Monday, September 9, 2013

Thank You..

I tried to think of a funny title but Thank you works best.   Thanks to everyone amazing support from all over the state, the country and even the world. Abby won Marty the Smart Brailler.
Braille liberates Abby.  It allows her to write and than read what she has written.  The SMART Brailler computerized features will really kick it up a notch with her learning.  She will know instantly that she made a mistake and she can fix it.

child's hands reading Braille.girl typing on a SMART brailler.

I am touched and overwhelmed by the support.  Abby is very exited. For the first moment she heard about a SMART Brailler visiting us she was very upset that it would be leaving after two weeks.  Today she knows when it arrives its staying. Not only am I excited for Abby to have this wonderful tool. I am excited I am going to be able to share my love of braille by sharing the SMART Brailler with other.

This is a little Thank you video that we made a few days ago.  Abby has been so busy since she found out that I am lucky she finished her homework much less give everyone a proper thank you.

video

I hope to have some kind of opportunity soon in the Concord NH area to give people a chance to check out the SMART Brailler.

Where you motivated by love shown with the voting for everyone.  Check out the old voting link towards the bottom.  because some of the other kids are holding fundraiser for SMART Braillers. Donate a $1, $5 or even more.  Lets keep that love going http://www.wonderbaby.org/backpacking-smart-brailler-vote

Monday, August 26, 2013

Adventures in Boston: Museum of Science

This is the second part of our Boston adventure a few weeks ago. (Part 1). We spent the morning at National Braille Press and made our way to the Museum of Science for lunch and than explore the museum. This museum is one of my favorite places in Boston.  I have been visiting it since I was a kid myself. One of my favorite childhood memories was sleeping overnight in the museum.  We used to go the museum a lot when the kids were little (a lot is code for once a year).  We haven't been since Abby became blind. I wish we hadn't waited.

girl withe cane in front of a case with a raccoon.
Abby wanted me to take this picture I forget why but its cute. 

The museum is a great place to bring children of many ages. (toddlers to old folks.) I didn't realize how wonderful an experience it would be for my blind daughter.

There was auto description stations throughout the museum
First off the museum is very accessible.  There are auto description stations throughout the museum. When I say through out I don't mean a FEW places I  mean MOST places where there is print.  There is so much fun things to interact with and and touch.  Oh the food in the cafe is very yummy. They have cool shows. Abby got to see an opossum up close (much closer in than she could get int he wild and its was ALIVE). Its just a great place to visit.  Here is a link about the museum's MANY accessible features. http://www.mos.org/accessibility

Here are some of the highlights. (only some, there was so many wonderful exhibits)

1. You can get up close and touch a huge engine.
a really big engine and a father showing his daughter.

2. You can put your brother on a bed of nails.
bed of names one kid on the bed one kid on the side
3. You can build a claw (there are some great  hands on engineering activities that different days. On our day it was build a claw. ) Check out the funny video of me telling Abby how her first claw was doing. (the second time it did pick up some of the items.)
girl with cane and boy building a claw video

4.  You can use really big manipulatives to  better understand balance and weight.
 4. You can explore a tactile graphic of a mountain (with braille)
2 diffferent kinds of tactile maps showing the same thing different ways. (3d vs 2d)

5. You can be silly when you see a big bug.
boy reacts with humor of a big bug

6. You can push a really big block of stone using science. 

girl pushing handle dad pointing at large stone attached to handle.
 7. You can make new friends.
girl with cane in front of a Triceratopsboy in front of a Triceratops

 8. You can put the whole world in your hands and have a blast.
girl and boy in front of a large globe.
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oooh don't forget to vote for Abby (Duffy Family) every day so she can win a Smart Brailler. http://www.wonderbaby.org/backpacking-smart-brailler-vote

Vote for Abby: Help bring Marty the Smart Brailler home.

