Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Seeing red in more ways than one

First, I'll make good on a promise I made to myself to share some of the tips the Hubby and I learned last week.

Just to recap: C.'s school organized a one day conference about children with Cortical Visual Impairment. Nearly all the lectures were given by a guest expert hailing from the US.

One idea that headed her list was to bombard CVI children with red or yellow (whichever of the two  appears to grab your child more). That means: red/yellow masking tape to cover the handles and rims of daily objects; red/yellow cloth pony-tail holders wrapped around them.

Here's what we did to C.'s hairbrush. (I bought the narrow spool of tape which cost a fraction of the wider version.)
A second suggestion that the expert emphasized was black backgrounds. Tables, walls with toys hung on them - all must be black. Those state-of-the-art perspex tables? Bad, bad news.

The guest expert offered many more practical tips which I'll share in my next post. For now, I'll segue to C.'s school for a glimpse at gross neglect - at least that's what I'd label it.

First some background. I have decided to draw portraits of the children in C.'s school for the purpose of an exhibit. To my shock, the principal welcomed the idea. Next, I gave the principal my letter requesting parental consent to photograph and draw their children toward that end. I promised the families a quality copy of their child's portrait. The principal promptly printed and distributed my letter in the children's schoolbags. So far, some ten parents have consented.

In the course of photographing the children I'm learning some disconcerting facts.

For instance, one child whose parents' consent was stashed away in a remote classroom on the basement level. He was the sole student in the bare room with two staff members who studiously ignored him. Here he is as I encountered him:
I explained to the two aides that I'd like to introduce something else to the scene. "Is there anything that interests him?" I asked.

"Yes, his mouth," was the smart-alec retort.

"How about a toy?" I countered.

As soon as this one was placed on the child's desk, the student began to skillfully bead it.
I shudder to imagine what this boy could achieve were he enjoying the input from a caring, trained staff that he deserves?! I'm red with fury!


Elizabeth said...

Is there a way that you can report this? If not adversarial -- can you somehow organize a parents' group that can work WITH the school on stuff like this? I am red with fury, too!

The Sound of the Silent said...

I didn't expect to hear from you during your Hedgebrook stay. Thanks for prodding me to act. The trouble is that on the odd occasions that I have met parents, they've expressed unmitigated praise of the school. It's comforting to leave your child for 11 hours/day with that attitude. I'm not sure that they're open to a contradictory assessment. But I'm going to mull this over until I come up with something that even the Hubby approves. (His advice is to keep mum).