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Bomb squad creates beeping eggs

Device helps kids with visual impairments

By SHANE NEWELL The Orange County Register (TNS) Published: April 16, 2017 4:00 AM
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SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Beep-beep, beep-beep.

As members of the Orange County Sheriff's Department bomb squad watched, more than two dozen students at Blind Children's Learning Center rushed out of their classroom on Friday, April 7, to scoop up as many Easter eggs -- each sounding like a fire alarm -- as they could find.

The hunt for the kids, age 3 to 6, presented a unique challenge, as they were tasked with finding the eggs through a combination of sight and sound.

With help from volunteers and deputies, the children, some of whom were in wheelchairs, grabbed the eggs. Others ran around chasing their friends before paying a visit to the Easter bunny.

"To see these kids have the opportunities to enjoy being a child in a quality living environment is what's important," said Rick Edgmon, a reserve sheriff's deputy.

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Edgmon said one of the better parts of his job is helping children.

"It's one of the positive aspects that we get to see," he said. "The children are our future."

Minutes before the hunt, members of the bomb squad hid 60 eggs throughout the playground, tucking them inside the jungle gym, tire swing and other spots.

The school, whose students have varying degrees of sight, has partnered with the bomb squad for the past two years.

"We want them to be kids and have fun like everybody else," said Carolyn Baker, the center's development director.

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The aim of the egg hunt is educational, too, teaching students with vision impairments to use both sight and sound, Baker said.

"We want people to understand that you don't limit them and their possibilities," she said.

Students participating in the egg hunt are part of the school's Bright Vision program, which brings together children with vision impairments with others who are fully sighted, according to the school's website. The program teaches kids of all backgrounds about working together.

Blind Children's Learning Center intern Angel Sepulveda said he doesn't think of students differently based on their level of sight after working at the school.

"It kind of gives you joy," Sepulveda said, as he watched his students search for eggs.

Randy Sterett, the bomb squad's sergeant, brought his daughter to the learning center to spend time with the kids.

"To me, this is total chaos," he said. "But for them, it's going to be interesting."


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