Remember when we had Marty the Smart Brailler came for a visit in the spring? (our Marty posts in April) Well he visited 6 different families during him tour.  One of those families will win Marty to own. All the families are very deserving. Help us bring Marty home.   You can vote every day till September 8th (so two weeks)  please consider supporting Abby.

http://www.wonderbaby.org/backpacking-smart-brailler-vote

So I know you are asking How do I vote?  Just visit the voting site at Wonderbaby and pick Duffy Family ---> Vote---> http://www.wonderbaby.org/backpacking-smart-brailler-vote  

You can re-vote every 24 hours.  Vote and vote often. 

Abby using the smart brailler (its blue she is wearing a white shirt)

To find out more about the Perkins Smart Brailler visit http://www.perkins.org/smartbrailler/features-benefits.html

Thank you everyone for your support.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Adventures in Boston: National Braille Press

Last week the whole family had a wonderful day trip to Boston.   As I have explained before Boston isn't really that far from us but we generally only get a chance to go a few times a year.

We went to National Braille Press and the Museum of Science. I will be talking about our Museum of Science visit in my next blog post.

Abby's first ever braille book was from National Braille Press. NBP has been there from almost the very start.  I remember the excitement the book caused in the house. It was a regular print children's print book that has its binding removed (usually but not always) and braille added.  We have a cabinet almost full of these books. They are beautiful.  They generally release a new book every month as part of the Children's Braille Book Club  http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/programs/cbbc/cbbc.html .   They also offer many other titles for children.  National Braille Press one of my favorite sources of braille.
I have known for years that NBP offer tours of their facilities and I have wanted to go for years.  You can find out about how to book a tour your self here http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/aboutus/tour.html . The link also provides some information on the process of braille production.

So we parked near the science museum and than took the T (subway) to NBP.  It was easy and fun way to get there.  Its also great for Abby to get travel experience in a big city.

at the door of National Braille Press
 It was exciting when we got to the door because it was locked and you had ring the buzzer to get let in. But wait remember this is National Braille Press and on the door in braille was the directions to hit the buzzer.  Abby read the door for us and hit the buzzer so we could be let in.

exploring NBP titles
We were led into a conference room and encouraged to explore some of the titles that NBP sells.  Abby loved Make Way for Ducklings and read a few pages whiles we waited.  (its been added to our wish list) 



We than viewed a video about  National Braille Press.  Then were lead through all the departments including Transcription, Proofreading, Embossing, Pressing, Tactile Graphics and Finishing.  It was a wonderful learning experience and a lot of fun.   It was fascinating watching the big presses add braille from the plates.



I loved learning from the whole process. What was the biggest surprise was the level of work done by hand through out the process.  All the people we met from the different departments were so nice. It was an extra treat for them to have a braille reader as part of our party.   They were so kind to us and so wonderful with Abby.  



Abby and Sam were put to work at one point and they both loved that.  Abby said when it was all over her favorite part was the wonderful ladies down stairs and how nice they were to her and all the great things they showed her. I could really go on an on how wonderful everything was. We learned a lot and I really recommend a visit if you have a chance sometime.   Special locations  sometimes times have a mood, a vibe and this was one of those places . You couldn't help but feel the LOVE .. a pure JOY of braille through out the whole building.  Thank you to everyone at National Braille Press who gave our family such a wonderful experience. 

Abby being shown great stuff by one of the wonderful ladies in the basement. There was two that were very special to her. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Girl , The Cane and the Museum revisited.

I have been trying to figure out how to appropriately revisit this topic. I thought about doing a 'year later' post in August but I didn't want it to get lost in the back to school craziness.

You see late August of 2012 Abby  was denied entry into a museum with white cane. Yes that story.  I have been thinking a lot about it lately.

I have only posted about it twice on this blog. The original blog (http://visionfora.blogspot.com/2012/08/cane-denied-when-good-policy-fails.html)  and a very short follow up posting the link to one of the news stories related to it.  That it.. I have remained pretty quiet on the matter.  You can find a story I wrote about it in the most recent  Future Reflections https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr32/2/fr320213.htm .
screen shot of the story on Huffington Post
I shared and still share the story for two reasons.

1. To educate others that it wrong. Legally and morally.
2. To remind parents that it is important that BOTH parents have a basic understanding of ADA and their child's rights.

