Obviously, it's the same kid. Look again. What are your impressions? If this is your first time here and you've never met Jack, heard about Jack, or read about Jack, that first picture gives a much different impression than the second picture.
The second picture shows a child who is engaged with the world around him. He's looking at something. He is reacting to something.
But what about that first picture? He is not looking at anything. His facial expression is somewhat blank. He does not appear engaged with the world around him. He just has a blank stare.
Jack has this look. It's hard to get on camera because I'm never thinking about the camera when I see it. I went back through several months’ worth of pictures to find that first one and it doesn't capture the look completely. The look is a blank stare. You might describe it as staring off into space--like his eyes are open but he does not see anything.
Often he is very engaged with the environment around him when he does this. He is just not engaged visually. He may be listening intently or tactually exploring.
Have you ever seen a video of someone who is wandering about in the dark before their eyes adjust? That’s the look!
I worry a bit because the look might make some people jump to conclusions regarding Jack’s intellect. At first glance, he might appear to be completely disengaged from the world. It takes effort sometimes to pay attention and figure out just what he is paying attention to.
It’s difficult to explain to people that Jack doesn’t always use his eyes. But that’s what it is. If I had his vision, I hope that I would find other ways to explore my environment too. Still, he’s not fully blind so to treat him as if he was totally blind makes no sense. He has vision and he uses it. He doesn’t have good vision though so it doesn’t make sense to treat him as if he can see the world like most of us. AND it’s hard to know just exactly what he can and cannot see. It’s hard to know if he is not using his vision because he really can’t see something or if he has just adapted to not using vision that is blurry/unfocused.
Back in this post [editor's note: How ironic! That post was written one year ago today.], I said that I cannot wait until we’re on the other side of Jack’s vision issues and have things figured out. Well, we’re still on this side of figuring things out. I’m not crying for the lack of vision anymore but we still don’t have a solid plan and I still feel like we’re fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out what part his vision is playing in Jack’s overall development and what we should or should not be doing as far as adapting his school work and his environment.
Do you know someone who is legally blind and has vision of 20/300 at best? I’d love to hear from someone who sees like Jack sees.
Don't forget to check out yesterday's Life is Therapy post where you can learn why boring is good and link up your own Life is Therapy post.
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