Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Recommendations

Perhaps it is only a matter of time before e-readers, iPads and Nooks beat out the good ol' paper books, but I imagine books about raising and teaching a blind child, like most everything else to do with blind children, will be slow to catch up with the rest of the technology world. I've commented before on how hard it is for me to spend the money on a technical book like this due to the high cost vs. usability. So I ask again, is the content really worth the money?

The answer I've found is, "Yes, some books are worth the money and time spent on them." So for the parents and professionals out there reading this blog post, I've listed a few titles below which I've found helpful in my quest to become more knowledgeable and prepared in giving my daughter all she needs. I hope you'll take the time to read them as well. Which brings me to my next question... How many of you would borrow these books to read from an online library? Please leave comments below!

  • "Beginning with Braille: Firsthand Experiences with a Balanced Approach to Literacy" by Anna M. Swenson
  • "A Parents' Guide to Special Education for Children with Visual Impairments" by Susan LaVenture (whom I've met personally; Such a wonderful and inspiring person!)
  • "Early Focus" by Pogrund & Fazzi

Friday, July 22, 2011

Braille Fun Magnets & Textured Paper

Textured paper is great for adding texture to images to create raised tactile graphics. Different textures can be used for an unlimited number of arts and crafts projects, making the subject much more fun for blind and visually impaired children. Young children can learn attributes of different textures like smooth, rough, bumpy and more- even zebra stripes!

We have a new package of textured paper that consists of 1 sheet each of 7 different textures. The paper is very colorful as well for children with low vision. Each sheet is 6" x 12". Package sells for $7.50 - compare to blindness websites' products. Save money and have more fun with Sensory Sun products! Email us at for ordering instructions until our new ecommerce website is up and ready! We also have new braille foam alphabet magnets for children 3 years and older. The large 26 piece magnet set sells for $10. AVAILABLE NOW!

Gathering for a common cause

My family and I arrived home last Sunday night from a wonderful weekend in Boston. We, along with several other families of children diagnosed with anophthalmia and micropthalmia, gathered in the historical city for a weekend of learning, bonding and support. Words cannot completely express the atmosphere in the ballroom the night of registration where families met, some for the first time- others reconnecting after meeting at previous ICAN or other blindness conferences. The room was full of emotion. You could feel the excitement, listening to all the hellos and introductions forming new friendships. Children played while their laughter echoed the hallways. Most of all, I felt the comfort. The comfort of knowing all these families, even though we were all still different, had felt similar trials and tribulations, anxiety of the unknown, and eventually the triumphs, of raising a child like mine.

We all came from different places, one family as far away as the Bahamas, while another parent flew in from the UK and also presented at the Saturday event. But we were all there for one reason. Some children had some vision, others had never had any at all. Some were siblings with perfect vision, other siblings also had vision loss.

It was something to experience all the children playing together at the Saturday night dinner party. It was like any other childrens' event- full of laughter, running, parent's voices of direction, and of course a few tears were shed over who got to hold the microphone to sing karaoke. My point being, we aren't any different just because we can't see!

A conference such as this one, is a priceless experience, however it takes quite a bit of money to hold it every two years. If anyone would like to help ICAN, please become a fundraiser on, or locate a fundraiser through and donate raised funds there. You will hear more about the Boston conference in my next blog posts, but until then I urge you to read about anophthalmia and micropthalmia online at If you have questions, please feel free to email me or post your comments here! We love raising awareness about anophthalmia!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

TOMS Shoes with Braille!

OK, so I love to shop, especially for my daughter - what mom doesn't? I finally found a local store carrying kids sized TOMS SHOES!! After figuring out her size, I wasn't left with many 'girly' options color-wise (the silver sparkles weren't in stock in her size), but I settled on a cute pair navy/purple/white painted, size 9 Tiny TOMS. My little girl has little feet!

Well I love the mission of the TOMS company to give a pair to a child in need for every pair purchased, and it's only a plus to the fact that TOMS are easy to personalize! I hurried home to make a one of a kind pair of shoes for my sweet darling.

I used Glitter Glue and Swarovski Crystals to spell "Madilyn" in bling-y braille dots. It's always bothered me that braille dots have to be so uniform and somewhat 'boring' compared to all the beautiful and fun fonts we print all over our world, so I'm so pleased with my creativity in making Braille Bling! Hmm... maybe that can be the name of one of Sensory Sun's product lines... Okay, so here is what I have so far. I also painted a sweet glittery heart under her name. I haven't yet committed to what design I'll put on the left shoe. I'm up for ideas! What do you think about "Walk by Faith" from the heartfelt Corinthians verse?

If you want to order a pair, or two or three, of TOMS with braille crystal designs (or I can do boyish, too), just email me today! EMAIL:

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7