I don't think you realize how much you learn from visuals. We are taking a course on teaching gross motor skills, and most of the strategies involve visuals...show a toy to motivate movement, demonstrate how to do it, let them watch others try....I just put my head in my hands and sigh.
We don't know how much Bubbe sees, but it isn't enough to be able to learn through vision. We hope that he is making connections in his brain between the things he knows, such as our voice, and the new things he sees, like our face. He keeps his eyes closed most of the day, but is starting to open them more since his eye surgery. I'm still waiting for that look of intelligence you see in people's eyes. I'm certainly not saying he's dumb, in fact he's very clever. However, his blank stare worries me. He also keeps his lids about halfway down, and we're not sure if this is a problem with droopy eyelids, too small eye balls, or lack of motivation to bother to try to see.
So we wait. We learn new ways to motivate Bubbe. We notice different cues, like how he raises his eyebrows when he's aware. And luckily we know that Braxton is awake, even when his eyes are closed.