I just read the article, Dad, where’s the plunger?” by Richard Holloway, in the Summer issue of Future Reflections and immediately wanted to give a copy to every teacher and parent of a child who is blind or visually impaired that I know.
As a child growing up with low vision I can remember similar experiences with my dad. Unfortunately they were not as in-depth as Richard’s and Kendra’s, but nevertheless they were essential to me learning about and understanding the world around me.
I cannot over-emphasize how important these types of experiences are for people who are blind or have low vision. These experiences are relevant at all ages. Last Sunday, I went to a huge international farmer’s market here in Atlanta. There were dozens of items I had never seen or heard of before, and that was just in the produce section. Of course, I had to touch, smell, and visually examine almost all of these items. I cannot begin to describe the variety of textures, smells, colors, shapes, and sizes of the various produce.
Hopefully my 58-year-old memory cells will allow me to retain enough of this information so that I can use it in the future when I encounter similar items. Most likely I will encounter these items, or parts of these items, in different environments and be able to recall some of the sensory information I acquired at the market to help me identify them or at least categorize them as produce.
I could go on and on with numerous other examples, but I’d better get back to work. I’m sure you have examples from your own lives of hands-on learning experiences that have been especially meaningful for your children. I hope you’ll share some of them here in the comments!