Night, Night with Perkins Panda

A goodnight story is ingrained in me as something that a parent does with their child. However, Ronan has resisted any book and would always close the book if one tried to read it. Christmas brought Perkins Panda to our house and that goodnight story to our bedtime routine. Perkins Panda is a series of three books along with a matching stuffed bear (or rather Panda). His nobbly nose can be felt in the first book as well as on the bear. The second book keeps Ronan busy getting him to fill up Perkin’s backpack with accoutrements for a picnic … Read more

The Orange Juice-ness of Orange Juice

About two months ago we attended VICTA’s Early Years Weekend at New College Worcester. We had the opportunity to attend a workshop by Gwyn of Positive Eye. She spent a lot of time talking about and demonstrating how you get the -ness of an object: the spoon-ness of spoon or the shoe-ness of shoe. I spent the last month pondering how we could do this with Ronan. As much as Ronan loves playing with the world – flushing the toilet, turning on the washing machine, climbing up and down his chair – it is hard to engage him in more structured, … Read more

The Amber Trust: Music for blind and partially sighted children

The Amber Trust is a charity set up to fund and support music for blind and partially sighted babies and children. Their tag line is that music is a life line, not a past time. They fund instruments and music lessons, as well as provide advice from engaging a blind baby with music to the complications of getting braille music arranged. Eighteen months ago I very tentatively sent an email to the Amber Trust lead, Professor Adam Ockelford. I asked him what should I do with my child who sang constantly, had taught himself to play piano, but was totally … Read more

A Mobility Lesson with Daniel Kish

If you haven’t heard of Daniel Kish, then watch his TED talk. He is most famous for his use of Flash Sonar. This is a form of echolocation, the navigation mechanism of bats, in which the reflection of sound waves is used to navigate. Alongside Daniel’s spectacular skills in this area, he also advocates for an expectation of complete independent mobility in blind children. While I had thought my expectations were high, I realised that they could go a lot higher. Ronan had the luck to spend a day with Daniel when he was visiting a group of children in … Read more

Getting to those first words

Ronan made his first word like utterance at the age of 15 months. It sounded like “ge”. Maybe it meant yes or maybe again. By the time Ronan was 2.5, he had a sound for yes, no, and a very clear, “again”. At three, Ronan was still not talking.  Now almost 3.5, the sounds and language are coming quickly. Here is our story to getting those first words. We took Ronan to the Developmental Vision clinic at 19 months to get their advice. They told us that he should do more container play. Despite our best efforts (see blog), we … Read more

Anopthalmic Socket Expansion and Cranial Osteopathy

                If a child is born without eyes (anopthalmic), then socket expansion is recommended. An expander is put into the socket, which gradually expands, creating space in the tissue to enable a false eye to be fitted at a later age. The more important aspect, according to our doctors, was the role of the expander in helping the face grow symmetrically. After several failed attempts in socket expansion (leading to no less than 7 general anaesthetics in Ronan’s first year!), we were desperate for other alternatives.  The doctors continued to highlight to us … Read more

Ronan’s transition from cot to bed

Ronan has recently reached three and we knew that we couldn’t keep him in a cot much longer. One day he would discover he could get over the side and we’d be in trouble. Yet, we could not imagine how we’d keep him in a bed. He tended to sleep wedged into one corner with his feet in the air. As the night would progress, he’d make his way around the different corners without any sense of their being a top and bottom of the bed. We’d never had any success keeping him in the bed with us either, as … Read more

Rody, Rody, don’t you stop!

Meet Rody, an inflatable horse (donkey). He is at once, a rocking horse, space hopper, climbing frame, airplane entertainer, seat on crowded subway, and Ronan’s best friend. Ronan first met Rody when he was 16 months old. We’d borrowed him from my brother when visiting. Now coming towards 3.5, Ronan still loves Rody. No matter where we are Ronan can get the movement that he needs, rocking back and forth or bouncing up and down. Rody has provided a productive outlet for Ronan’s need to rock, particularly in a confined space, like an airplane (yes – Rody fits in the … Read more

Choosing Ronan’s First Mobility Cane

Getting a cane seemed almost like a right of passage for Ronan into a world a freedom. A world in which he could be confident to go around as he pleased. He has been quite good at doing what he pleases for some time now, but mobility outside the house was a bit trickier. We tried quite a few canes before we got it right. The first cane we tried was from National Federation for the Blind (NFB) as recommended by Joseph Cutter in Independent Movement and Travel in Blind Children. It is extremely light with a small grip. However, … Read more

Computational Sciences for our Visually Impaired Kids

In September 2015, the UK introduced a new computing curriculum that spans from reception class to A level (ages 4 to 18). The curriculum aims to go beyond teaching children how to use computers, and help them learn to think like computational scientists. For example, children are prompted to learn how to solve problems with resource constraints. In our everyday world, that might be as mundane as how to feed oneself for a week on a particular budget. In a computational world, it will be solving problems such as how can one search billions of webpages on the internet in … Read more