Faces are hard

When you live with somebody who has cortical/cerebral visual impairment, CVI, you think you know. Especially when you’ve known them from birth, when you’ve devoted your life to caring and learning about that person. Sounds are hard, I get it. We’re going someplace new, we’ll talk a lot about it, compare it to a familiar place, prelearn a map whenever possible, I get it. He looks at faces but faces are hard. He cannot recognize faces, he cannot recognize me. By now I’ve seen him not recognize familiar friends, people, teachers, many many times. You know this person, you know CVI, and its impact still catches you off guard, even after ten years.

The end of another school year means bringing home lots of school work. More than normal from his small school with its emphasis on hands on learning. Penguins are a favorite. Already he’s brought home penguin block print cards, a penguin clay mug, a papier-mâché penguin, and his masterpiece, a painting of a penguin.

And book reports. Nontraditional book reports. One in particular he was excited to be reunited with. After reading the Sorcerer’s Stone audiobook, he decided to report on it in the form of a character bottle. Hagrid, with his larger than life persona, and larger than life salient features, was always a favorite. But he settled on Fred. Or George. The Weasley twins, but which one? How about both? One side would be Fred, the other George, identical of course.

Fred. Or George?

Using materials around the house, plus a store bought bottle and shades of felt, the bottle was crafted. Paper for a white shirt. A felt robe, tie, scarf. Bright orange yarn we’ll never use again, for hair. Newsprint stuffed inside their head. What to do for their face?

“What should we do for the face?” A simple enough question.

“NO FACE!! – HE DOESN’T NEED A FACE!!!”

The force of his reaction took my breath away, it stopped me in my tracks. NO FACE!! Of course. Faces are hard. Harder than you know. Even make believe faces. Even after ten years.

No face. We settled on eyes. Green glitter glue eyes. NO FACE!!

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