By Jacob Perkins
Hunting eggs has long been a staple for children around Easter. However, children with visual impairments can miss out on the fun. The Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) has found a way to get their students involved in the Easter tradition by hosting an accessible egg hunt.
“A lot of times in their (the students’) communities, there aren’t egg hunts where they can actually find the eggs,” KSB Principal Jackie Williams said. “Our eggs have beepers and different things that make it easier for them to find without sight.”
While the weather didn’t cooperate for an outside Easter egg hunt, that didn’t keep the fun away. The event was moved to the library, where students dyed eggs with shaving cream and hunted the accessible eggs while receiving help from some of Louisville’s first responders. This allowed students to find eggs by using senses other than vision.
Before the first responders could assist the students, they had to complete what Williams called “Blindness 101 training.”
“Our orientation and mobility teachers went over how to do sighted guide, because it is very specific to individuals with visual impairments,” Williams said. “This teaches the first responders how to appropriately interact (with the students).”
Sighted guide is a technique in which an individual that is blind or has low vision holds the arm of the guide above the elbow and allows the guide to walk one half-step ahead.
“Anytime that there’s an organization that is advocating for the well-being of kids, we’re happy to be involved in any way that we possibly can.” said Bobby Cooper, battalion chief from the Louisville Division of Fire.
The Second Division Louisville Firefighters were joined by soldiers from Fort Knox Recruiting command and Louisville police officers.
Williams said that it was important for the students to be familiar with the first responders.
“It’s important having the emergency responders with them (the students), so that they understand that the emergency responders are nice,” Williams said. “If the students were to encounter them out in the community, they’ll be able to trust them a little bit more than what they would if they did not have this experience.”
Cooper said that when the firefighters come through in an emergency situation, they look and sound much different.
“To anybody it can be startling when we come busting through the doors or walking down the halls. With kids that may not be familiar with the fire department, we want them to know that we’re here to help and to not be scared when we do show up.” Cooper said.