Hi All! I’m Connie and I started soimlegallyblind.com for individuals who have a visual impairment. My website is a resource for individuals, families, schools, etc. to offer support, encouragement and information for people like myself.
I’m also a consultant for other Universities and staff regarding the ADA, ADAA, 504, 508, and other applicable laws regarding individuals with disabilities. As my Daddy told me when I was a kid, never apologize or make excuses for your disability, just always “Bloom Where You’re Planted”! That advice has stayed with me forever and is the tagline for my website.
Yes, that's Dollie and she's all ready for her 9th Birthday tomorrow! So natch, I had to dress her up in her new Supergirl cape! Because my girl is a superhero to me and her doctors! Dollie's been battling with her visual impairment for over a year now, lost her sight for awhile but the ulcers are so much better, but she'll now have meds, visits and treatments for life. But Mom will help baby, and so blessed to do so. Such a Trooper! And as the muse for So, I'm Legally Blind, she's so used to her glasses that she has no prob wearing her props. And even in glasses, my girl is theeee best Supergirl, ever!
As the above title states, I wanted to share some tips with you that I've learned over the years regarding my visual impairment, and I'd like to share them with you.
1. Be kind to yourself first and foremost - Having a visual impairment can be scary, frustrating and requires a ton of patience. And no matter how you explain it to someone, unless they have a visual impairment themselves, they’ll never truly “get it”.
2. Keep your environment clean and well organized - Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slipped on a stack of magazines still on the floor, knocked something over because I didn’t put it back in the remembered spot etc. etc. If your space, home, work, dorm is well-organized you will spare yourself the slips, misplaced items, fallen objects and wasted time spent trying to find something because your space is disorganized.
3. You have a voice, so please use it – I’m referring to your “everyday voice’ which we all have. If you need help, please ask someone. For example, If your teacher points to the board and refers to “over there’ or “look at this’, please speak up and ask for specifics. Or if you take the bus and, especially if it’s for the first time, please ask the bus driver for help. Unfortunately, I’ve had many visually impaired individuals tell me they stay on the bus without asking where their stop is because their too afraid to use their voice.
4. Please become aware of, and familiar with technology, regardless of your age or experience level. Technology is such a gift that can lead to you becoming more independent, whether it be by using Zoomtext, JAWS, Kurzweil or any type of applicable software you may need. For example, software will allow you to download an app to utilize transportation such as Uber or Lyft and many other wonderful things. And finally…..
5. Be yourself, be true to yourself and be proud of who you are, and your visual impairment. Part of who you are is your visual impairment, it certainly doesn’t define you, but it shapes you and your life experiences. So please embrace who you are and “own it proudly”.
Get Inspired & Informed!
Happy Monday! I was trying to do a post yesterday but my wireless network/router was in a mood. So, I’m writing it for you today. I wanted to talk about ones “voice” and that I would strongly encourage you to use your voice. In my opinion, it’s never too late and everyone has something to say. But because I’m encouraging you to use your voice, that doesn’t necessarily mean you must disclose something deep, intense or very private. You can do that as well, absolutely! But I’m actually referring to your “everyday voice”, if you will. I’m talking about the daily moments when you wish you had said something, when you felt like paying someone a compliment and hesitated, or you’ve been asked to do something but it’s extremely inconvenient for you, but you do it anyways. That “everyday voice”. Your voice!
For example, because I talk about disability, I’m going to put what I’m referring to in that context. I was scheduling a referral for a student of mine. Now, I know this student doesn’t drive, takes the bus, actually with three transfers. We had discussed it, and I had the staff from that department on speaker with the student. Previously, she stated what days she would be on campus and what would work best for her. Now, I know she’s shy, so we practiced on how best to respond. She was provided a date, but a date that she would not work well for her at all. There would be no reason to even use the bus that day. Well, unfortunately, she immediately agreed to that date/time. I kindly put that person on hold and inquired why she agreed when obviously she would not be commuting to class that day. Her response was, “But I should just say yes, because I don’t want to appear disagreeable”. Now, mind you, this is a very polite and kind young lady. But me being me, I had to enlighten her, if you will.
