On Monday October 19th it was a good day. We packed up our belongings, loaded our rental car yet again and met my cousin at a Starbucks north of Boston. Symone road with her as the boys and I followed her to downtown Boston. We got out and took photos of the harbor, looked around, shopped and ate at Joe’s. It was so amazing. Slightly a little too cold as we didn’t have the winter gear along but the sun was bright and warm. This area provided textures everywhere.
We had the sweetest time with her. She had to get back to her little guy. We headed to a the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA. I’m so thankful we had GPS. I was so confused because of all the tunnels and twists and turns and none of the streets made any kind of sense and seemed to go in so many different directions.
Upon arrival we were so surprised at the historic feel as well as the beauty of the school. Since it’s for those visually impaired or totally Blind I found it unique. Also I felt thankful again that I had my vision to see such beauty.
Once inside I notice the architecture right away as unique. The ceilings are done in such a way to have excellent acoustics. Tiles, bricks, stones and cement all done in such a way to communicate to a blind or DeafBlind person where to walk, by touch, feeling airflow and sounds. It was the most well thought out place I have ever seen. The floors, walls and ceilings were beautiful to look at but mostly amazing to feel and hear as well. It all has meaning to guide you in the direction you needed to go. I watched as students successfully used their canes and clicking sounds or other sounds to walk the halls successfully. Sometimes having to correct their direction but doing so unguided by a dog or person. I just can’t describe the atmosphere.
Our guide told us the story about the young lady before Helen Keller. I did know about her before but never saw the archives of the things she made and how her and Helen met and the story of her learning. It was so amazing! Laura Bridgman. Do a little research on her and how Samuel Gridley Howe changed Laura’s life. The history was amazing. The people amazing. Two photos I failed to get were of the two gym’s. How a blind person like Kodi could walk or run laps and be safe. The bar that never ended because allowed a person to hold on and never have to stop. Both gyms were side by side and two levels. The one floor lower level designed so a blind person could roller skate safely. The boards turned on each en in a way that let them know as their wheels rolled over the wood floor that it was time to turn. I was so caught up in Kodi doing laps that I forgot to take photos. Symone did get one gym and Kodi doing laps.
Kodiak here is on the walking track. Below is one gym for sports like basketball. The hoop wired with a bell when they make a basket. Blind kids can play basketball. To Kodiak’s left is another gym. It is the running track and below the wood floors are designed for rollerskating blind. Wish I had that photo.
The science area impressed me. Kodiak was introduced to a bear, shark, swan, turtle shell and other things. I love the smile he made touching the bear as we also signed “bear” to him.
The guide kept Kodiak from touching the Sharks sharp teeth.
Enemies s is not a real giraffe, Kodiak seemed to think it was funny to start at the head and go all the way down to the giraffe’s hoof. So can we say he needs to touch a real one? I think he would like it. Maybe a baby one.
Symone took the photo of this tactile art. So intricate and beautiful to see as well.
I was also impressed that every door has a bell so a blind person would know it was open or opening. Also every stairway had a gate to easily open. So no one accidentally fell down them but that if they lost location and bumped into it they would be safe and could choose to open and go down them. It made me feel better knowing we felt it necessary to have a gate on our stairs as well.
Also to know they used raised letters for 40 years after Braille was developed because they wanted kids to read letters. But they saw the need to change. Looking at the maps and how they made small replicas for kids to learn locations and directions. Seeing the gradual change from typeset letters to Braille was amazing. Then there was the globe. Where Helen Keller once touched the globe herself Kodi was also feeling it too.
The original globe. Some feel should be behind glass to preserve it. But the decision was made to keep it as is. Make needed repairs when needed but let kids feel the globe. It used to spin but they stopped that because it became a bit of a game to spin it too much. So they made it stationary. Very cool to see. All those wood pieces put together and in such a way to have the tactile and Braille.
We left feeling very good about what the next day would bring. Kodiak’s assessment. So off we went in search of our motel. We arrived and found the front desk people very sweet. One has a brother in England who has Downs Syndrome. She was amazed at Kodiak. Both the front desk ladies were so sweet. We gave them the blog information. I hope they read this. Thank you for the milk, the sweet comments, and kindness. You were so amazing!
In our room Kodi couldn’t wait to crawl on the bed. He was getting good at finding the beds and flopping face down on them. The little guy did a ton of walking. Probably why on the days we drove longer he was just fine and even enjoyed himself in his little corner of the car.
The next day we were up early. Kodiak was CRABBY. He was not in a mood to wake up and would not cooperate either. I was like “No way! Does he know this is a big day?” We got breakfast and coffee. The kids got their homework and we headed off to the school. Kodi wouldn’t eat. He wouldn’t walk. He was in a mood. But when we got into the school he perked up a bit.
We met in a room and then off to his first assessment. I met with an audiologist briefly, got a tour, watched some of the assessments, and well it was a busy day. We ate in the kitchen where some DeafBlind kids live. Kodiak ate a lot. It was a busy day. It was exhausting for me too. Lots of info, lots of questions etc. Right at the very end Kodi broke down and began to cry. My brave tenacious fighter was exhausted. We reassured everyone that sometimes happens after school or very busy days. He is processing and will be fine once in the car. And he was. The crabbies were gone right away that morning once he began to be challenged. And my happy little boy was back once we got back ing the car.