Search Blind Girl Museum. how sad that the top results on Google and Bing is about THIS story and not something more positive.

This topic is still  pretty raw for me.  Abby doesn't like to talk about it anymore.    The whole story went a little bit out of control. The story was not completely accurate but it never is.  I was extremely nervous during the TV interview and you can tell. I don't regret us saying yes to the media inquiries.  No child and No adult should ever have this happen to them. The sad thing is it happens every single day.  It more common for a guide dog to be illegally denied access into a public location but the same thing does happen with  canes. Just a lot less often.
Screenshot from the Daily Mail website in the UK
So what was August 27th 2012? To most most people it a blip in the long stream of stories it our mass media world.  To our family it was something quite different. While I knew Abby would be discriminated against because of her blindness there is no way to prepare yourself for it when it first happens.  

I also realized that while I already knew this I saw first hand how poor some people's view of the blind and visually impaired is.  To really get an idea of what I mean visit the Huffington Post article and read the comments.  (its an very old article in internet time so its not wise to make comments to them)  I saw comments about why would any blind person want to go to a museum. Who would let a kid bring a 'stick' into a museum.  That the museum was justified because blind kids (and blind people in general) could damage the exhibits. There was good responses to but it didn't soften the blow for ignorant ones. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/museum-apologizes-to-blind-girl_n_1846645.html

I get asked sometimes ..What was the result? What did the museum do?  They pretty much didn't respond to this story at all. The executive director talked to the media but never called or wrote us.  I realized that they were posturing themselves in case we filed a formal complaint. That was never my intention. I just didn't want it to happen again.  Abby is still very upset with the museum. It is over.  We have moved on.  I hope some parents and others were educated by the incident.  I could write many more blogs on this topic.  Like how Abby's cuteness had a lot to do with why the story spread and other topics but I simply can't talk about it anymore. Its over. So much good is going on. Now why couldn't my blog post about the braille summit get as much exposure?  The future of Braille is so much more important.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Whats going on at the NFB National Convention 2013?

RIGHT now this week The NFB National Convention is going on in Orlando Florida . Lots of great stuff is going on.  This year I am NOT at convention but hope to make it back again next year.

Abby speaking at 2012 NOPBC Annual Meeting at the NFB Convention

I am working really hard at keeping myself updated since I can't be there. I thought I would share what I know. I will be updating this post throughout the week all the way till it ends on Saturday July 6 2013 (so come back)  

Social Media 
Twitter hashtag search for convention tweets #nfb13 
Facebook hashtag search for Facebook posts #nfb13 (this is a new feature not used by users much)
National Federation of the Blind's twitter feed https://twitter.com/NFB_voice

NFB National Convention live feed 
Listen Live to events at the convention https://nfb.org/convention-streaming-schedule  
The feed will be active during the following times (EST)
Wednesday, July 3 
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. NFB Board Meeting

Thursday, July 4
9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. NFB General Session
2:00 - 5:00 p.m. NFB General Session

Friday, July 5
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. NFB General Session
2:00 - 5:00 p.m. NFB General Session

Saturday, July 6
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. NFB General Session
2:00 - 5:00 p.m. NFB General Session
7:00 - 10:00 p.m. Annual NFB Banquet

RNIB Insight Radio Podcasts 
This is a new thing this year and I hope RNIB does it again. 

Link to ALL RNIB Podcasts related the 2013 NFB National Convention (more podcasts are added each day)  http://www.insightradio.co.uk/podcast-feed.html?category=special_features%2Fnfb_convention_2013

Links to Parent Related Podcasts 
Monday July 1st NOPBC Conference: the Morning session that includes Dr Maurer's Kid Talk, Anil Lewis, Great panels of successful adults and students and Carlton Walker's pearl speech http://www.insightradio.co.uk/podcast-episode.html?category=special_features/nfb_convention_2013&name=2013-07-03_parents_conf-session_tx.mp3


Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Braille Summit: a Parent's Perspective.