I informed the staff member we’d call back soon once we have looked at her schedule. My student gave me a guilty look and apologized to me. Nothing to apologize for! But as we discussed the date/time, she realized how inconvenienced she would be by accepting that appointment without taking a moment to really think it over. Once she picked a few good date/times, we called back, informed the staff member another date would be better and she was very nice about it all. I had encouraged the student to speak to the staff member, reassured her she doesn’t bite and she did great! And she was so proud of herself for speaking up and realizing there was absolutely nothing wrong with speaking up. Nothing wrong with using your voice.
That’s why I have always tried to speak up about the little things, the little inconveniences, or just using your voice to be kind to someone. Because I strongly believe the more you become more comfortable with your own voice, the more you are giving yourself permission to empower yourself to use your voice and speak up. And one’s voice is also using one’s words, so please use your voice. Words are such a gift!
Enjoy & Get Inspired!
I hope your all having a great weekend and a Happy Sunday! I know Doll and I are because it's such a beautiful day outside. I'm sorry I didn't write a post last week because I was having one of those weeks, where you just shake your head...at yourself! And I found myself saying, Really, Connie, Really! As I mentioned a few posts ago, I had a really bad fall and injured my knee which caused a very bad cut. And it's sooo gross! Still is so gross, but it's healing. But still do daily band aids etc but it'll get better over time.
As I write this, Dollie aka Head of security is at her post, just watching, and.....waiting. :)
So I've had a good week, work is fine and I enjoy working with my students. All staff had a one-on-one with our boss, so now I have additional tasks to do by next week which is fine and doable. :) Then my buddy Leon helped me out with a new pic on campus, it's on my About page and that was fun. And of course just hanging out with my family is nice also. And then on Saturday, I was just simply pouring laundry soap out from the large Costco-sized Tide soap box. I set it down, and when I did the flap from the box cuts my leg!!! Seriously! Really! So it's bleeding profusely and I'm trying to stop it, which isn't easy with my meds and the aspirin I take daily. Well now I have another very tiny cut on my left shin! Really, Connie, Really!
By Sunday it still isn't healing properly, so my sister Kerry runs me to Urgent Care at Kaiser. And mind you she's feeling under the weather so she checks in to see a doctor also. What a Saturday! A long story short, my very nice Doctor gave me a stitch and I go back in 10 days. So now we're both feeling better and I was able to give baby a bath this morning. That's baby snoozing after her beauty bath. Then I started searching for the "arm bands" I wear around the house because I bruise so easily. There in the pic below, so getting some of those. And Dolls Aunt Nina bought us some veggie bacon, Ker's a vegetarian and it was a tasty substitute I thought. Thank you again Nina!
Veggie bacon, pics of arm protectors and baby snoozing after her bath.
Well that's my weekend so far! just finishing this post, And so grateful my sister loves to cook, because dinner in a bit. I've never liked to cook, ever, but I love to eat! LOL!
Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!
Enjoy & Get Inspired!
When I tell people I’m a minimalist and I love decluttering, they usually say, “Oh, that’s cool, or why?” and that’s my favorite response. Whichever term one likes to use, minimalizing or simplifying, either takes you down the same path…to freedom and less stress. I find that when I simplify, I live a more intentional life. Simplifying has allowed me to choose how I spend my time and money. No longer am I overwhelmed by my stuff, my possessions, or the burden of maintaining all of my stuff. And I’m not saying owning things is a bad thing, not by a long shot. For me, it’s less stressful. For my life, I’m choosing to take a less stressful path, a path where I put my goals and dreams first over stuff. And every aspect of my life has been impacted and improved by my desire to simplify my life. To relax and just breathe. And that's why I love any picture with a water view, such as the one below. It allows me to look at something that makes me happy and peaceful.
