Yesterday Jack and I attended a Bounce session run by Useful Vision, a charity supporting children with vision impairment in the North East. We met at the Alan Shearer Centre which offers a range of stimulating and relaxing activities for disabled people of all ages, including a giant ball pool, a hydrotherapy pool, a sensory cave, and music and craft rooms.
There were a small group of people including the organiser and her assistant (who has Nystagmus), another mum and fourth month old baby with microphthalmia (underdeveloped eyes), and two people from Jo Jingles. We had some lunch and got to know each other, and then had a Jo Jingles session (singing, dancing, playing with colourful objects/musical instruments) in a big ball pool. Jack loved it and made some new friends including a big banana in pjamas!!! I must admit I did too!!!
It was really good being able to talk to others who have and are going through a similar situation to us. I asked the assistant with nystagmus lots of questions about her experiences. She was very positive and said the only thing she cannot do is drive. I wouldn’t have noticed her nystagmus if I hadn’t known in advance, but she said her mum can always tell when she tells lies as her eyes wobble a lot! She is the only one in her family who has nystagmus and her two children haven’t inherited it.
I had not heard of microphthalmia before. The Mum whose son has it said that when he was born she was told he was blind. After eight days they said he may have some sight, but it’s very hard for her as she has to wait until he is six months before they can test further and operate if necessary. So sad.
The Alan Shearer centre is an excellent facility and I found out that Jack is allowed to register free and have up to five half hour sessions free per week (courtesy of a subsidy by St Cuthbert’s Care).