Sako and his BCLC Teacher, Danette Davis, attended the Shared Visions Art Exhibit at Ketchum University in 2011 (above). Sao showcased art he drew with his face about an inch away from the page.
Books with added Braille helped Sako gain literacy in elementary school.
As Sarkas “Sako” Khrimian, 21, visited Blind Children’s Learning Center for a “trip down memory lane,” he was reminded of the academic and social obstacles he overcame.
Braille instruction and Orientation & Mobility training from first to twelfth grade gave Sako a sense of independence, despite being legally blind. In addition to academic progress and navigation skills, his instructors also taught him the crucial skills of self-advocacy, pursuing interests, and appropriate socialization with kids his age.
Sako worked most closely with his Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Danette Davis. In addition to Braille instruction and tutoring, she integrated lessons with classroom activities so he never felt isolated. Sako’s self-advocacy grew with his educational interests. By middle school, he had fully transitioned from special education to a typical classroom.
His mother Armine fondly remembers Danette improving his socialization skills. “Sako felt comfortable among adults, but Danette encouraged him to socialize with fellow students. She pushed him more than his teachers, helping him become responsible and an overall good person.”
Orientation & Mobility (O&M) allowed Sako to navigate with his cane and tap into his sense of exploration. The Center’s O&M instructor, Andy Griffin, came up with fun challenges to incorporate his curriculum. Sako boasts, “When I read Dracula, I insisted we do lessons in a cemetery!” Soon he was riding the bus by himself, which his mother describes as a “true statement of independence.”
High school saw Sako expanding his many skills. Very confident navigating his surroundings, he was able to join the school’s wrestling team. He loved being involved in an activity in which people wouldn’t expect him to succeed. With minor accommodations such as a “constant contact” rule, he was able to fully participate.
He challenged himself academically by taking advanced biology, and soon felt like a typical teenager socially. As his low vision stabilized, he relied more on assistive technology, which expanded his world. Sako’s talent in sketch art is a testament to how he channels his low vision.
Sako is now settling into an independent adult life. He recently travelled to Florida alone to attend a convention for the National Federation of the Blind, which shaped his view of the blind community as “resilient, capable of anything we put our minds to.” He hopes to build a career by producing and performing R&B music. “He isn’t afraid of the hard work it will take to get there, thanks to the excellent instruction from Blind Children’s Learning Center,” says Armine.
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OUR MISSION: To prepare children with visual impairments for a life of independence through early intervention, education and family support.