin”. Justin has been with Lighthouse of Collier for about 4 years. In that time, he has made many gains in areas such as orientation and mobility, social skills, and sensory/cognitive development.
His current goal is learning Braille. Unfortunately, Justin does not find Braille very fun! He would struggle to sit through lessons and focus. So I had to think outside the box to keep Justin engaged and begin learning his Braille. I remembered that Justin’s new favorite thing is Pokémon and decided to create a Braille Pokémon Battle game with homemade large Braille flashcards and homemade “Pokémon cards”, and even brought in some Pokémon plushies to make it even more exciting! The rules made it so that Justin had to find the first letter of each attack, in Braille, in order to battle. He absolutely loved it, and began to even get excited to find the letters! He now anxiously awaits instruction each week.
Lighthouse of Collier started a music braille program and invited James to participate. James recently experienced the aha! moment of reading basic braille notes and playing them on a piano. He begins band camp next week and has already obtained copies of his print music to begin the process of translation to braille.
Aaron is a four year old boy living in Immokalee who has a progressive eye condition that has resulted in congenital cataracts in both eyes. Upon our first meeting, it was clear that he would be a Braille reader in the future so we spent much time over the past year working on Pre-Braille skills, including tactual discrimination. He made a lot of progress over that time.
Now he is beginning to work on the Braille alphabet which has proven to be a challenge. We have had a hard time finding ways to make the Braille alphabet fun and engaging for Aaron so he wants to focus and work on it.
As a new client with the Lighthouse in 2013, single, totally blind, and having just moved from Chicago to Naples, Susan required extensive orientation and mobility support. After several months of instruction, Susan learned to navigate her apartment community and nearby shopping areas. She also gained an understanding of the city layout after being provided with her own tactile/braille map of Naples.
Susan became a familiar face at the Lighthouse. She attended braille classes, pursued technology training for JAWS screen reading and voiceover, and received one-on-one lessons to learn skills such as using her Instant Pot, creating calendar appointments through her Google Home Mini, and help with tips to sort and identify her medications. Over time, Susan’s technology skills were so advanced that she was one of only a few clients who had mastered the ability to play podcasts and free library movies on her iPhone.
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.
Purchase Seeing Beyond Blindness
If you would like to own one of these cocktail table books, please donate a suggested selling price of $35.00 to Lighthouse of Collier and we will send you one straight away.
Lighthouse of Collier dedicated the book to Art Bookbinder, a man who could see beyond blindness. He was a great friend and leader. May he rest in peace. August 1942 – April 2020.