Having a blind student in our class has made me painfully aware of how dependent we are on our sight. It seems like every day I notice someone saying or doing something completely normal and realize that the comment or action is totally ineffectual for him.
For example, I had this conversation with him just the other day:
Me: Good morning, J! I like your shirt!
J: Thanks Miss Magee! Miss Magee, what am I wearing today?
Oops. Didn't even think about that one.
And how many times have I casually told him, "See you later!" at the end of the day, only to hear him cheerfully echo me and cringe?
Today, I noticed one of our other students chose to do "Read to Someone" with him. She loves to help him out and they've become good friends, working together quite often. She was reading a book to him, pointing out the words as she read them as if it would help him read better, even as she moved his fingers over the Braille letters at the bottom of the page!
We all do it: we rely so heavily on our sense of sight! We point, we gesture, we put information on posters for later reference. It's scary for us to imagine a world in which we couldn't see.
While I sometimes feel sad for J, wondering how he copes in such a dark world, I am also continually amazed by what he can do. He is by far the most cheerful child in our classroom. He retains information like he's been studying it for months. He can decipher voices, navigate the classroom and school, and even read with his fingers! It's incredible!
This has definitely been an eye-opening (no pun intended - well, maybe a little) experience to me. I hope that maybe it will make me a little more aware of the things I say and do, not just for his sake, but for the sake of all my students.