Sam's First Day
Once in a while, I see something that I just have to share. A case in point is something from my friend Sarah. I got to spend a little time with her, her husband Ben, and of course, their son Sam at a convention in Orlando this summer. Over lunch, Sam was singing about the “itsy bitsy spider.” After several run throughs, I decided to try to teach him about London Bridge. As it came falling down, Sam informed me, with enthusiasm and volume, that the spider continued to climb the water spout, and London Bridge would fall without his notice.
Ben and Sarah laughed at my attempt to expand Sam’s musical repertoire, and the lunch was great fun. Now Sam is starting school. The following comes from what Sarah posted on her Facebook page. It is refreshing. I hope that all of our blind and visually impaired children have this experience.
I'm so floored by the care and attention the West Allis school district provides to special needs kiddos. This is kind of a long (let me count the ways) post, so thanks for your patience.
I knew when we went to our open house last week, that Sam's teacher and vision specialists honestly loved their jobs. They couldn't wait to show us the giant Braille-numbered calendar his Braille teacher purchased, so that he could learn the layout of the days of the week, and feel the Braille dates while all the other kids learned from the print one. It even has Velcro cards with tactile pictures, like a sunshine for sunny days, a cloud for cloudy, a birthday cake, and holiday pictures. He will be very familiar with braille numbers years before he's expected to bust out an addition problem on a Braille writer.
They showed me they had added textured squares to mark the stations at the activity tables. Everyone has something tactile to mark their place on the waiting bench before they go in to class, so it's not just Sam's spot being singled out as needing a marker. His mobility instructor meets him when he gets on and off his bus so he can practice good cane skills and help him learn to find the classroom and his backpack hook. The principal had bright stripes painted along the edges of curbs and steps outside the school so Sam could pick them out more easily.
His Braille teacher told me earlier she went a little crazy over the summer picking out age-appropriate Braille books and even a new, cutting edge closed circuit TV which magnifies print and pictures if that proves useful for Sam as it was for me growing up. I reemphasized Braille at the open house because I am an advocate of introducing it even in the very early years. I was then told the TVIs had forgotten to mention the Braille coloring books and that they were Brailing everything important in the classroom. The mobility instructor then brought out a packet of pre-made Braille labels for things like 'door' 'bedroom' and 'window' to plaster all over my house if I really was taking this Braille thing seriously. Wow. KABOOM! So, yeah. Plenty to be impressed about with Sam's new teachers. Oh...and said mobility instructor has been texting me and sending pictures and videos of Sam enjoying school. Not that she'll keep it up every day or anything, but, still: does a mommy's heart good.
All I can say to follow Sarah’s post, is nice Job teachers, and what a great start for Sam.