When Drivers & Mobility Canes Intersect

Guest post by Kai Owens for Navigating Blindness

Hi, I’m Kai Owens. I am a 16-year-old athlete, drummer, and mainstream high school student. I’m also legally blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa. I’ve done a lot of Orientation & Mobility training locally, and I’ve also traveled extensively in the US and Vancouver, BC. I use my mobility cane at all times and I’ve recently been approved for a guide dog. I’d like to share a few of my observations about when drivers and mobility canes intersect.

At some point, most sighted people have been driving and seen a blind person and panicked.  Some of the encounters are full of mistakes that really do not make any sense. I’m going to walk you through a few common mistakes drivers make in hopes of raising awareness. Continue reading “When Drivers & Mobility Canes Intersect”

Willingness is the Key

I am deeply tired. We have been having a rough time lately. My autoimmune disease has been flared up causing pain, fatigue and general malaise. Kai just underwent his bi-annual appointment at the eye clinic 4 hours from home. It’s hard to endure those long drives, long waits and painful tests when the outcome is only for school documentation — no treatment. Top that off with my oldest son having to learn some hard self-care lessons while away at college and sprinkle it with my dad’s inability to admit to a severe drug and alcohol addiction and I find myself wondering: Am I willing?   Continue reading “Willingness is the Key”

KnowledgeABLE Featuring Jen from Fit Chick With The Stick: My Own Independence Day

Hi everyone, I’m excited to introduce you to my Instagram friend Jen from Fit Chick With The Stick.  Jen caught my attention instantly because, like my son Kai, fitness has become her “fix.” Please join me in learning how fitness has impacted her sight loss journey.

My Own Independence Day by Jen Dutrow

The day is warm, the temperature is perfect, a light breeze blows through the open car windows. The sky is cloudless and a beautiful periwinkle blue. You’re driving along the coastline with your favorite music blaring.

Now, imagine never doing that again by yourself. That’s what happened to me after my eye doctor told me I’d have to hand over my license. I had driven to work that day not knowing that was the last day I’d ever drive. Continue reading “KnowledgeABLE Featuring Jen from Fit Chick With The Stick: My Own Independence Day”

KnowledgeABLE Featuring Victoria Claire: Seeing Through My Creativity

Hi there Navigating Blindness followers, this is Victoria Claire from www.victoriaclaire-beyondvision.com  and I’m excited to share how creativity has helped me cope, grow and find joy with vision loss.

“Disability is not an impairment to creativity.”  This is one of my statements when engaging with the public while speaking as a sight loss awareness advocate.

As a professional artist in contemporary sculpture, with a career spanning 25 years, I would like to share with you the importance of my creativity whilst traveling along my pathway of sight loss. Creativity became my first port of call when I was at my lowest point after being diagnosed with RP at the age of 19 in 1994.  I was a young art student studying graphic design at art college when I found out I was going to go blind.  Initially, I didn’t know how to take in what I had been told.  For a while, I tried to ignore it and carry on with my life as an art student. Continue reading “KnowledgeABLE Featuring Victoria Claire: Seeing Through My Creativity”

Hindsight 20/20 Featuring Jill Richmond

Hi everyone! I’m super excited to share a new segment on Navigating Blindness called Hindsight 20/20 which will feature parents of blind and visually impaired (B/VI) individuals who have agreed to answer 20 questions with hindsight. My hope is that their stories will encourage us parents who are still heads-down in the day-to-day thick of raising our children and advocating for their educational needs.

These interviews will each be very unique because blindness is a spectrum and each child, parent, and family has different situations, goals, and expectations.  As parents, we need to educate ourselves and consider the foundations’ advice, the doctors’ advice, the teachers’ advice and so on (the list of people weighing in on our children’s lives seems endless) but, ultimately, we are our children’s strongest advocates. We are responsible for providing the tools and guidance necessary for them to grow into adults who advocate for themselves in this big diverse world.

Join me in welcoming Jill Richmond as she shares her journey with her oldest son Aaron. Let’s navigate blindness, together.

Continue reading “Hindsight 20/20 Featuring Jill Richmond”

KnowledgeABLE featuring Pamela from The Blind Thistle: Finding Your Way in the Chaos

Hello there – It’s Pamela dropping in from The Blind Thistle! I’ve been invited as a guest blogger here on Navigating Blindness. I will be sharing my tips and suggestions on how to make the home a better space to navigate for the Visually-Impaired (VI).

I ‘met’ Kim (the lovely woman behind the Navigating Blindness blog) through Instagram and we hit it off from the start. Her son and I share the same eye disease, Retinitis pigmentosa (RP). While her son’s diagnosis was made a few years back, I have been dealing with my RP for well into 40 years now. Continue reading “KnowledgeABLE featuring Pamela from The Blind Thistle: Finding Your Way in the Chaos”

The Process of Letting Go

After several months wholly focused on resolving the instructional materials issues at my son’s high school, it was time to turn our attention towards the future. We opened a  Vocational Rehabilitation case for my son and met with the local university’s disability services director regarding dual enrollment. Both meetings were emotionally draining as I realized that the process of advocating for my son’s needs in the educational and career environments will always be a challenge.

Now that my 16-year-old son is fully transitioned to Braille, Nemeth, cane usage and assistive technology he understands what he needs in order to be successful. He also understands that he is the best person to quickly identify challenges and attempt to solve issues through clear communication. I’m so proud of the growth he’s experienced over the last 6 years of vision loss. I’m learning to step back and let him lead. As a mom who has fought daily for his needs over the last six years this “letting go” is very emotional.  Continue reading “The Process of Letting Go”