By Guest Blogger Nicole Ducouer
Well, baby number two is on the way! We couldn’t be happier. Our son, Caden, is asking for a ‘brudder’. Daily, he tells me things his brudder will do at every stage of life. “Mom, my brudder will be able to play with trucks, but not until he is four like me.” “Mom, I will not change my brudder’s diaper. You can. I will go get the diapers for you.” “Mom, my brudder and my daddy will go see the monster trucks and you will have to stay home because you’re a girl.”
Now, the 2019 woman in me wants to say, “Kid, monster trucks are for girls too!”, but the 2019 exhausted mom in me is saying, “OK, honey. You three have fun and I’ll be home watching trash TV and catching up with my old friends Ben and Jerry.” We pick our battles, right?!
One thing Caden is very excited to do is read to the baby at night. Having a creative child who enjoys the magic of a book is a beautiful gift. Having a child who can actually see the words in a book… now that is something we don’t always stop and say thank you for.
According to Prevent Blindness North Carolina, more than 25,000 preschoolers and close to 350,000 school-age children have vision problems. As I wrote in my previous post, I recently left the news business to work at a non-profit called IFB Solutions, locally known as Industries for the Blind. We are the largest employer of people who are blind in the country, and we also offer a host of community programs and services for adults and children who are blind or visually impaired.
Programs like our Community Low Vision Centers, one of which is at our headquarters in Winston-Salem. In this space I find myself surrounded by technology and products that help people with low vision feel independent again. Talking watches, prescription bottle readers, magnifiers and CCTVs, which are monitors with cameras that enlarge print on things like menus, newspapers or books.
Our Community Low Vision Center is where I met Aiden Bradley. Aiden is seven years old, so just a few years older than Caden. He was born with vision challenges, and his family struggled to find resources to help him with everyday tasks at school and at home, until they found us. When I heard Aiden read a Dr. Seuss book using a CCTV my heart melted and I don’t think it was my hormones that caused it. It was the same book Caden and I read together at bedtime. It took years for Aiden’s mom to find help so that he could read this book to her. And now, the Center is making it possible for them to take this technology home with them, free of charge, so they can read together whenever they want. After almost seven years of trying to find the right programs and services for her son, Aiden’s mom had finally found it. Imagine the load that takes off her. The stress that has been wiped away knowing there are people out there who make it their mission to ensure others like Aiden achieve success.
Aiden’s assistive technology was made possible through IFB’s Focus on Literacy program which pairs school-age children with devices to use at home to complete school assignments and foster a love of reading. Focus on Literacy and IFB’s SEE (Student Enrichment Experience) Summer Camp and After-School experiences are designed specifically for children who are blind or low vision, and both are completely free thanks to generous donations and grants to IFB. Each year 150 children participate in the SEE experiences and over 150 families, like Aiden’s, receive assistive technology through Focus on Literacy.
If you have a child who has been diagnosed as low vision and would like to learn about the Focus on Literacy program and the SEE experiences, visit ifbsolutions.org or communitylowvision.org, or contact the Winston-Salem Community Low Vision Center at 336-245-5672.
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