About two months ago while browsing on the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (or NLS for short) website I tripped over information about an upcoming Braille Summit that NLS was having at the Perkins School for the Blind.

I read the following statement.
"NLS invites you to participate in the NLS Braille Summit at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, June 19−21, 2013, to help determine the best ways for libraries to promote and support braille literacy. The conference will bring together librarians, braille literacy professionals, braille readers, and other stakeholders"
 I first ignored it didn't say parents. Its not for me. Than went back and read it again.  I AM a stakeholder.  I have an interest in NLS's services.  I am a parent of a braille reader. We are serviced for NLS Braille books out of the Perkins Regional NLS Library.  It was the week the kids finish school.  I checked with my husband Chris and decided I could go. That I should go. I wouldn't be able to afford the hotel room. I would have to drive in to Boston area traffic every single day to get to Perkins but I decided to register.  (Perkins School for the Blind is about an hour and half drive on a good day)

So on June 19th to the 21st of June I drove each day to the Braille Summit. I am going to give a detailed (and make that wordy summery of my experience so I am  concerned I will lose some people who are busy.  So I ask you one thing. If you do anything watch the recording of the of the panel on Braille Literacy and Promotion http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZhRYsKs7Jj0

So on Wednesday June 19th I dropped Abby off at Track Camp (yes she went to track camp and loved it) got ready and drove to Perkins School in the early afternoon. The summit started after lunch. I was proud I made it on time.  I registered and they handed me name badge and packet that included the final agenda.

The cover of the agenda in big bold letters said:
THE FUTURE OF BRAILLE
Ok I did a quick double take when I saw that. All the other titles for the conference said "That All May Read"  This is just something about a just saying the term "The Future of Braille" that makes me light headed. This is serious. A title is just a title but it does set the stage for all things to follow.  

While the primary focus on the summit was on NLS and how to make its braille services better I really think it was much bigger than that.  I realized at time there discussions  that may change the landscape of the braille in the future. I don't mean like the changes with the adoption of UEB.  I mean on a much more larger and hard to express sense.  Truly "The Future of Braille"   I realized pretty quickly there there were people from all over the world from some of the major braille and blindness organizations and companies. I was just a parent. I am pretty certain I was the only "just a parent" there.  I wasn't the only parent of blind child but the only one that was there because of that role.  Everyone seemed to be impressed I was there but I knew I was nothing special. I did what any parents would have done if they were in my situation.  I knew there would have been more parents if it had been promoted to them, if many parents were not dealing with school ending and all that the start of summer does.

There were so many smart and interesting people. The simple fact I was able to be this close to so many interesting people that love braille as much and even more than I do made the trip more than worth it. Many of the people already knew each other very well and while that was interesting it was also awkward at times. At times I felt like I was crashing a class reunion. That wass ok I was there to do a job.  

Day 1. Welcomes, Braille Policy and a Panel of Braille Readers. 
There was many highlights.  I heard things like  braille is on life support.  Braille on demand, how the model of 'perfect braille' needs to be adjusted. How we need to focus on the positive things about braille and how the public view of braille NEEDS to change.
It was also announced that the US Department of Education released a policy letter on braille
OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Braille, June 19, 2013
download files MS Word (219KB) | PDF (292KB)

You can watch the first day session here (use headphones and volume way up due to some sound issues

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Break Out Sessions: At the end of the day we had our first  out of 6 break out sessions. They split the group into 4 smaller groups that were randomly assigned so you were in a new group for each of the 6 breakout sessions.  This was fun, interesting. We were able to share our ideas on what we thought were important with the topic. All idea were accepted and we given 3 tokens and we voted on the group's ideas in any way we wanted to. Meaning you could vote with one of your tokens for an idea or if it was really important you could vote all your tokens for one idea. The hard part was when your tokens were gone you had no more votes It was a neat and successful model.  On the last video on the conference they go over all the results from these break out sessions.  The breakout sesssions were really where most of the 'work' happened.  Two big topics that came up was for NLS to provide braille displays to all patrons (this is nothing more than an idea at this point)  and for NLS to do a Braille is Cool campaign. (again just an idea).

