Since 2007, Partners for Pediatric Vision staff and volunteers have provided a Low Vision Day for the first graders at the John Thomas Dye School. Masks are made that simulate visual conditions such as retinal detachments, glaucoma, cataracts, or optic nerve damage. When the children wear their masks, they go from fully sighted to partially sighted and must navigate the room and activities with tunnel vision or visual field loss, blurred or reduced vision. At the “Eye-Mazing” station, students learn from Dr. Angela Shihady, O.D., what happens at a low vision exam. At “Be My Guide” they meet working guide dogs and the adults who depend on them in order to travel safely.
Students learn all about why and how children and adults use a white cane at the station “On the Move.” “Cool Tools” is where the first graders learn about Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs), which magnify print, try out telescopes and magnifiers and have a chance to Braille their name. This year, the John Thomas Dye first graders turned plastic water bottles into fun visual and auditory rattles filled with bells, mylar strips, beads and ribbon that can be rolled or shaken to attract the visual attention of children with vision loss. All of the rattles from our “Shake, Rattle and Roll” station are donated to the families of children who receive our services in order to encourage visual attention and tracking, reaching, grasping, crawling, shaking, rolling and much more. It is a fun and educational day.