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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

BCLC Series–Peg dropping and pre cane

Today at Blind Children’s Learning Center, Gavin worked with pegs.  He did very great with transferring the pegs from one hand to the other, and then drop them into the drum.  (We use the drum, because it makes a distinct sound when something is dropped into it).  He picked up the peg out of the peg hole with the left hand, transferred the peg to the right hand and then drop into the drum.  His OT moved the drum from the front, to the back, and each time, he did fairly well listening to where the drum was and dropping the peg in.

Ultimately, his OT would like for him to get the peg, and transfer it in one hand (across mid-line) and drop it in the drum.  This technique is crucial to him utilizing his cane appropriately, with the long wide sweeps.

The transfer of one hand to the other, and listening to the where the drum is was a big leap.  He is using both sides of his body to complete a task.  For a child with no vision, using both sides of your body, while trying to accomplish something (as simple to us as dropping a peg into a drum), and keeping yourself upright and straight and balanced is quite a feat.  We use our eyes to stabilize our body, to keep us in balance.  Remove the vision, and you need your entire vestibular system to work together to keep this balance in tact.

Gavin dropping Pegs into a drum. Using balance, hearing, and hand transfer to accomplish.

The other part of his therapy today, was getting his tiny little hands ready for the cane.  He has his cane now.  His O&M brought it during our last visit, last week.  He is not ready to use it, but we are getting ready for that.  We have it hanging by the back door, so he knows, when we leave, the cane comes with us.  We are moving closer to having him find and pick up his cane on his own, when we leave somewhere, but still working on it.  Everywhere we go now, the cane comes with us.  Usually I’m the “cane holder”.  He really wants nothing to do with it, but as expected.

I talked on a previous post about “Pre Cane skills”.  He uses his little shopping cart at home.  At therapy, there is a different type of push cart they use for all the pre cane kiddos.  His thumbs still aren’t quite there yet.  It’s hit and miss.  Some days when he pushes the cart, his thumbs are in the right position, other times not.  You wouldn’t think, how much skill a little one needs to utilize a cane correctly – and not with bad habits.

Using a push cart, to help with Pre Cane development.

The other part of using the push cart, is just like the little shopping cart, or any push toy, the cart/toy will hit the wall before he physically does.  The same with the cane.  His cane will always hit something before he does, and so this is the same concept.  Teaching him how to manipulate the push cart, comes with time.  He is very confident behind the cart, and takes big wide steps, because he is understanding that he is safe behind it.  Backing up, and maneuvering it back and forth when necessary – is still something we are working on. 

Put him on a straight shot of cement, and he will plow you over!  He moves with such force, determination and confidence.  It’s great to see, because at this stage, he is very cautious and moves slowly through space when he is in an unfamiliar area.

Have I mentioned how great BCLC and his OT is?  They’re wonderful.  The other parents, and I, call his OT the “blind baby whisperer”.  She helps me to understand so much, and I am so grateful for her and the services they provide.


  1. I have to say, I am a long time reader but do not comment. I love the content of your blog. It's not filled with every detail of your daily life, but the importance with your son and his learnings. I admire your dedication to bring light to others, and that is why I am a fond reader of this awesome blog! It is not boring, and I don't have to skim over what you ate for dinner, to get to the content. thank you for that and may God continue to Bless your family.

  2. Jennifer,

    what is BCLC? I find this series that you post very helpful. I have been sharing the videos in my class. I am studying to be an early intervention OT specializing in vision impairments with babies and children. I have one more year, and would like to contact you via email. We are studying LCA and think it would be great to get a parents perspective. Would you mind if I email you? I would like to use your story, as I read you knew something was wrong with Gavin, before the dr's did. Understanding parents perspective is a session we are pretty deep into eight now, for this particular class.
    Thank you so much. I admire your ability to be so concise and sharing your journey. Very brave! You very much deserve the blog award.
    Best wishes to you and Gavin:

    Cindy W. - Univ of Wisconsin

  3. S.G. Thank you very much!

    Cindy Absolutely! Email me at jen(at)gavinsfoundation(dot)(org). I would love to help... someone contacted me from 2 other universites for the same type of class (I think). I am wondering if this is all linked? Nevertheless... please email me :)

  4. Hi Jen,

    How are you guys? Gavin is growing and growing! We're so proud of him! We've been checking in on you from time to time and have enjoyed the videos. Audrey is doing great. She's almost 18 months and is really interested in the world around her. She is oh so cautiously cruising around the house and will take some steps holding hands with us. We thought the day would never come! I was reading about how Gavin is getting ready to learn to use his cane. That's so exciting and will open a whole world for him.

    Did you see this little guy in the news? OMG adorable! It's useful info for us parents too

    Also I found this site, which you might find interesting. It has cane info and advocates 'no-limits mobility' for blind kids

    Take care!! Hugs to you and the boys! Ashley


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