Our Stars – Judy Hornsby, A Teacher of Children with Special Needs
By Joyce A. Rogers
December 1, 2011
Judy Hornsby became involved with adults and children who are blind or visually impaired quite serendipitously. She was a young woman aged nineteen in 1961, and she was looking for a summer job while attending college. Contacts she made when her great-grandparents died resulted in a job at a summer camp for adults and children who were blind or visually impaired. After working one summer at the camp, Judy was positively engaged in becoming a teacher of children who needed skills in reading Braille and using an abacus for math calculations.
Under the expert guidance of Ms. Loetta Hunt, a skilled and experienced professor at Ohio State, Judy obtained the skills needed to make her dream a reality. Judy not only taught her students special skills; she inspired them to become positive, independent, and self-sufficient in a world that is not always friendly to people who have skills in addition to those most other people have. It is indeed puzzling why others do not like us or want us around in many cases. Perhaps, they feel threatened because we tend to be more resourceful, more dedicated to our jobs (when we are allowed to have jobs), and more ready to take on challenges than is the usual or normal run of people.
In the 1980’s, Judy made a grand discovery, Camp Campbell Gard, A YMCA camp run by Mr. Larry De Lozier. Mr. De Lozier had an attitude of including all children. Camp Campbell Gard is still a camp where sighted and blind children learn to work and play together. What a concept! Maybe, some adults could learn mighty important lessons from Mr. De Lozier and his summer camp children. Judy remembers the camp receiving letters from the parents of sighted kids saying that they were grateful for the positive experience their children had with children who were blind.
One matter that greatly bothers Judy Hornsby now that she is retired is that the future of education for children who have special needs seems to be over-populated with school administrators and teachers who lack the common sense and dedication to provide proper assistance. Funds may be in short supply at times, but good judgment seems to be in even shorter supply. For example, children who are totally blind need to learn Braille; just listening to audio books is not a sufficient adaptive skill. We certainly hope and pray that more teachers like Judy Hornsby enter the profession of teaching children with special needs.