May 14, 2018 was a busy day for the first graders at John Thomas Dye School. For 11 years in a row, Partners for Pediatric Vision has provided a Low Vision Experience as part of the 1st grade service learning curriculum. Masks are made for each child to wear that simulate visual conditions that result in a loss of central or peripheral vision, blind spots or blurred vision such as retinal detachments, cataracts, or optic nerve damage. When the children wear their masks, they go from fully sighted to partially sighted and must navigate the stations with tunnel vision or visual field loss, blurred or reduced vision.
At the “Eye-Mazing” station, students learn from a Pediatric Optometrist what happens at a low vision exam. At “Be My Guide” they meet Pam and her working guide dog Franklin who helps her travel safely around any environment. Students hear all about why and how children and adults use a white cane and learn sighted guide techniques while “On the Move.” “Technology is Terrific” is where the first graders learn about CCTV’s, which magnify print, and low vision technology that is available to people with visual impairment in order to succeed in school and work.
This year, our two terrific volunteers Judy and Jane assisted each first grader in making a stuffed “Teddy Bear Buddy” that will encourage exploration and play. All bears along with a personal note from each first grader will be donated to the babies and children who receive services from Partners for Pediatric Vision. The John Thomas Dye School first graders are always eager to learn about how visual impairment affects others. At the end of the experience they have new insight about how to overcome the challenges of vision loss with the help of specialized eye care, education and support like that provided by Partners for Pediatric Vision.