And this journey began just a few years ago, some time after I started watching all the Tiny House shows. I just love the whole tiny house movement! Once I began reading up on the tiny house movement, minimalism and just decluttering ones life in general, I began to work towards that goal as well. Just to simplify. I wanted to be more intentional with how I spend my time, money and how I can decrease the stress in my life.
I didn’t realize how my things were weighing me down, and that most of my free time was spent doing laundry, cleaning, shopping for stuff I really didn’t need, nor want. I wanted to do what I wanted. Not manage my stuff with my free time. It's supposed to be MY weekend after all! I wanted to do what I wanted! So it occurred to me, less stuff equals less stress, and less to maintain and manage. And everyone I read about that was downsizing, minimalizing or simplifying seemed much happier. Truly happier!
That’s why I want to live a more intentional path. Not only have I gotten rid of half my closet, but a lot of other belongings that were really just weighing me down. I now also only spend time with people that I truly care about. That encourage me and make me happy. Time is so valuable. Next to your health, time is the most important thing. That's why I've also chosen not to spend any more of my time with people who drain my energy, who are negative and leave me regretting how I spent that time, time I can never get back. And that's why I've been working on my goals, and some have come true, such as improving my blog, losing weight, spending more time on my plans and enjoying the simple things in life. Some of my loves are of course my baby Dollie, blogging, brownies, family and friends, my fave color pink and sunflowers just to name a few. So I hope you all just think about what I'm saying and try it out, just declutter a little bit. Just one step at a time, and I truly believe it will help your stress level and you'll be happier.
Enjoy & Get Informed!
Can you believe it's Fall?! And the First Official Day of Fall is just around the corner on September 22, 2017! Wow! Summer went fast. And school has officially started for some and many others will start soon. And that means my favorite part of the first day, the school supplies! :) Love school supplies! Other then catching up with my friends, the first day of school meant new school supplies! So, enjoy your school supplies and....
Whether your starting First Grade or Graduate School, schools all over the country are starting, and some even started as early as August!! Seriously, when I went to school, it was always September through June. Amazing how times have changed. But I like change, so it's fine with me. However, with schools all over starting, I would encourage you and/or your parents to ask for your legally entitled accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
For example, If one has a disability, such as a visual impairment like I do, then I am entitled to request accommodations. Such as, an enlarged exam, notetakers, extended-testing time, accessible furniture and so on based on my disability. Now there is certainly procedures and guidelines for each office, but you should definitely ask if you need them. It's your legal right to request accommodations that will ensure your equal access to academics, events and architectural barriers.
Here's a legal tip for you regarding your rights. Just so you know you have rights and are entitled to them. If you're attending a public or private college/university they must provide equal access to postsecondary education for students with disabilities. All public and private schools that receive Federal funds are required under Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to make their programs accessible to individuals with disabilities. Under 504 of The Rehabilitation Act nearly all school districts and post secondary schools in the United States are subject to either or both.
So that's why I would encourage you to inquire about your accommodations if you need them. And if you have any questions please send me an email on my Contact page. Good Luck!
Enjoy & Get Inspired!
Sorry I didn't get my new post out last Monday, as I was dealing with a bad fall and a bad cut on my knee. But as I always say, you gotta have Perspective. Yes, my fall was an accident on a wet floor, and I sustained a large gash on my knee. I had to go to my Doctor, huge uncomfy bandages for weeks and he put me off work for a week! Ugh! I could feel sorry for myself, but that's not my nature. I feel very appreciative that I didn't break a bone or land on my head. Perspective! It could have been far worse. And I have always preferred to see the glass half full, rather than a glass half empty!
And Perspective impacts my Dollie also. No, she doesn't look like the other canine kids on the block. Why you ask? Because she has to wear the Elizabethan E-collar dogs need if their injured. But I don't see it as her E-collar, I see it as her crown! It's Perspective. It's how one chooses to look at it. And Dollie's nickname is The Queen after all.