After the first day there was a reception I almost didn't go but decided to stay because the traffic would be really bad to get home and it may be a little better a little later.  I am glad I stayed. There was yummy food, interesting people and they announced the release of the 3rd edition of "World Braille Usage"  A book that I knew nothing about that first was released more than 50 years ago.
More information can be found here http://www.perkins.org/worldbraille/  It pretty much describes all the way that braille is used around the world.
World Braille Usage 3rd edition cover
Day 2.
A picture showing some of my traffic adventures The traffic isn't moving at all.
Ok this day I had quite an adventure in traffic and was an hour late so I missed the first panel on Braille Selection.  I made it in time for the first break out session. Whats cool is you can see that panel right now (remember there may be sound issues so make sure your sound is way up and this panel doesn't start till more than 10 minutes into this video.) I found the whole process of selecting which books get released very interesting. I am also a bit of book nerd and this was really interesting to hear the nuts and bolts.  There was an exciting pie in the sky panel on Braille Technology. All the panels had break out sessions that were on those topics.
Video 2 Book Selection
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Video 3 Braille Production
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Video 4 Braille Technology
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Day 3

This was the last day. I made it on time so I was very happy for that. The day started with a WONDERFUL Braille Literacy panel.  There was also the last two break out sessions. As an added bonus there was  a "Show and Share" time were some organizations shared some of their products. I got the chance to thank Perkins Products for my families wonderful visit from Marty the Smart Brailler.  I than participated in the last breakout session and rushed home to pick up Abby from Track Camp.(She had a great week.)  I missed the closing statements and the final report on the breakout sessions. I had to leave early or I would end up in the car for hours. Late afternoon Friday traffic on 93 north is always horrible. What is great is I was able to watch what I missed out on when I got home.

Video 5 Braille Literacy =

Video 6 Final Plenary Roundtable Session

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So what did I think? What did I take away?  That I personally need to work harder at promoting braille. That I personally LOVE BRAILLE. This was quite a revolution considering I can't really read it. So I plan to take steps to change that.  I am very passionate about braille literacy.   That we all as a blindness community at large need to work harder at promoting braille and sharing how important it is.  I am excited and concerned over the future of braille all at once. It was a good event.

I am thankful to NLS for keep this event OPEN.  A closed event would have made this event less powerful.  There were many just braille readers who came just because they love braille and wanted to be there.

The whole event was a love letter to braille and it ended on the day the 2013 Braille Challenge final started. How great is that?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Beep Kickball is awesome.

Recently the kids and I had a chance to attend a Beep Kickball Clinic put on by the New Hampshire Association for the Blind. All I knew about the game was its an accessible version of the game kickball.
Beepball game
There are other games that are designed to put blind players on a equal playing field with sighted players
There is also Beepball and Goalball.

Abby getting ready to kick
Beep Kickball was created to be more kid and family friendly.  Its a super fun game.  Abby had a blast learning & playing the game but I think Sam may have had more fun. It wasn't fun because its a blind person game it was fun because it was a fun game.

There is lots of information on the the Beep Kickball Association website at http://www.beepkickball.com .
Abby running
You can buy equipment and read the official rules.

 Here are the very basic rules....

There are  kicker and outfielders. The number of outfitters really depends on the amount of players.  You could have a fun causal family game with one outfielder. Whats great about this game is both the kickers and the outfielders have fun.

Sam got the ball
Sam getting ready to kick.
There are two bases that independently make sound (only one makes a sound when the kicker kicks the ball)

The kicker and the outfielders are blindfolded.  The kicker kicks the ball. Someone activate one of the bases to make sound and the kicker runs to the sound of the base.(the kicker only runs to one base and they don't know which one till the sound is going) The kickball is also beeping and the outfielder find the ball. When they find the ball they raise it up.  If they raise it before the kicker get to the base the kicker is out.  If the kicker makes it to the base before the ball is found the kicker is safe.   Its really that simple.

