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Visually impaired boy becoming more independent, confident - THonline.

com: Tri-state News

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Visually impaired boy becoming more independent, confident

BY STACEY BECKER TH STAFF WRITER * SBECKER@WCINET.COM | Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:00 am Trevor Meyer swept his white cane from side to side. The back of his hand brushed a wall while he listened for noises. Legally blind, Trevor used his other senses to reach the Fenelon Place Elevator. As he triumphantly stood atop the historic site on a recent Wednesday, the 10-year-old saw his city through its myriad sounds: vehicles driving, people talking and birds chirping. Trevor said he's "pretty good" at the mini-adventures called Cardinal Cruisin' -- an activity in the city that lets him explore and test his skills with his brother, Nate, 8, who also is legally blind. "It's just taking the extra time to let him explore everything," said Chrissy Murphy, an orientation and mobility specialist with Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. A few years ago, Murphy started to work with Trevor at Lincoln Elementary School. She said the now fifthgrader has grown a lot since their first lessons on how to use a white cane. "I can see a definite sense of confidence building in him," Murphy said. Trevor's mother, Christine, also has seen almost daily growth in her son. "He's made a lot of progress," she said. Trevor, who has retinitis pigmentosa, doesn't rely as heavily on adult assistance anymore. When he enters rooms at Lincoln, he places his white cane near the door and walks to his seat. One of his favorite classes is a small-group math class with teacher Brian Neises. "I'm good at math," Trevor said, smiling. He can breeze through math equations in braille and loves to use base 10 blocks. He especially enjoys using big numbers. "A few years back, math made him angry, and now he's really flying," Neises said. Belinda Voelschow, a teacher of students with visual impairments at Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, also has noticed Trevor's newfound love of math. She said he does a lot of mental math and is learning how to use an abacus to add and subtract. "The abacus is a pencil and a paper to a blind child," Voelschow said. The two also have been working on braille and braille contractions, or word shortcuts in braille. "He's been progressing nicely," Voelschow said. 10/15/2013

Visually impaired boy becoming more independent, confident - Tri-state News

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Trevor said it was hard to learn braille at first, but he thinks he's "pretty good at it" now. However, there are some days when he said he just doesn't like braille. "The Trevor I know is different than the Trevor they told me I was going to get," she said. "He's a dreamer. He's just a nice kid." Trevor enjoys playing games, is eager to try new things and likes R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" book "I like to listen to people read books to me," he said. Nowadays, Trevor is practicing on having his white cane with him all the time, walking faster, wearing his sunglasses when needed and coping with frustration. There are times when frustrations set in, like moments when traffic is confusing or he gets lost. At those times, Trevor is starting to learn to take a deep breath, refocus and try again. "He's a very inquisitive little boy. He wants to understand what's around him," Murphy said. At home, things are taken one day at a time. "It's hard for me because he'll never know what we look like," Christine Meyer said. She said Trevor started to lose his sight at such a young age that he doesn't remember his family's faces. He knows them by their voices, cologne and perfume. "He thinks he was born that way," she said. "It doesn't even faze him." Trevor, who likes Animal Planet's "River Monsters," now dreams of becoming a professional fisherman. "Cause I think it'd be awesome," he said. series. 10/15/2013

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