See, now that's what I'm referring to when I talk about Perspective, and how it can relate to ones disability/visual impairment. And I agree with Dr. Seuss' quote, "Why fit in if you were born to stand out?! Yes, of course having any kind of disability is a challenge, and/or being born with a visual impairment is very challenging. But in my opinion, why would I want to be like others and "fit in"? I'm Me! I'm Connie..... and there's only one Me! And one You! So, I say, if you don't "fit in", appreciate and embrace it. Embrace the You in You! As Dr. Seuss states best....
So I hope you all read a couple of my fave author's quotes and really appreciate and embrace the You in You. And appreciate that you may not "fit In" and that's okay. Because like Dollie, I'd rather stand out! Because as Dr. Seuss states, "There is no one alive who is Youer than You"!
Enjoy & Get Informed!
Connie and The Queen
I hope you're all having a good Labor day weekend!
I wanted to share with you how difficult it is for me to see a menu, any type of menu. The ones up high behind the register, a regular menu, and especially a drive-thru or Starbucks menu. In all my years, I've never had a good experience ordering food or drinks...anywhere. I love to eat out, visit with my friends and catch up with my family over a good meal. I sooo love it! So, here's my story and I'm stickin' to it! LOL!
My entire life I've gone out to eat, special occasions, or just because, you name it. And fortunately, my family and friends feel the same. And when I was much younger, my family would always need to read the menu to me. I would typically have an idea of what I wanted, and my Mom or sisters would read me my options. But I always felt like a pest. So, I would generally stick to the same item every time, as I had written it down and kept a list in my wallet. LOL! They were always willing to help but I just felt bad asking.
But as I got older, and more independent and found my voice, I began to ask for a hard copy menu. And I began to ask the staff for assistance. And typically at a fast food restaurant, a lot of people behind the counter meant well, they really did. But saying, "you can get that, or that, with that sauce or cooked that way" all the while pointing at the menu like I can see what their referring to and what their pointing at. Uh-Nope! And at a sit down restaurant, with the box style menu, I just had to guess, order and hope I got it right.
But as technology got better and more mobile, so did my menu options. I waited so long to be able to order by myself and look at a menu. It all started for me when my mom gave me a monocular, and loved it! Ya, at first it was hard to get used to and have people look at it, but it was great.
Even though I loved and appreciated that monocular, and I still have it, it was hard to use with my cataracts. And then I learned about Freedom Scientific's low vision products and the rest is history. And when I first got a smart phone, it was soooo cool! I was able to look up the restaurant I was going to, look at the menu on my phone or ipad, save what I wanted and order all by myself! It was especially awesome at a drive-thru, because I've never been able to see a drive-thru menu. Ever! But now....it's pretty amazing!
So, if you too have difficulty seeing a menu or need some ideas and support, please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. I would be happy to help in any way I can or provide some resources.
Enjoy & Get Informed!
Link to Freedom Scientific's website http://www.freedomscientific.com/
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
Dollie had another follow-up appointment last Friday with her eye specialist and, she's doing AMAZING! Doc said she doesn't have to come back for 6 months! That was the best news ever! She's worked so hard on her recovery, resting like she was told to do and being such a trooper.
So, I just wanted to share with all of you her latest update. She's soooo happy she's feeling so much better. And Dollie's totally enjoying her retirement and gets to do whatever she wants now.
Enjoy your day my baby girl!
Enjoy & Get Informed!
I've missed you!
I'm sorry I haven't been updating and adding to my blog for some time. I've had really unreliable wifi in my house/room and that has led to a TON of frustration. And then last November, my Dollie, aka The Queen, was diagnosed with severe dry eye! Honestly, I didn't even know pets could get that. She began to get ulcers in both eyes and eventually she began to lose her sight. Odd, but I also have severe dry eye, but I had no idea my baby would also get it. Since then, it's been a lot of vet visits and medications 3x to 4x a day! And then eventually we were sent to an eye specialist and was told she can get better over time. And it has gotten better after 10 months. Doll's an excellent patient, a real trooper! And we're fortunate she has an amazing eye doctor. Check out a few photos of my girl below.
