Thursday, August 20, 2009

Little Bits

I must describe her so a reader will understand why I call her Baby Doll. She is the tiniest child in her class. Although she is three years old she may be the size of an eighteen-month old. She has Asian features with the tiniest little button of a nose. He mom has some unusual little round lens glasses of which the frame is constructed of red plastic. The "arms" of the glasses wrap around and hook at the back of her head. She has wispy straight black hair that frames her little round face and tiny feet and hands which she sometimes swing widely when she walks as she imitates whatever adult she may walk next to.She looks like a baby doll that one would want to sit at the head of one's bed on a pillow as an adorable decoration.

I went back to Baby Doll's class and she was there. This particular school is a preschool center. There are disabled children there and non-disabled children. It is a wonderful garden-like place with many fun and engaging activities.

This Monday was the first full day for all of the preschool students to attend. They were coming on staggered times and days for testing last week so Baby Doll and I missed each other twice.

Monday the children were in play centers when I arrived. The teacher, who is a new and different lady from last school term wanted to call Baby Doll to me but I told her I'd rather she kept her routine. I could watch her being herself and observe how she explored toys.

Baby Doll was sitting at a table with another child, a cute little boy that I will call Mr. Man. He was playing with toy ducks on a toy lake. Baby Doll looked at the toy she had and decided the ducks looked like far more fun. She helped him line them up on the plastic lake where when a switch was flipped, the little ducks vibrated in a circle. A minute or two later, neither the ducks or the play house and all it's buttons were interesting as some other toy on the shelf caught her attention.

The teacher let me read Baby Doll's latest IEP (Individual Education Plan) while the class lined up like a miniature train for potty time. I needed to check the visual acuity numbers again. I remembered from last school term that her distance vision was not too good. With her little red glasses she held near objects at a decent length until she wanted to see details.. I have a photo of her from last school term from when I observed her for a couple of hours. She was in the cafeteria and in one photo her little face goes down to her plate as if she was saying, "Let me see what this stuff is you guys are trying to get me to eat. Oh. Pancakes. Terrific. No thank you." I had just the photo I needed to show that.

Recess was interesting and such great fun! I accompanied her with her class. The water fountain was a dandy thing from which to drink so that we could be refreshed while digging in the sand at one of the sand tables. Then we had to see what it was like to scoop the sand and dump it on the sidewalk. I signed and spoke "No" and reminded her that the sand had to stay in the sand table. A few signs are used with oral communication because of some hearing loss and because she is largely non-verbal.

Back in the classroom the teacher surprised her class with chocolate cupcakes and ice cream. It was the para's birthday. It was a photo moment, of course! Six tiny people eating chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing is worthy of several priceless shots. I snapped away at the little chocolate covered hands and faces. Later I emailed the photos to the teacher and had them printed out and put in a little photo album for the para as a gift for her birthday.

Mr. Man wanted to see his picture in the back of my camera. He is the only one in the class who is verbal enough to ask. I noticed earlier that his right eye was turning slightly outward and that there was a little nystagmus in that eye. I showed him his picture and he smiled his big Mr. Man smile. Then I covered his left eye and asked him if he could see his picture. "Um. Um." he stammered and that right eye started dancing all over the place. he clearly could not use it or was not using it very well. Then I covered the right eye and he said, "There I am!" as he looked at his picture.

I mentioned to his teacher and the para that he may have problems with his vision in his right eye. Since he is nonambulatory and had obviously had other problems, the problems with one eye, when the other seemed fine could easily be overlooked. She asked me to mention it to the nurse across the hall so she could also check him and together they would notify his parents to have him seen by a pediatric opthamologist.

When I returned to my little spot at my home school I emailed the teacher, her principal and my supervisor concerning my opinion. I attached the photo closeup of his darling little face as he looked at the camera. If one were to cover his left eye in the photo it would appear that he was looking up and to the right. But if one covered the right eye, one can see the left eye was looking directly into the camera. My supervisor suggested I check his educational evaluation for an eye report and praised me for "good looking out."

When I was able to get to the evals on line I saw where it had been done when he was two years old--maybe two and a half. At that time the evaluator wrote that he was not verbal enough to get get enough response concerning his vision. Well, I thought, That certainly isn't the case now. Mr. Man is talking up a blue streak in that class these days! However, it was mentined that he'd had surgery on that eye a bit before that. His eyes had probably not been checked since then, because of his other physical involvements and because he is functioning so well with the good left eye. The right eye problems could easily go unnoticed. If all it needs is training like what is done for amblyopia now is the time to get that started as soon as possible. I pray that is all. He may not end up being one of my students but I would hope that whatever he has in the right eye can be improved or maintained under a doctor's care.

Ah! This was just part of my day at one school of four I visit, in one classroom of several. Such a joy with the little bits--the ones in whom God shows us and teaches us. I'm tired and I love it.

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