Washington County VA

Visual challenges no problem for bright student

GLADE SPRING, Va. - For anyone with children in school, you know that the middle school years can be difficult with a new school, new students, new courses.

Imagine if your student was blind and how would he or she handle those challenges? One Glade Spring Middle schooler welcomes a challenge.

Finding your way to a classroom in a school you've never been to before can be challenging. Luckily we have a guide, Chandler Foster, a seventh grader who's been blind since birth.

"Do you see the school?," we asked. "Yes, sometimes when I'm walking and I just stop and just point around at every other direction just to get a feel of the school. Especially last year when I came to Glade Spring Middle School. I did that a lot because it was a new school," Chandler said.

But he sure knows his way around now and even in a crowded hallway he knows people just by the sound of their voices. "Sometimes they even disguise their voice and I'll get it and they wonder how I do that," he says.

He has no assistance except in one class, math. The teacher wondered how he would teach him about the geometry sections of the class. "Over the summer it was something I thought a lot about but once Miss Kate, Chandler's aid came in, and she uses the tape to create the angles and create the shapes, create anything that we need to. What you and I would see he gets to feel with his tape," math teacher Adam Abel said.

It's called tech tile -- he feels the angles in question and then transfers his answers in Braille. He needs no pencil and paper -- he figures it out in his head.

His special education teacher has been with him since the beginning of his education. "We fought the hard fight. We started out in special education way at the beginning when he was in preschool and we've gone through kindergarten. And here we are in seventh grade," Kate Jacob said.

And loving learning, learning anything, and doing very well. Chandler isn't concerned about not being able to see; it's just another challenge. "Some people say that sight is a distraction sometimes and sometimes I can see things that sighted people can't see," He said.

He's an excellent example of vision that has nothing to do with being able to see.

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