Future Reflections Winter/Spring 2000, Vol. 19 No. 1
Editor’s Note: Crystal is the president of the Ohio Parents of Blind Children and a former member of the Board of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children.
Gambling, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes—we are all familiar with these well-known addictions. But there is an almost unknown addiction to which my daughter, Macy—through my ignorance and innocence—fell prey. I am writing this article to help other parents of very young blind children avoid this addiction, or to break the habit if it has already taken hold.
Here’s our story. Macy at a very, very young age developed a love for music. In order to please her we bought her a tape player and lots of tapes for her to listen to. As time went by, Macy grew more and more attached to her tape player. Soon, she couldn’t go anywhere without her trusty tape player.
As her family, we began to feel the unpleasant consequences of her addiction. We had to turn tapes over in the middle of the night, and had to have spare batteries every place we went. We never had a quiet time, ever. We had become co-dependents. Finally, we realized we had to do something to keep our sanity. It was not a short process or an easy one. Frantically, I called everyone I knew asking how I could stop this. Most of the people I called were probably wondering how the heck I let this happen to begin with.
We started out very slowly pulling the tape player away. First we started playing storybook tapes instead of music. Gradually we were down to only listening to music at bedtime. We spent many sleepless nights due to Macy’s screaming and crying. She would bang her head on anything she could find when the music was off. She was going through withdrawal. We remained strong and continued to wean her from her precious tape player.
The road to recovery was long, but the trauma is now over. Macy is 7 years old now, and we listen to tapes maybe once or twice a week. Macy still has a great love of music, not because of her blindness, but just because of who she is. She plays the piano beautifully, has started guitar lessons, and occasionally plays the harmonica and bongo drums. She says she would like to be a piano teacher someday. She is still in love with music but we will never let it become an addiction like the tape player.
Please prevent this ordeal from happening to your family. Know when to say “enough!” You’ll be glad you did.