. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: The Good News and the Bad News

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Good News and the Bad News

Sorry I have been so late in updating you about Sean's progress.

(Houseguests. What can I say?)

There is some good news to report.

Sean experienced recess as a blind student and felt the awesome helplessness that comes with being unable to see.

Would it be wrong of me to say it was an eye-opening experience?

The mobility teacher took him around with a blindfold and a cane and helped him struggle around the playground for 15 minutes.

He reports feeling lost and disoriented. He mostly felt nervous though because he couldn't see what might be flying at him at any moment.

We related that to the feelings the child he was bullying might have, and he really seemed to connect with his victim for once. (Yeah!)

The next day, we visited with our VI teacher and a VI student in third grade. Sean and I had developed interview questions ahead of time, so he just jumped right in with the questions.

He learned that our VI teacher, who is blind himself, likes to work with power tools, play catch with his kids at home (called "Bean Dad with the Ball"), skis in the winter, and loves to go bike riding.

Sean did not expect that.

He learned that his VI peer plays on a soccer team, loves reading, and wants to be a police officer when he grows up (just like Sean).

Sean did not expect that either.

Thank goodness, the kid he interviewed is just a ball of personality and a joy to chat with. He really made our experience fun!

Following the interviews, Sean and I talked about what he had learned and he found that he had still more questions for them like:

  • How does the teacher ski or ride a bike when he can't see?
  • How does his peer play soccer when he can't see the ball? How does he know when he's scored?
  • What kind of police officer would he like to be because Sean wants to be a K-9 cop.

So we went back for a follow-up interview and Sean learned:

  • The teacher skis with a partner who warns him about trees and other dangers. He rides a tandem bike with his wife (but he's pretty sure his wife doesn't participate in any of the peddling.)
  • The student's soccer team is comprised of blind children and the soccer ball has bells in it so they can hear it. He knows he's scored a goal when he hears the goalie say, "aawwww."
  • He would like to be a police dispatcher since they probably won't give him a gun.

Sean and I talked some more after the follow-up interview and we spoke about what Sean would like to do if he could hang out with either of them.

He wants the teacher to teach him how to read Braille, and he wants to play soccer with the student.

Ah Ha! Now we have things he can earn with good behavior and good choices! Currency! That's our next step.

Sean also feels like he's found a friend in the VI student. When we walked in the door for the follow-up interview, the kid said, "Hey Sean! Is that you? I was hoping you'd come back!"

When we left, Sean said, "That kid is really cool! I feel like we're friends now!"

Coming from a kid with no friends, that's quite a realization.

All and all, I think we're on the right path here. I have hopes for him. Not high ones yet, but hope is good enough for now.

Oh… the bad news?

Since Sean and I began working together, he's karate-kicked a kid, dug his fingers into another kid's back, and jammed his butt into someone's face. He's been banned from waiting in line with any other children now.

Hopes…not high ones, but hopes.


Anonymous said...

I love this story! Besides getting Sean to stop bullying blind children, I bet this experience is something really special that he will remember forever! I love his peer's responses... about knowing he's scored a goal when he hears the goalie say, "Aaawwww!" and about wanting to be a dispatcher because they "probably won't give him a gun!" Sounds like a very cool kid! I hope he and Sean will get to be friends. Sean is SO lucky to have someone like you who doesn't just see him as a behavior problem to avoid, but as a challenging kid who needs some extra help! :)

Melissa B. said...

I had a student jam his butt into someone else's face today, too! Thanks for the update, and good luck...PS: The gift card is "in the mail"!

Anonymous said...

Wow, it does sound like Sean has come to big realizations recently. That is very impressive and sounds like he is developing an appreciation for the VI world. He might still be having "trouble" with the other students, but at least there's a connection being made somewhere with someone. I guess the saying "baby steps" really is true here.

Edna Lee said...

Thank you! I hope that he learns something from this experience!

Melissa B. said...

Just checking in...and reminding you about Sx3 today. Can you say Global Warming?

Melissa B. said...

Edna, where ARE you? Please don't forget Sx3 today...I'm doing a video, which is quirky enough to get everyone's creative juices flowing!

Angela Watson said...

LOVE this post! I've featured it in this month's accolades at The Cornerstone: