CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Six-year-old Rosie from Clay County made national headlines back in November when she appeared on the Kelly Clarkson show and stole our hearts.
Rosie is blind but was reading at three years old thanks, in part, to Braille books that were sent to her through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
I met Rosie at her elementary school in Clay County to see this little star in action. She has learned to see the world through other people’s eyes and if she doesn’t understand something she’s going to ask. She navigates first grade just like any other 6-year-old with curiosity and adventure. Rosie soaks it all in and learns her way.
She’s been reading Braille since she was three years old. Rosie’s mom Liz Williams knew very early on that she had a very special little girl that just needed the opportunity to soar.
“Children who are blind really need two and a half times more the information at early ages to learn the same thing that other children do and when we discovered that Rosie was going to take on the world, we wanted to make sure that information was there for her,” Williams said.
Rosie learns in the classroom with the other kids at Rideout Elementary School. She just uses adapted academic materials when needed. Someone is always there to make sure she doesn’t miss a thing. She also has one on one time with Gina Woods, who has a master’s degree in visual disabilities. Among other things they practice reading and writing with her brailler.
“She’s amazing. She remembers everything you tell her. So, if she ever has a question, I better give her the right answer,” Woods said.
Rosie’s a little girl who makes you think outside of the box.
“Greatest joy in my life to see her and to know that just by doing this, it opens doors for other kids. It helps understanding and helps people realize that our kids might be different but they’re so much the same,” says Williams. Rosie has a lot of personality and that’s easy to see and love. She’s proof that with a strong village the sky’s the limit.
“I see her as doing amazing things going to college, she’s very inquisitive, maybe a lawyer. She may be a doctor or something like that and mom hopes president one day too,” says Woods.
Anything is possible with Rosie and her team that makes sure people keep the focus on her amazing abilities. There is a robust program for visually impaired students in Clay County.
Rosie also has an orientation and mobility specialist who helps her navigate the halls with her cane.
Watch Rosie’s segment on The Kelley Clarkson show below.