Giving Music Therapy a Go

Our QTVI recommended music therapy for Ronan when he was about 18 months. Through word of mouth we found a Greek music therapist who had just finished his degree. We ask him whether he wanted a challenge – music therapy for a very young blind child in Greek. Fortunately, he did. The music therapy sessions starts with the music therapy song to bring focus to the coming activities. A number of activities follow depending on what Ronan asks for: there are action songs which the music therapist accompanies on the ukulele or the piano; there is sound play to stimulate … Read more

Our First Story Box

Over the last three months we have been developing a storytelling ritual after dinner. Now that it is the highlight of the day, Niki and I have the challenge of coming up with new stories. The latest one is Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This time we decided to experiment with an object box to accompany the story. We decided to change the story a bit to focus on texture. The bowls are metallic, plastic, and wooden. The beds are fury, rough, and silky soft. For each of these bits, we hand Ronan an appropriate object or texture. While this … Read more

The Black Book of Colors

Last year while on holiday, my mother came home very excited from the museum shop waving a book. It turned out to be The Black Book of Colors. This is an artistic book that tries to give an impression of what color is like for blind people – “Red is sour like unripe strawberries and as sweet as watermelon. It hurts when he finds it on his scraped knee.” The pages are all black, with the short text in white on the left page and a relief image on the right. The text is also in braille if you look … Read more

Attending Swimming Lessons

Swimming is good for all children, but came particularly recommended by our physiotherapist for developing strength and posture.We had hoped to take Ronan swimming from six weeks old, but the multiple surgeries he had made this not possible. We started taking Ronan to the pool around 16 months. He loved jumping up and down and playing row row row your boat. We did not do much more than that. In September, we started proper swimming lessons. Niki was taught the swim position and from there things moved quickly. They practiced jumping into the pool and swimming around to hold onto … Read more

Storytelling the Steiner Way

ThreeLittlePigs2 Ronan has recently started at the Cambridge Steiner School in their Parent and Child group for children under 2.5 years. We were drawn to Steiner philosophy of teaching as it is by nature multi-sensory and therefore well suited to a blind child. An important part of Steiner education is storytelling. Stories are told repeatedly to allow the child to really imbibe the vocabulary and cultural concepts that it contains. We wanted to tried this approach with Ronan, to provide an additional activity to reading books which did not require Ronan to be stationary. We started with The Three Little Pigs. Little … Read more

Container Play: Playing with Pots

Container play is high on the list of most QTVIs. We’d have advice from multiple people to try and focus Ronan on container play since he was 15 months. While he was happy taking things out of containers, we struggle to get him to put things back in containers. We’d tried blocks in wooden containers and keys in big metal soup pots. But — it was not to be. Recently, inspired by a suggestion of our QTVI, we found the way to container play. Recipe = Pot with Lid Two spoons A little samba Favourite Nursery Rhyme See video for … Read more

Life with an Octopus

  We have purchased many toys in the last year to try and stimulate different parts of Ronan’s world and help him develop. Some are successful and others not. It is only recently that we’ve realised that some toys lend themselves to a mileu of games that can be changed as Ronan grows. The Octopus, a Lamaze toy whose legs each produce a note on the scale when squeezed and a scent, has been one of the those toys. Our first game, around 14 months, was to hold onto it and move it around – it is pretty big for … Read more

Braille here, there, and everywhere

    We have been busy using Marty, the SMART Brailler that we’ve gotten on loan through the SMART Brailler Backpacking programme to Braille up Ronan’s environment. We did not stop with the books, but quickly moved onto Ronan’s toys. Inspired by our interactions with another Blind boy who made Braille labels for everything in his house, we thought we’d do the same for Ronan. We started with Ronan’s favourite toy, the Magic Mozart Cube. Each side of the cube plays a different instrument and they can be turned on and off to create a medley or a solo. It … Read more

Developing a Love for Reading

Ronan has finally taken a liking to books, but it has been a long road. The first book Ronan would even consider was one from the Usbourne Noisy Book series, called “The Little Children’s Music Book.” It has buttons on the right margin that play short melodies with different instruments with the final button bringing them all together for a short rift. While I do not think this book was intended for 1 year olds, the good quality music recordings caught Ronan’s attention. Ronan’s second book was the “Wheels on the Bus” from igloobooks. It had a single button in … Read more

Learning Braille from the experts

Niki has mastered the basics of Braille, but wanted to extend his knowledge. He decided to go to an expert, a seven year old blind boy who uses Braille on a daily basis for school. Niki and Theo put their SMART Braillers side by side and the lesson began. With incredible speed and fluency, Theo demonstrated the contracted Braille that he was learning. Uncontracted Braille represents every letter separately which can lead to very long documents. Contracted Braille uses dot combinations to represent common words or letter patterns, such an “and” or “ing.” The ease with which Theo brailled was … Read more