Tag Archives: blindness

Bird Box Explained: Is the Janet Tucker School for the Blind a Real Place?

The Netflix film Birdbox debuted earlier this year and was a massive hit for the streaming service. The film stars Sandra Bullock as a mother trying to transport her two children through a post-apocalyptic wasteland while unable to use the power of sight.

One of the most prominent features of the film’s final act was a location known as the Janet Tucker School for the Blind. Watching the film may lead viewers to question whether or not the film’s climactic location exists in real life.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened in the film Birdbox and whether or not the school featured at the end of the film actually exists.

Synopsis

The story of Birdbox unfolds in a non-linear format. Sandra Bullock plays Marjorie, a reluctant mom who’s expecting a baby. As her sister drives her home from a doctor’s appointment, an unseen monster begins causing people to immediately commit suicide upon seeing it.

The only way to avoid it is to not look at it – effectively blinding yourself. The survivors have to get creative to avoid seeing the monster. Some wear blindfolds or keep their eyes closed. Others black out the windows of a car when they have to travel.

Marjorie ends up barricaded in a house with multiple strangers. The story flashes back and forth between that and the present day, where Marjorie transports two children from their hideout to a place they’ve heard about through a transistor radio. Along the way we see her resolve tested.

The Janet Tucker School for the Blind

Marjorie is able to successfully shield the eyes of her and her children from the monster. They arrive at their final destination: Janet Tucker’s School for the Blind. The final irony of the film is that the differently abled are now advantaged in this new society in which these horrible monsters terrorize those with the ability to see.

It’s the closest thing a story like this could get to a happy ending. The Janet Tucker School for the Blind is a sanctuary for Marjorie and her two children. It’s full of flowers, grass, singing birds, and smiling, happy people.

It’s a somewhat upbeat ending for a film that up until that point had been unceasingly bleak.

Is the Janet Tucker School for the Blind a Real Place?

In the film, the Janet Tucker School for the Blind is depicted as being in the middle of a forest, near the end of a long and winding river. It appears to be significantly separated from society. There are no cities or major metropolitan areas anywhere near it, making it a great location for the story’s hero to rest after spending the entire film on the run or in hiding from the monsters.

The film never provides an exact location for Janet Tucker’s School for the Blind, though the film itself takes place in northern California. By all accounts, it is not a real school. It appears to have been invented strictly for the purpose of the film. It does not exist in the novel – one of the several major differences between the film and the book.

Summary

Birdbox was a major hit with a twist ending that portrayed the disabled in a positive light. While the film had plenty of scares leading up to that point, it ended happily with the main character and her kids seeking refuge at the Janet Tucker School for the Blind.

While the Janet Tucker School for the Blind depicted a positive, happy environment for the blind children to learn and grow and the school as it existed in the film was located somewhere in the forests of northern California, the school does not exist in real life. It was invented as a plot device for the film.

Stem Cells from China Help Boy’s Cerebral Palsy and Blindness

Kaden Strek, a 9-year-old boy from St. Clair Shores, Michigan, was pretty excited to correctly choose between a blue and a green toy turtle when asked to do so by his occupational therapist, Sara Wasser. What most would find to be a simple task is something that Kaden, who was born several months premature, would have been unable to do had it not been for stem cell treatments.

Kaden Strek and His Sisters

“This has given him a whole new kind of independence and control over himself that he’s never had,” Kaden’s mother Eddie Strek said. “It’s so exciting to see.”

Due to being so premature, Kaden suffered from a severe brain bleed as an infant. Later, he was diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and blindness. Kaden was only able to see some shapes, colors, and patterns. Today, he can see both primary colors and pastels. His speech has improved, and his mother believes even his walking and balance is better.

Kaden Strek Cerebral Palsy Locomotor Physical Therapy

The cause of such drastic improvements, his family believes, is eight stem cell therapy treatments that the family has traveled to China to receive. The Streks are now raising money for the next treatment, which they hope will take place next summer. With a price tag of over $38,000 for treatment and travel expenses, it’s not a decision the family takes lightly. Critics disagree with the safety of traveling overseas for procedures like this, but Beike Biotechnology, the firm that handles Kaden’s stem cell procedures, treats over 200 patients per month.

Kaden Strek Blindness and Cerebral Palsy Stem Cell Treatment in China

Larry Goldstein, director of the University of California San Diego’s stem cell program, is one of the critics. Concerns about the source of the stem cells and possible risks weigh heavy on many minds.

“That is what clinical trials are for,” said Goldstein. “Every disease fluctuates in symptoms, and kids with developmental diseases tend to continue developing albeit at different rates. How does one know whether the transplant caused improvement versus intensive physical therapy versus fluctuation versus normal developmental improvements that would have happened anyway?”

Kaden’s mother disagrees and says that Kaden has been receiving traditional therapy and treatments all of his life. He also does occupational therapy and speech therapy four times a week. Wasser was surprised by the results, as Kaden has regained not only eyesight, but also use of the left side of his body.

Kaden Strek China Stem Cell Therapy

“I’ve been an OT for over 10 years, and this is the first patient I’ve ever had who has regained vision,” Wasser said. “For him, it’s really teaching him to use something that he never had before.”

“These are tangible results,” Eddie Strek said. “Anyone that knew him before and sees him now, you can see the results. He’s a different kid.”

Vision doesn’t seem to the only thing that’s improved for Kaden since his China trip. Regarding the video below, Eddie adds that this is, “Kaden working on balance with his amazing teacher Rose. Before China his record for standing alone was 2 seconds. He now averages 1 minute (and has made it as long as 3!)”

Source:
donmargolis.com/Home/Blog/July-2012/Family-says-stem-cell-therapy-has-helped-blind-boy
detroitnews.com/article/20120701/METRO/207010305/1409/metro/Family-says-stem-cell-therapy-has-helped-blind-boy-cerebral-palsy

Video source:
facebook.com/groups/260337088930/

Image sources:
donmargolis.com
sourcenewspapers.com
myfoxdetroit.com
stemcellaware.com
facebook.com