PERKASIE, Pa. - A community is giving the gift of sight to a Bucks County teen through technology.
Andrew Lowe, a teen from Perkasie, uses the eSight glasses which help legally blind people see.
"They help me read and be able to see people's faces better," said Andrew.
Andrew can connect the glasses to his television and can also use his computer screen to control the zoom, contrast, and lights.
He's had the glasses for a couple of months, after being diagnosed with Stargardt's disease two years ago.
Stargardt's disease is a visual impairment where the individual eventually loses all of their central vision, a diagnosis his mother was not ready for.
"I don't even know where to start. It hits you like a ton of bricks," said Julie Lowe. "You feel sad for him and you worry about what life will be like for him."
The quest to get the glasses came while a family member was watching a syndicated talk show and heard about the company.
"The problem is," said Lowe. "They're $15,000. I just kind of rolled my eyes and I thought well there's a pipe dream. That will never happen."
But it did happen, Andrew's story spread around Sellersville, and other parts of Bucks County.
Andrew became the focal point of the community.
"I was surprised that people cared enough to actually donate money to my eSight glasses," said Andrew.
The Perkasie Lions Club and the entire student body at Faith Christian Academy raised the money, plus an additional $2,000 to get Andrew a laptop.
"It's one thing to see an act of kindness for you," added Julie Lowe. "It's a whole other thing when people love on your kids and are really willing to sacrifice and meet a need in their lives. Words can't express how touching that is."
After two months, some things are still a little blurry as Andrew learns the controls.
But one thing that is in clear view, this new technology has given the teen added confidence and hopefully his experience with the cutting edge technology will give more people a view of the world around them.
The tears. The frustration. The late-night run for poster board. Yep, it’s homework season.
While the National Education Association suggests that students be assigned no more than 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night, bulging backpacks are proof that this guideline isn’t always followed. How does your family handle schoolwork stress?
“Kids aren’t lazy,” says Marcella Moran, coauthor of Organizing the Disorganized Child: Simple Strategies to Succeed in School (Harper Collins; 2009). “When they constantly forget or choose not to do things, there is a reason behind it—and often that reason is overwhelm.”
Success at school starts at home, says Moran, and parents and children need to work together as a team for a great academic year. She offers these six steps to help eliminate homework drama:
1. Get the right tools. First, parents should make sure their child has the right organizing tools. “When kids don’t use their planner or binders, it means the system is not right for them,” says Moran. “One size does not fit all.”
Start by asking your child what they like and don’t like about their organizing tools. Sometimes the problem is as simple as the planner’s writing space being too small or the binder being too cumbersome. Then come up with strategies that are tailored for them.
For example, if your child forgets to bring home assignments, create a dedicated homework folder that is used for all subjects.
2. Create an after-school routine. When kids get home from school, they need a snack and a break, says Moran: “Diving right into homework can cause kids to struggle.”
She suggests scheduling in about a half hour of downtime. To make sure kids don’t get lost in play, set a timer. When the bell goes off, it’s time to do homework.
3. Pick a good location. Your child’s homework area should be relatively quiet. Older students will often complete homework in their rooms, and Moran says their desks should be free from distracting trinkets and toys. She also suggests using a web-blocking program, such as SelfControl, which will help kids focus on homework instead of social media.
Younger students should do their homework near parents or caretakers who can offer help when needed. “Sometimes just being within eyesight of a parent gives younger kids a sense of comfort,” says Moran.
4. Ease into assignments. Moran says parents should encourage kids to begin with the easier work, which will give them a sense of accomplishment. “If they start with the tougher stuff, they can get frustrated and give up,” she says.
If homework is overwhelming, break it down into doable tasks. For example, instead of tackling all of the math problems at once, have your child do two at a time.
5. Have a backup plan. If kids have trouble writing down their homework, use the buddy system, says Moran. Have your child check in with a classmate to make sure he or she isn’t forgetting something.
Also, teachers will often post homework on their websites. Moran says this can be a good way to double-check that your child is completing all assignments, but be aware that last-minute changes don’t always appear online.
6. And include breaks. Moran says elementary-aged students can work for about a 30 minutes before they start to get distracted. Older students can work longer. She suggests taking a five- to 10-minute break—but not on the computer.
“Have your child get up and move—shoot some baskets or jump on a trampoline,” she says. “Physical exercise releases chemicals in the brain that will help them focus when it’s time to get back to the books.”
Stephanie Vozza is the author of The Five-Minute Mom’s Club: 105 Tips to Make a Mom’s Life Easier. She also writes about organization, time management and productivity for Entrepreneur.