Most frequent readers may know that Violet has a serious vision impairment. Her vision was so bad that her brain shut off one eye to be able to form a picture at all, which left her without 3-D vision.
But how does a little girl experience the world, which for her only has two dimensions? Talking to her occupational therapist a lot, I was able to get an idea, even though I could never ever even imagine it. Since she cannot experience the space around her with her eyes, the other senses, especially feeling, has taken over. For now, both in her sessions with her occupational therapist as well as in her daily routine, her therapy is divided in two blocks: experiencing her surroundings and herself in her environment.
Violet's world has no depth, she cannot perceive speed with her eyes, or distance, or a difference in height. Therefore, creating tangible boundaries for her help her to experience space. Building a pillow fort or a blanket tent for her, or wrapping her in a blanket are ways to create a small, safe world to experience this.
Since she cannot perceive speed as we do, letting her alternate between running, walking, and skipping lets her experience how the wind and the air feel at different speed. Letting her push Calvin's stroller, pull a sled or a little cart, jumping on a trampoline or play tug o' war also helps her to perceive the space around her.
Walking on stilts, balancing, walking on slopes or stairs or playing on uneven ground also supports her grounding and confidence in the world around her.
Experiencing herself in this world, massages and other sensoric stimuli are an essential tool. She touches most things she gets in contact with or even puts them in her mouth to experience 3-dimensional bodies. Playing in the sandbox in summer or in the snow in winter, kneating playdough or actual cookie or pizza dough, or recognizing objects while blindfolded helps her with this.
At the moment, her little world is still so full of dangers. Most of the times she cannot tell how fast a car is driving on the street, so she never crosses the street if she sees any cars that are not parked; she cannot see how high a sidewalk is; she touches hot plates or gets splinters when walking with her hand along wooden fences. But step by step, her confidence grows. We are so thankful that despite her challenges, she is still such a happy, little girl who doesn't let her situation keep her from having fun. Her kindergarten teachers love her; the other day, they told me how they love her being the perfect princess inside but as soon as she puts on her mud pants and rubber boots, she starts rolling in the dirt.
Even though her world is not like yours and mine - and maybe never will - she enjoys her life, and enjoys experience it every day. Her joy spreads to everyone around her, and I consider myself so very lucky to be her mommy and to be able to walk this way beside and with her, even though we're separated by one dimension.