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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Beep boy

Jude is no different from his brothers before him.  Jude hears the fun sounds his brothers' activities create and he too wants to laugh and scream in excitement.  Jude is no different from any other little boy his age when it comes to being active and playing with others.  Unfortunately Jude is different and at a major disadvantage when it comes to how these games are designed.

As Jude's dad, I've been sensitive to this reality since his birth and diagnosis.  His mother and I never want there to be two worlds in our house; one world for sighted play, where Jude sit unaware on the sidelines, and a second world where Jude plays his games without the interaction of others.

Recently Jude has become much more active and his interest in joining his brothers at the park or in the backyard is apparent.  He will hear their ruckus and run toward it with a squeal of delight, propelling his body into the pile.  The older boys do a pretty good job including and extending offers for Jude to join.  Fortunately most games our older boys play devolve into a form of wrestling- which Jude loves.

In the early fall we began playing a form of hide and seek in the backyard we call "beep."  Simply put, Jude has to chase the beeps our voices create until he gets each one of us.  Jude's sound location is strong and the game gets him running and worn out.  Judging by the smiles on all our faces, the game is fun for all.

The Children's Center for the Visually Impaired gave us our first beep ball the other day.  The ball, as you might assume, has a button to trigger a loud and constant beep.  It is sturdy material and can take a bit of abuse from throwing and kicking and rolling and bouncing- we've discovered...  And, it's created some fun afternoons for us.

Like the game "beep" we play a game with the ball, attempting to localize it by sound.  This new game is a kind of keep away, where one person rolls the ball away from the group.  Jude is told to find the ball, while I attempt to keep the older brothers away from it by blocking them.  If Jude gets to it before the boys, Jude "wins" - meaning I throw him up in the air, which he loves.

Keeping Jude active is a focus of ours.  But, in front of that focus is keeping Jude in the game when he can, especially with his family.  Just as I have memories of playing with my family, I want Jude to create his own.  So far so good.

St. Jude: Pray for us.