A Sense of Belonging
Tags: Vision Impairment
VisionCorps youth activities challenge children who are blind or visually impaired to step out of their comfort zones and try new things.
Seven-year-old Hudson Robinson has already experienced more changes in his young life than most people do in a lifetime. For him, VisionCorps also serves as a comfort zone – a safe space to polish his social skills among people he trusts.
“Hudson is my little superhero,” his mother Rebekah said, as her son ran around in his Batman cape. “He can be very sweet and loving. He’s always coming over and kissing me on the cheek and saying, ‘I love you, Mom.’ The next minute, he’ll be rough and tumble, wrestling or playing Nerf guns with his brothers. Or he’ll make slime with his sisters.” It is a story that does not sound out-of-the-ordinary. And that is the goal.
Hudson has come a long way. He was adopted by Rebekah and her husband Greg from China when he was 3. At the time, he could only see light and shadows. Cataract surgery improved his vision somewhat, but doctors believe his brain didn’t fully develop the ability to interpret visual input.
“He gets occupational, physical, and speech therapy,” Rebekah said. “He’s improving slowly; one step at a time. He’s amazing in so many ways. You can give him a pile of Legos and he’ll build you a man with a sword. But he struggles with learning letters and numbers. And he’s not comfortable in most social situations. It’s a bit of a mystery.”
VisionCorps is helping him learn to adapt in social situations. Earlier this year, Hudson and his VisionCorp peers took a trip to a restaurant. “He loved learning how to order from a menu by himself,” Rebekah said. He and his friends visited a museum, went on hikes, and even took a boat ride to Annapolis. “He loves playing in water,” she said, “He turned his kayak over on purpose!” Hudson is looking forward to starting art classes with his friends at VisionCorps.
The Robinsons live in Lancaster. Hudson is home-schooled along with his four adopted siblings: twin brothers Jachin and Josiah (13) from Russia; and Havyn (7) and Leilani (4) from Ethiopia.
Once a week, Hudson attends class with peers in the community. But Rebekah notes that many well-intentioned adults often have no real experience interacting with a child who is blind or visually impaired. “When Hudson attends this class, my mother-in-law shadows him to make sure he’s safe,” Rebekah said. “She adores Hudson, but I wish he didn’t need to be shadowed. I wish people understood more about children with vision deficits.”
Seeing how differently her son interacts socially at VisionCorps has given Rebekah deeper insight into her son’s needs. “At VisionCorps, the adults ‘get’ him – they understand what he’s dealing with. They know how to help him learn the skills he needs to navigate through life,” Rebekah said. “He just feels so comfortable with the other kids at VisionCorps. He feels safe there – like he belongs. He can trust them. And the other kids have the same disability, so they have something in common. From a mom’s perspective, he seems like he fits in there. It’s really nice that way.”
VisionCorps is Hudson’s comfort zone. It is also a place where he can try new things as he grows and his needs change. It is a unique learning resource that he and his family can depend on today, and in the future.
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