Now were in our 10th month and she can see again!!! The ulcers are so much better. And hopefully her dry eye diagnosis clears up overtime. We have a long way to go, but we'll get there.
And my Dollie has now officially retired from being the muse for So I'm Legally Blind. She was such a wonderful model and yes, sometimes prickly during her photo shoots when I didn't provide the cookies fast enough. LOL
But now she gets to enjoy her retirement with her feline sisters Ruby and Pearl. So as Dollie continues to get better, and my wifi hopefully gets better, I can post again. I'm so happy!
Thank you all for your ongoing patience and support!
Enjoy & Get Informed!
Connie & Dollie
Thank you Ed Troxell at http://edtroxellcreative.com who simplified and updated So, I'm Legally Blind for me and fixed the email and other behind-the-scenes issues that were plaguing my blog! Because for me to work on my blog, visually, it helps me if it's visually clean, less cluttered and visually organized. And since I've started my blog, it sure has evolved, and I have all of the pictures as a reminder. I started with Bluehost, Blogger, and I'm currently with Squarespace. And I've learned a ton about being a blogger, specifically a blogger who relies on assistive technology.
I love working on So, I'm Legally Blind because I love providing inspirational stories, resources, one-on-one appointments, professional recommendations for people in the field and just helping individuals who have a visual impairment. So, I wanted to send a quick note thanking Ed and letting you all know how finding and working with my first web designer was a great experience. And if you're wondering about the new logo, I'll share a bit about how it came about.
I tried other variations, and provided info for Ed and he nailed it! The blue glasses are exactly the shade of the first pair of glasses my Mom said I had to wear in the first grade. Sooo cute! And I still have them...somewhere. And of course So, I'm Legally Blind is in black and I wanted that for contrast. My tagline is in dark green because of the garden inspiration behind my Dad's story. But on Twitter, my site name is in fuchsia (my fave color) and I like it for that site. And I asked my baby to help her mom with ideas and I found her in the backyard mediating and praying for inspiration and it worked! Dollie's always so helpful!
We all hope you have been inspired by So, I'm legally Blind and if you're thinking about becoming a blogger, i would say definitely Go For It! Because we all have a voice and we need to use it loud and proud and inspire others with disabilities. Also, please feel free to send us an email on our Contact page if you have any questions.
Have a great week!
Enjoy & Get Inspired!
My baby Dollie turned 8 years old today on Halloween! Dollie loves to dress up and she is the prettiest court jester ever!!!
Love you my baby girl!
By Diane Herbst, 9/1/2016
I just read about Jameyanne and couldn't wait to share it with you. Jameyanne, blind since birth has accomplished so much in her 25 years, and now she will begin her first year at Harvard Law School to become a Disability Rights lawyer. She has scaled mountains, traveled to various countries and along with all of her amazing accomplishments, she recently was honored, along with 16 other exceptional blind undergraduate and graduate students, who each received a $10,000 scholarship from Lighthouse Guide, NY. So Inspiring!
For the full story, go to
Enjoy & Get Informed!
I realize I haven't posted in a while because I had a lot on my plate with the campus summer schedule of 10 hour days, my boss signed me up for a 10-week certificate course which I thoroughly enjoyed and I learned a ton. It was a class on.....
Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program
Summer 2016 - May 16 - September 2
But, I'm really glad it's over, and now I can get back to you, posting, talking and consulting on all things visual impairment! Which I love!
Of course, now that I'm done with a lot of things I was required to do for work this summer, and I needed to postpone the website's "improvements" I had planned, but I'm doing them now. So, I've hired a web designer to work on So, I'm Legally Blind and probably by next week, he'll get started. I may be unable to post for about 2 weeks he said, but I'm going to be posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, please be patient. it's going to be fun and I'm really looking forward to it.
Enjoy & Get Informed!
Connie & Dollie
P.S. Dollie just woke up in her new jammies. LOL, Love it!