Cincinnati Association for the
Blind & Visually Impaired

Lucille Scholten

Like many 13 year old girls, Lucille (Lucy) Scholten loves unicorns. She especially enjoys a song that she wrote with her mother, Nicole, called “Lucy the Unicorn.” Since Lucy is nonverbal and uses a wheelchair, she has unique abilities that sometimes require assistance from others to help her participate.

Lucy’s parents, Nicole and Chad, brought Lucy to CABVI for services within six months after learning that she had vision loss. Through CABVI’s Early Childhood and Youth Services, they were able to receive emotional support, information, and resources to help Lucy learn and grow. Lucy has cortical visual impairment which means that her brain has difficulty processing what she sees. With the help of CABVI’s early intervention specialists, Lucy slowly began to make meaning from the sensory input of her eyes. CABVI specialists looked at how Lucy was using her vision in order to develop “best accommodations” for her. Nicole and Chad also learned to talk about specific objects and let Lucy touch them in order for her to achieve greater understanding.

Using a sensory play place, Lucy’s parents created a cozy space with common objects hanging from the top of it so she could see and potentially interact with the objects (like keys, a measuring cup, a ball, or a block). CABVI’s music therapist also worked with Lucy from a very young age using music as a motivator for intentional activity and participation.

Lucy communicates and interacts using talking devices and switch mechanisms that allow her to initiate an activity. Nicole and CABVI’s music therapist, Paige Elwafi, recently worked with Lucy’s Dater Montessori class to write a group song about various animals that ride the “Dater Gator Van.” The group was in the school talent show and everyone waited for Lucy to start the show by “switching on” a recording of the song. Her mother, Nicole, says, “It is compelling to see how joyous Lucy is when she interacts to make music. She had a marvelous time performing and the other kids loved it as well.” Lucy has a PVC pipe frame that holds chimes and a tambourine for her to play. Lucy’s family and teachers are pleased by her progress as she increases her skill to use her vision and participate in the world around her.