The official Beep Kickball is $140. The ball is very well made.  I imagine if someone was really creative they could put some kind of beeper in a ball and play that way.  I personally think the official ball is great and worth the investment.

For bases there are a few options. You can buy/use official beepball bases.  Which are about $300 dollars. Which can be bought here http://www.centurylinkpioneergear.com/

Sam next to a base. 
Also the Beep Kickball  website offers an option for inflatable bases for a $110 for the pair.

They also recommend as a lower cost option  hand held buzzers in a box which they sell for $20 dollars each on the Beep Kickball website

I really think beeping frisbee which you can find at different stores around 15 dollars may work also.

They also say you could simply have someone clap and be the base and thats free.

close up of Sam holding ball
For the blindfolds/sleepshades you can get them from different sources.  Mindfold is a great brand but you can user cheaper ones. You can even find them sometimes in the dollar store.  You could also use bandanas.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer Reading Prep.

Sam reading on the swing in the snow
Well my kids only have a few short weeks till summer vacation starts.  We have no big trips planned this summer ( :( ) So i hope to focus on the kids reading a lot of books this summer.  Its easy for Sam.  We run down to the library or book store and can get new books for Sam very easily. As an added bonus the boy LOVES to read.  Its not uncommon to find Sam reading in the strangest places.

With Abby is just takes a bit more work.  She still struggles at time  reading and reading is just not as much fun to her as it is with Sam.  Its a bit more challenging to get books for Abby because you jsut can't run to the store to buy a Braille book.  As a response to this I have become a braille book hoarder   Yes its true.  I have been collecting many books since Abby first became blind.  I still work very hard at building our collection.   Want to become a braille book hoarder like me? What to know what I have done to get books into Abby's hands?
Here is a list of the sources of the books in our collection and places you get Braille.

1. Books passed on from others.  It becomes clear to all parents of Braille readers that you can't keep all the books you have.  As your child out grows books its very exciting to pass them on to a younger reader.  We do this when we can and only keep Abby's most beloved outgrown books.  So a tip is to find  a few Braille readers just a few years older than yours and perhaps you will be blessed with some of their books.


Braille Book Fair 2012
2. NOPBC Braille Book Fair We have gone the NOPBC Conference and the NFB National Convention the past two years and every year they have the Braille Book Fair where kids leave with MANY new books. Its a true celebration of Braille. This years NFB Convention is is in Orlando Florida Monday, July 1—Saturday, July 6, 2013 I put links about the NOPBC Conference and this years NFB Convention just above. A Future Reflections article about a past Braille Book Fair https://nfb.org/Images/nfb/Publications/fr/fr30/4/fr300413.htm


3. American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults Free Braille Program   We have tons of these books I think Abby gets a new one once a month. Great program.  http://www.actionfund.org/free-braille-books
Abby at the braille book fair 2012

4. Early Braille Literacy Programs. These programs are usally for children up to the age of 6 or 7. - NFB Braille Reading Pals Program https://nfb.org/braille-reading-pals-early-literacy-program     and National Braille Press ReadBooks Program http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/programs/readbooks/readbooks.html   These programs are both great and are about getting braille to young children and empowering parents as the child's first teachers.  There is also  APH  & Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Partnership  Abby was to old to sign up for this program when it started but it looks like children up to age six can get 5 free braille books a year. http://www.aph.org/dolly-partons-imagination-library/

5. Braille Institute Special Collections Program. This is a great program Abby gets to pick out free braille books 3 or 4 times a year. Its always exciting to get the new order form.  http://www.brailleinstitute.org/programs/index.php/child-and-youth/special-collection
Abby Braille reading outside
6. Seedlings Angel Book Program. Seedlings offers 2 free braille books every YEAR to blind and visually impaired children.  They have a great catalog http://www.seedlings.org/bkangel2009.php

7. I buy the books. I buy books primary from Seedlings http://www.seedlings.org/  & National Braille Press http://www.nbp.org/  Both these wonderful organizations work hard and making the cost of braille books reasonable.

