Austin Cole was on a mission for Easter eggs Thursday morning.
With a cane to help him walk and teacher’s aide Tammy Villalovos to help him find his way, the 10-year-old student at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind hunted out beeping eggs in a field next to his school.
When Austin and Villalovos came near an egg they slowed and Austin unsteadily leaned over.
“I’ve got your belt,” Villalovos said, and she helped support him. He held the ground for support with one hand and felt around the grass for the other until he grabbed the egg.
“I’ve got it,” he said smiling as he rose up. He handed the egg to a volunteer who traded him a plastic egg filled with jelly beans.
The annual beeping egg hunt is sponsored by Century Link Pioneers, a group of employees from the company dedicated to volunteer work. They based their beeping eggs — which cost about $6.50 each to make a — off of a beeping softball invented in 1964 so students could play. The group also held a more traditional egg hunt in an adjacent field for deaf students.
Some of the students in the hunt, who had partial sight, had no problems tracking down the eggs.
Other students, such as 2-year-old Lyla Trudo needed a bit more help.
Lyla, who can’t see because of a condition called optic nerve hypoplasia, was led through the grass field by her mom, Ashley Trudo. When they came close to a beeping egg, Ashley Trudo plopped her daughter close by and let her feel around to pick up the egg and put it in the basket.
“Good job,” Ashley exclaimed at her daughter when one egg was placed inside. “You’re good at this honey.”
Lyla isn’t yet a student at the school but she and her mom come by often for services. Ashley Trudo said she was thankful for the egg hunt.
“I love it because it’s one less thing I have to worry about her being different about,” she said. “You don’t realize how many things you rely on your sight for until you have a child who can’t see.”
After the hunt, students got to enjoy their Easter baskets and interact with volunteers dressed like rabbits. Dede Baldwin, who was dressed like the white rabbit from "Alice in Wonderland," tailored her outfit for the blind students.
Instead of the small pocket watch used in the book, hers is a large medallion strung around her neck, with raised numbers and small smooth stones glued on its outer edges. The hands on the clock were made of soft pipe cleaners.
“I wanted to be something they would like to feel,” she said. She also had with her a soft toy chick that would cheep when placed on a hand. At the end of the hunt, she pulled out Austin’s hand and placed the chick inside.
He petted it softly.
“Is it real?” he asked.
“No, it’s not but we’re pretending,” Baldwin said.
“Ok,” he smiled. “I won’t tell.”
Contact Maria St. Louis-Sanchez: 636-0274
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