Sunday, July 22, 2012

Play ball

Sometimes I can't help but think that Jude is really fortunate to have a lack of vision when considering the terrible baseball that his brothers and I have seen over the last month.  The Kansas City Royals have lost 15 of their last 20 games!  What a terrible dip from an otherwise almost-promising year.  As they say here in KC, there's always next year.

But seriously, anyone who knows our family knows we are busy bodies.  We like to go and do and experience.  It's been a great joy of mine to take Jude's older brothers to ball games throughout the summers and share some quality father-son bonding.  This was truly an early concern I held at Jude's birth.  How can we keep these, or should we keep these traditions?

The answer undoubtedly is YES, they are valuable for his brothers and surely will be valuable to Jude. Simply due to the fact that his experience will be a different one, shouldn't mean we forgo the opportunities.  Our approach has been to immerse Jude into the world, not save him from it.  There are ways, however, for us to enhance his experiences though.

We are fortunate to be in touch with many parents and teachers who are well aware of what it takes to get visually impaired children acquainted with the world.  I'll admit, it takes more time than with sighted kids because so much of their learning happens through observation.  Jude's learning happens through first hand experiencing through his remaining senses.

Some of the best advice we got early on was to be certain to take our visually impaired child out like you would any other child.  Take him to the zoo, but aid his experience, we were told.  One mom we are in touch with brings more realistic animal shaped toys to the zoo and, as they come to that animal's enclosure, the child feels the toy as siblings describe what they see it doing.

Although we aren't sure how best to enhance Jude's experiences at certain activities, we are willing to try things out.  We've been so lucky to be put in contact with individuals who know some great ways to start.  Otherwise, there's no book on this, it's just trial and error.  And, hopefully by the time Jude gets the idea behind baseball, the Royals will give him something to cheer about.

St. Jude: Pray for us.

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