Getting Ready

To go back to school for our daughter, Shantel, involves a lot more than buying new school clothes, and taking a quick look at where her classes are located…It takes hours and hours of practice learning the route to and from each class once the rooms are located. It involves finding directional landmarks along the way that will help her navigate the busy breezeways once they are filled with hundreds of students all trying to get to their classes at the same time. And let’s not forget all the maintenance and security guard workers traveling the same breezeways on their little motorized carts.

So, today, I took Shantel, and her best friend, Jaz, to their college campus to begin the long, tedious, yearly ritual of finding Shantel’s classes. Jaz is more familiar with the campus than I am so she was a great help locating the classrooms. Then, we had to decide which route has the best landmarks that will help Shantel navigate the campus in the most effective way on her own.

We started off at the student center which is a familiar area for Shantel, and where she waits for her dial-a-ride home every day. To get around a little faster in familiar areas, Shantel and Jaz walked sighted guide.


When Shantel navigates this area alone, she uses the deep cracks as a guide to keep her straight until she reaches the pole at the door.


Once Shantel reaches the pole at the door, she will use the deep crack to the right of the pole (sweeping her cane back and forth over it to help keep her straight). This crack will take her through a wide open space that will take her to one of the breezeways she will use that will lead her to her first class.

As Shantel is  walking in the breezeway, she will stay to the right, sweeping her cane to the edge of the sidewalk, which helps her stay straight and out of other students way. She makes note of the Pepsi machine as it makes a humming noise. It will also serve as a landmark for her letting her know she is in the right breezeway for this class.


After she passes the Pepsi machine, she makes note of three pillars. When she reaches the third pillar she knows to turn right and stay to the right of the sidewalk until she finds a concrete bench where she will turn left.


Once Shantel makes the left turn at the bench, her classroom is the first door on the left.  Great Job Shantel! Now, repeat, repeat, repeat…


Then, when you have this classroom down pat…we only have four more to go… 🙂 Shantel did say she sure hopes no one decides to move the Pepsi machine or the concert bench… I told her I think she will be safe as they both look like they are there to stay…

Now, while Shantel is practicing all this, I’m reminding her she needs to be mindful of the carts that go back and forth between the buildings so she doesn’t get run over. Notice how the cart is blocking access to the pole and covering the deep crack Shantel uses as a landmark to let her know where to turn…


Shantel laughs and says “mom, those carts are the least of my worries right now.”

The other thing Shantel runs up against is often times there are activities going on throughout the campus, and at any given time the wide open spaces, and even the breezeways, can be filled with display tables that may cover the deep cracks or block landmarks Shantel needs to use… Imagine this space filled with tables and chairs and hundreds of people etc…


That happened a lot last year but Shantel always managed to find her way around the obstacles… We are so very PROUD of her and how she manages each and every challenge put before her. I don’t know that I would fare near as well as she does…

When today’s practice session was over, I took the girls shopping at one of their favorite places, Mid-K.


Then, of course they were starving so we went to lunch at a new restaurant Shantel heard about that had great reviews… called Hong Kong Kitchen. I have to say it was delicious! I had chicken lo mein and asked for the lunch portion…. half of this was more than enough for me…


And it came with egg drop soup, like I needed more to eat…


Shantel had the same thing and ate all of hers saying “OMG this is my new favorite place to eat” and began asking Jaz if she thought they could get there on the bus for lunch since it was really close to the college campus… Jaz said it would be no problem and she loved the food too but Jaz took half of hers home.. I have to say one thing about Shantel, she sure can eat a lot… and how she stays so slim is beyond me…

I can almost bet when we go back next week for more practice time at the college campus, Shantel is going to want to also visit Hong Kong Kitchen again… in fact, it’s a given. 🙂

Stay tuned!

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