Abby reading Braille
8.  National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped  There are regional braille libraries all over the country where like any library you borrow books for a set time and return them.  In New Hampshire we get our Braille books from the Perkins Library.  Did you know you could get BRAILLE magazine from NLS? I had no idea and Abby loves them and we get to keep them.  Find out about the programs NLS offers and contact your regional library for more information. You can find out where your regional library is at this link http://www.loc.gov/nls/index.html

9. Booksharehttps://www.bookshare.org/  is such a fantastic service. Abby reads books in Braille on her iPad with Read2Go app and her refreshable Braille display. You can also download books into most Braille note takers and on your computer with a braille displays.  Books can also be downloaded and printed off on an Braille embosser.  Bookshare has 1000s of books.  Abby once went to a book signing. She got the new print book signed and than downloaded the book from Bookshare so she could read it.

I think that's most of the sources from our large mass of books in our Braille library. If you know of another great source share it in the comments.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lessons Learned as a Mother

Lessons Learned as a Mother

  • That the love a mother feels for their children is simply different than any other kind of love.  Its a primal feeling that can't be expressed with words.  You know that thing that happens when you get between a mama bear and her cub? Yeah its a lot like that and so much more.   There are things I have done the past 11 years for both kids that still surprise me.  
  • Two kids can be different, very different.   .  Abby is loud, Sam is quiet.  While Sam can sit for hours doing one thing, Abby bores easily.  While Abby is adventurous, Sam is cautious.   While  Sam is neat, Abby is messy. I could go on and on. They are both so  different in many ways.  I bought a lot of Sam clothes as a baby on clearance from Gymboree.  I would than sell them on Ebay for a profit after he had out grown them. It was a sweet deal. Imagine my surprise when that wasn't even a possibility with Abby because she stained everything.  

  • That mother intuition is no myth.  Many times the past 11 years I knew deep in inside (my gut) that something was wrong even when many others told me it was nothing.  When Sam was 18 months old and still not really talking yet the doctor told me it was nothing to worry about that we would check on it in 6 months again. I knew something was wrong and refereed Sam myself to early intervention.  Today at almost 11 years old Sam still qualifies for speech therapy at school so it wasn't nothing.  When I  thought Abby just needed glasses we went to Lens Crafters and she couldn't see the eye chart at all. I knew something wrong.  The hair on the back of my neck was really standing up.It still  took almost a month till a doctor agreed with us that something was wrong. A mom just knows sometime. 
  • Being a mom isn't always fun and games. I will admit I don't like being a mother at all sometimes. It doesn't happen often but it does happen.  We all have those bad days.  The commercials make it all seem like rainbows and flowers.   I am far from a perfect mother.  The magazines never talk about getting poop all over your arm when you are just calmly holding your baby. No one tells you what to do when your nonverbal 2 years old wants you to know something but just cries and cries because he can't talk. I don't recall reading what to do when your 9 year old daughter lies to you. What do you do when your two children end up fighting so bad it starts to look like hand to hand combat?  Then it all gets better with a hug and a smile.  
  •  Its ok to let them go. As they grew from little hatchlings to half-grown people there came a time I needed to take a safe step back. It is hard, they don't need you all the time anymore.  The nights away. The fun without me. The growing independance.  The kids are still at an age that I still get plenty of hugs but now Sam has out grown the kisses.  They are growing up so up so quick
  • Sometimes you can't fix everything.  Last year Abby wasn't invited to a birthday party of a classmate . Someone who she thought was her close friend and people who this child didn't even play with was invited.  She didn't understand what she did wrong.  I can't fix the friendship issues for Abby. Maybe some parents are afraid of Abby and they think her cane is a weapon. Perhaps it was no issue at all.  Abby is a friendly (though I have been told bossy too) , kind and giving friend. She has struggled a lot with oeople because she simply can't see their faces, She can't see the waves.  She can't find them on the playground. All I can do is raise her to be kind to others and be herself. 
  • That nothing makes my day more than a handmade picture with that simple I love you Mom. A hug can keep  me going for a whole day. I am the luckiest person in the world to get to be my children's mother.