Beeping Egg Hunt Helps Visually Impaired Celebrate Easter

Glenview Lantern - Mar 31st, 2015

Written by Alex Mayster of Glenview Lantern

With the month of April now upon us, children all over the world have begun their countdown to Easter. As with most holidays, many families have developed their own, unique traditions, the majority of which revolve around kids. A practice many families participate this time of year: egg hunts.

Tracking down those pastel-colored eggs may seem like an easy enough task to most, but for the visually impaired, it’s not that simple. That’s where The Chicago Lighthouse comes in.

On March 25, the Glenview-based organization hosted its second annual beeping Easter egg hunt, which allows children with vision problems to seek out the eggs through sound, rather than sight.

Danielle West, a developmental therapist with The Chicago Lighthouse, said the organization created the beeping Easter egg hunt last year to help visually impaired patients participate in the often fun-filled Easter festivities.

“It gives them an experience that most sighted kids have, and possibly take for granted,” she said.

Around a dozen kids — a mix of visually impaired children and their siblings — took part in the hunt for both beeping and typical Easter eggs on the chilly afternoon at Glenview’s Central Park, located at Lehigh Avenue and Central Road.

In addition to offering a fun experience for the kids, the egg hunt also aimed to bring families in similar situations together, according to Marla Garstka, The Chicago Lighthouse’s director of children’s programming.

“So many families want to be connected with other parents,” she said. “It’s a hard thing when you’re in a town and you’re the only family with a child with a visual impairment.”

It’s clear the parents involved were appreciative of the chance to meet other moms and dads.

“It’s so wonderful. Bringing together parents and children who have special needs is extraordinary,” Julie Rognstad said. “It really means a lot to the special needs families that they can participate in a class together.”

Others were just excited their children had the chance to take part in an Easter egg hunt for the first time.

“It means a ton. It means he can do something every other kid can do,” Amanda Torihara said. “To have something we can come to, and is set up for us, it really does mean a lot. It helps us feel less isolated.”

Fellow mother Anna Grana agreed. “It’s awesome that they take into account kids with disabilities because there’s not as much offered for them,” she said.

The idea to put together a beeping Easter egg hunt originally came to light during social club hosted by The Chicago Lighthouse to develop programs for kids. Beeping balls had already proven to be a successful tool in various classes, so the decision was made to extend that theme into the beeping eggs.

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