Friday, July 07, 2006

Holidays and the Blind Child

Like many blind and visually impaired people, my son 'Amigo' has some usable vision. He still reads Braille and walks with a white cane, but the limited vision he has helps him get around and helps him watch football games on TV (a very useful skill for a teenager in Wisconsin). When he was a baby, I wondered if he would enjoy some of the “normal” holiday fare, such as parades and fireworks.
We took him to parades when he was very young. The little blind baby that he was enjoyed the marching bands, but was startled to pieces by the sudden loud sirens and honks from the fire trucks and army vehicles. We learned to cover his ears, and as soon as he was old enough, give him a heads-up to know what was coming.
Now, at 15, he enjoys the horns as much as anyone. He even waves or honks his bicycle horn at the drivers and tries to get them to honk back. The ah-ooga horns from the antique cars are a favorite. Somehow, he can tell what’s coming. Whether it’s the general shape of the vehicle or the rattle and rumble of the different engines, he knows if a politician’s convertible or a fire truck or a Humvee is passing in front of us.
His limited vision allows him to see items of high contrast, especially light on dark. Yes, this is ideal for fireworks. He is extremely sensitive to noise, though, so we usually choose to watch the fireworks from a distance – at a school playground about a half mile from the park. The changes in sounds (boom, bang, crash, crackle) are more bearable at this distance. I’ll never know exactly how much he can see, but he seems to know when they’re exploding in the sky. He reacts to the excitement of the crowd, too, and enjoys the whole event.
I know people look at us and wonder why we bother to bring the child with a white cane to a visual display like this. When he was younger, I wondered, too, but over the years we’ve learned to make our own way in these holiday traditions, and never to assume anything.

Update: This post has been entered in Scribbit's Write-Away contest for June, 2007

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Blogger Scribbit said...

Thanks for entering this Daisy, you have so many wonderful things to say and record.

6/02/2007 10:33 PM  
Blogger Ice Cream said...

How lovely. I especially loved that last paragraph, I have felt that way about bringing my many children with me everywhere I go. I too had to learn not to assume and just enjoy.

6/06/2007 10:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is such a beautiful entry. It brought tears to my eyes and how you dip so subtly in and out of the child dimension and in and out of you.

6/19/2007 3:19 PM  
Blogger Patois42 said...

I love this. What a great entry for Scribbit's contest! You and your family sound like you know exactly what to do.

6/22/2007 11:04 AM  

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