KEEPING THE DREAM OF LITERACY ALIVE
A year and a half sounds like a long time. Especially looking back at how long Jess stayed at the school for the blind. Multiple times I have retraced my timeline to double and triple check myself because it seems like a little blip in time that Jess was away at the school. After The Nightmare introduction she had to the school, it seems unimaginable that she would have been there for a year and a half.
Yet, she was there that long. Jess stuck it out that long because she wanted to. She had determination. She wanted desperately to establish herself as ‘independent’ and have her own identity separate from her family. There was a reason she was able to hang in there as long as she did to work on that independence. She woke up from the nightmare and moved into a Daydream.
The Daydream had been observing from the sidelines all of the ugliness that Jessica had been experiencing. A little at a time, she started pulling Jess out of the classroom and worked with her on different tasks. Eventually, the Daydream convinced the right people at the school that Jess needed to move to another classroom. After that, her school experience turned around. Jess loved her new teacher, settled into a routine, and made wonderful progress in the classroom. Among other things, this is where Jess learned to type words on an adaptive keyboard.
In this lesson, Jessica visually reads the card, then types the word. When she taps the enter key, it reads the word to her if she has typed it correctly.
At this same time, Jess was also learning to read Braille. First, she read us her name. She had first been introduced to her name in Braille when she was in elementary school, so that was pretty low stress.
Expanding on Jessica’s Braille skills was surely a painstaking process for the teacher, who must have had lots and lots of patience.This same visit to the school was the first time we observed Jessica reading sentences written in Braille. Even though her frustrations are evident (and she had memorized the sentence) it was exciting to see the work in process.
About a month later, Jess brought Braille homework with her when she came home for the holidays. She had become much more swift with reading words. Jess loved to be recorded so she could go back and listen to herself 🙂
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> To Braille (told you so!) <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
I always knew she could do it!
It was a victory, though a bitter-sweet one. By the time this video was taken, she was 17 years old. Way beyond prime time to instill a love of reading. Past the age where she would be interested in reading beginner readers for little children. Nearing that dreadful age of 18 when many schools want to stop focusing on academics and move towards vocational training.
But, for the time being, we chose to rejoice in the victory.
* DISCLAIMER: This is how Jessica and our family perceived the experience and events that occurred as specifically related to Jess being at this school. It does not necessarily represent the experience of other students at that school as a whole.