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.
Dollie with her Supergirl cap on
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”.