By Heather Withrow, Mom, COMS
Photos by A. Withrow
April 12, 2023
This is not a tall fishing tale, it really happened! I'd mulled about how to make something that's not really accessible to a DeafBlind child like my son Orion. Easter Eggs are deliberately hidden, and an entire backyard's going to take forever to systematically search independently or via hand-under-hand! How about some beacons that just point down below going, "Here's an egg right below me!" Waitamin, a different "B" can do this... balloons tied to eggs!
Orion experienced a chocolate bunny [the Monday night after Easter]. He'd been introduced on Easter day to gathering "eggs" tied by string to helium-filled mylar balloons. [Monday] was day 2 for finishing up finding the last of them. One was tied to a good-sized chocolate bunny!
Orion enjoys a nip off a chocolate bunny's ear. (Photo by H. Withrow)
ID (Image Description): A white haired, white 12-year-old DeafBlind boy (Orion) is laying on a carpet. He is holding a chocolate bunny in his right hand, a piece of its ear is missing. The bunny has a red ribbon collar that has a string tied to it that stretches out of frame to the balloon it is attached to (out of frame). He has pieces of foil in his left hand.
Here's what I hunted for to pull off this activity:
- Small bag of little peanut butter cups
- Small bag of wrapped bite-sized Snickers
- A handful of dark chocolate chips
- At least 10 re-closable plastic eggs (they had two holes on both ends of the egg)
- 10 helium-filled mylar balloons (They were $1.25 each at Dollar Tree)
For each egg + balloon combo, take the string from a balloon and thread it through two holes on a plastic egg and tie them off when the height of the balloon was satisfactory. I had the balloons float around the height of Orion's shoulder. Divide the candy amongst the eggs, close 'em up. We spread them around within the space a familiar room that was enclosed by furniture, in our case, it was our TV/family room. When it was GO time, I took one egg/balloon to Orion for the purpose of familiarizing him with this creation. That first egg had the dark chocolate chips that I knew would get Orion's interest right away.
ID: Orion is sitting up and using both of his hands to touch a plastic egg that is in Mom's hand, a balloon that is tied to the egg is partially obscuring Orion's face. (Photo by A. Withrow)
Orion KNOWS balloon characteristics and what it does. Every now and then we would get a balloon and tie it to a toy or something and give it to him where it will stay near him. He would "reel" the balloon down by its string to grasp it. When I introduced the first balloon with egg payload to him, the string was available for him to feel and we both pulled it up until we both had the egg. Orion then, in his way, requested assistance with the egg. I supported holding the egg from below while leaving it for Orion to try to part the egg. Aha, fine dark chocolate! These weird eggs that the big people were so bubbly about were worth it!
ID: Orion walks from the back side of the couch toward the front of the couch. He is supported by an adult holding his left hand. His right hand is free and just about to contact a silver mylar balloon. The egg it's tied to is not in the image. (Photo by A. Withrow)
ID: A "next step" image of the situation described above. Orion's forearm or wrist is in contact with the string of a silver mylar balloon. (Photo by A. Withrow)
ID: A "next, next step" image of the situation described above. Orion has seized the above-mentioned balloon by folding his right arm around the string, with his right hand close to his chest. His left hand is touching the balloon. Mom has moved her supporting hands to his torso. (Photo by A. Withrow)
ID: In a different view of the TV room and with Orion still enclosing the string of a silver mylar balloon in his folded right arm, he appears to reach with his left hand toward an orange mylar balloon in front of him. Mom is supporting him at his torso. In the background are three more colorful mylar balloons. (Photo by A. Withrow)
Orion walked out of the bedroom to the TV room with support twice on Easter. The following images are from the second trip out to the egg + balloon buffet he was not done with.
ID: A shirtless Orion leans back in a recliner with Mom. He's multitasking, holding a pillow in his legs, his right hand grasping the string of a balloon and his left hand open and ready to grasp the egg at the string's end. Mom is looking at Orion's focused facial expression. (Photo by A. Withrow)
ID: The topic of the image is the side view of Orion's hands on top of a blue plastic egg. One of Mom's hands is supporting the egg from below. (Photo by A. Withrow)
ID: The topic of the image is a close-up and top view of Orion's hands on top of a blue plastic egg. Orion's thumbs appear to be pressed against the egg's center. One of Mom's hands is supporting the egg from below. (Photo by A. Withrow)
ID: This is a "next step" from the image above, where Orion's hand positioning changed, as if his fingers lightened up in order to re-grasp the egg. (Photo by A. Withrow)
The blue egg has opened at last!
ID: Orion has a half of one blue plastic egg grasped in each hand, a brown-red-white-wrapped candy is visible within. A string is visible coming from beyond his fingers and egg, going straight up and out the top of the image. (Photo by A. Withrow)
ID: Both of Orion's hands are lightly touching their halves of a blue plastic egg; specifically his left pincer is touching the edge of a half while his right pincer has a wrapped bite-sized piece of Snickers candy. (Photo by A. Withrow)
Fast forward to Monday, the day after Easter. I corralled some balloons that drifted away from the previous day's action so it'd be in Orion's anticipated path of travel. Orion hooked them with his arm, fished up the eggs and retrieved his prizes.
I snapped close some empty eggs and he'd found them, opened them and become upset. I realized I needed to leave them open so that he'd know with a quick touch that it was empty. That quick realization didn't help his immense disappointment. I had to find something fast. The extra candy from Easter went AWOL already! Luckily there was a foil-wrapped Lindt chocolate bunny that Dad bought for Orion earlier. I managed to tie a balloon, with only half an egg still attached, around the bunny's red ribbon collar and positioned it near our vexed Orion. That was definitely a haul to reel in, actually, to pull toward him because he was on the floor already. Holy mackerel, the biggest piece of chocolate ever, to date! (This bunny is being nibbled on by Orion in first photo at top of this post.)
Ironically he didn't finish it off. He was back to searching the rug and space just above it with outstretched arms--- perhaps for Snickers and peanut butter cups?
VIDEO: Orion considers and proceeds to nip off pieces of a chocolate Easter bunny's ears. The setting is a living room rug, shirtless Orion holding a chocolate bunny in his hand. The bunny is tied at the neck with a string to a balloon floating above. (36 second video.)
Tying balloons to eggs or other fun items would be an accessible activity for people of all ages who may not always be able to crouch or bend down to retrieve items on the ground.