Literacy Lollapalooza

This past spring, our family attended an event at our local Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired called Literacy Lollapalooza.  This all day workshop type event included a variety of sessions designed to promote literacy in children with visual impairments.  One of the activities that was talked about in a couple of the sessions was making your own book, specifically making a book about something in your childs life, an “experience book.”  You could write a book about a visit to grandma’s or a trip to the zoo.  You could make a book about a daily routine like making dinner or bath time.  You can draw the pictures for your book, use real photographs or even cut pictures out of ads and magazines.  Let your child help as much as possible by drawing or pasting pictures, putting pages in order, even providing the words for the story by telling you what a picture is about.

The book we made with Lyra is called Lyra Plays Outside.  It’s about all the things she has to do before she gets to go outside and play, like putting on sunscreen and her hat. 🙂  Lyra LOVES her new book!  She asks to read it a million times a day and she is already beginning to memorize it.  Sometimes she can predict what the next page is going to say and says it out loud before I have a chance to read it. We made 2 versions, one on blue card stock and one on yellow card stock.  We weren’t sure which one she would prefer as far as contrast and glare.

To see what her storybook was about, click below to watch the “movie” inspired by the book.  😛 LOL

Lyra Plays Outside

Language Development

Most parents know how hard it can be to get your child to “perform” on command, but I decided to give it a shot. 😛 Here is Lyra showing off some of the words she’s learned over the last couple of months.   She has been receiving regular speech therapy for the last month.  Lyra even mentions her speech therapists name, Scott, in the video…hmmmmm…  I swear it was just a coincidence.  😀

Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On

Okay so I found some time to make this video.

This is my attempt at zooming in on Lyra’s eyes so that you can see the degree/severity of her nystagmus. I apologize for my crappy camcorder skills. Between me not holding the camera steady and Lyra’s wiggling, it’s hard to know what shaking is actually her nystagmus. Every once in a while I was able to catch her holding still with her eyes wide open. Look for those moments and then you should see her nystagmus.

The first part of the video was filmed in the early afternoon and the second half was right before her bedtime. Sometimes her nystagmus is more noticeable when she is tired. See if you can tell a difference. I couldn’t. 😛

Nevermind my singing…LOL… I promise I really do have a degree in music education. 😛

Early Session with TVI and OT

This is an older video, but it’s a good one to have on here for everyone to see. This is of one of Lyra’s first few sessions, either 3rd or 4th, with her Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and Occupational Therapist (OT). She is 5 and a half months old. Her TVI and OT always came together for Lyra’s sessions for about the first 6 weeks.

A Tisket, a Tasket, a Baby in a Basket

These are the kinds of things that Daddies teach their babies… You can never have too many videos of Lyra. : ) This is her showing off her new trick; and then later, just plain showing off. Here are the lyrics to the song she is attempting to sing. It is our special version of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ that we learned from Lyra’s teacher, Miss Kim.

Row row row your boat
Gently to the shore
If you see a lion
Don’t forget to roar…ROARRR!

Row row row your boat
Gently down the stream
If you see an alligator
Don’t forget to scream…AHHHH!

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Update on Vision and Motor Skills

Lyra wears her glasses now all the time, rarely taking them off except for at night. This is wonderful, however now they are nearly too small for her. They are beginning to leave marks on her nose where they are too tight, and they barely reach over her ears. This STINKS! I can’t believe we are already going to have to spend another $200+ for a new pair of glasses. Eventually, thank goodness, she won’t be growing so fast and her glasses won’t need to be replaced as often.

At close distances, those less than 6 feet or so, she seems to be doing great. I don’t notice her putting books right up to her nose anymore. She does stand/sit fairly close to the TV, but then again, so do many fully sighted toddlers. 🙂 I’m anxious to see how she’ll do this spring when she can play outside. How far away can she see a tree, or a car driving by, or a cow, or a flower, or all the other outside things that she hasn’t learned about? 🙁

Her next appointment with her pediatric ophthalmologist is in March. (YES! I finally learned how to spell that word correctly) Anyway, we’ll probably try to wait until then to get her new glasses, in case her prescription changes. Everything else looks good. I rarely see the nystagmus anymore and we have not seen her strabismus coming back.

It is much easier to tell you how Lyra is doing with her vision, fine motor, and gross motor skills by showing you. Here are 3 different videos demonstrating Lyra’s various abilities and quirks. You’ll see in the first video, based on the appearance of the floor, that there’s definitely a reason why the nursery workers at church have nicknamed her the Platinum Tornado. 😀
Notice in the second video how inconsistent her O&M skills can be. She uses her vision and weaves through a room full of toys perfectly one time and then a minute later walk through the exact same path and fall all over the place. It’s hard not to laugh. She is too cute!

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Albinism Awareness

Although I haven’t been that vocal about it on this site, albinism awareness is something that is extremely important to me. One topic in particular that I have very strong opinions about is how albinism is portrayed on TV shows and in movies. I will educate everyone I know or ever meet in the hopes of making life a little easier for Lyra and other children with albinism.
Some people argue that the treatment of albinism in movies and on tv is no different than any other condition or disability. That’s not true. There are some movies out there that inaccurately portray other conditions/disabilities, but for every inaccurate portrayal, you can find a movie with an ACCURATE portrayal of that same condition/disability. That’s not the case with albinism. With the exception of the movie The Albino Code, written and directed by NOAH member Dennis Hurley, there are no movies out there that present an accurate portrayal of a person with albinism. This has been the largest contributing factor to society’s overall lack of understanding of albinism and false perception of “albinos.” The characters with albinism people have seen in movies have ALL been negative; evil, scary, freakish, mentally challenged…the list goes on. Can you IMAGINE if someone tried to make a movie about an evil character with autism…or a freaky mutant with Down Syndrome? That would NEVER happen, because it’s WRONG. Why is it okay with albinism?
It’s NOT okay!!!

Please view my slide show:

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Thank you to all of the parents for sending me pictures of your beautiful children. I couldn’t have made this slide show without your help. 🙂

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work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.