Five things you can do with your visually impaired child this spring

It is now spring, and with that means warmer weather. If you have a visually impaired child you may want to take this opportunity to work on some “blindness” skills. Here are five ideas to help you get started.

  1. If your child likes to fly a kite, have them use their magnifier, and have them use it to read the instructions and put the kite together themselves. (with you supervising this). This will teach them to use their magnifier, how to follow directions, and how to feel good about themselves when it comes to completing something.
  2. This next activity is for children who have a telescope or is in pre-telescope training. This is a fun way to practice using proper prompting technique (which can also be called a holding technique). Which can be used when getting ready to track the kite, or to help stabilize their arm while they are tracking the kite. You can move the kite in different directions and have them follow it with their telescope. (which can help build tracking technique). These two skills are needed in the classroom when children are taking their own notes from the board.
  3. This next activity can be for a younger child who may be working on Orientation and Mobility skills. Have them follow bubbles. For some of these activities you may want to use a larger wand to make bigger bubbles. 😊 If your child can see them well enough. You can blow the bubbles, and while the bubbles are floating have your child follow them. While they are following them, you can work on directions such as up, down, left, right, behind, under, over. If your child is working on compass directions you can blow them, and ask, “If I blow them in this direction, what direction is this?” or “What direction is behind you from where the bubbles are going?” If your child likes to run remember that this can be another good way for them to get some exercise too.
  4. Go for a walk or a bike ride. For biking every child is different. Please do not pick this activity if you do not feel like your child can handle riding a bike. Walking may be a better option. This can help your child get exercise. It can also open up a dialog. You can start talking about options  that they can do if they can’t drive to help them still be mobile and still be independent. This can be a fun activity that the whole family can do.

5.       Finally, you can take some or maybe all of these activities and combine them into a day. Maybe you can even do a scavenger hunt for the supplies for the kite. Have fun!

#WhatMakesMe

I found this tag because Glen, who is also a fellow blogger and YouTuber, did this tag on his blog. I like this tag because it gives my audience a chance to see other things that I love. Be sure to check out Glen’s blog post by clicking the link. 😊

  1. I love animals.

Growing up I had a few dogs; I had a Yorkie Terrier named Penny, who I had when I was four or five years old.  Sadly, we had to give her up when we moved from Mississippi to Texas. After years of begging for another dog, when I was 11, I got Noodles. I had her for sixteen years. I loved Noodles so much and she taught me so much about owning a dog, and the most important lesson of all, how to let go when the time comes. She leaves behind a Legacy. Now, I have a three-year-old Pit Bull named, Duke. We love to go for walks, play in the back yard and take  naps!

  1. I love to be on Social Media

I have met so many people on Social media over the past years. Some of these people have become good friends. I love meeting new people and for me it is a way to share some of life’s experiences, especially with me being visually impaired.

  1. I love Spring time!

Spring time is one of my favorite seasons. In Florida, it is not to hot, but not cold. It is just perfect. Sometimes I just like to go outside with my sunglasses on and just enjoy the beauty of the day.

  1. I have a passion for education and teaching.

When I was in college, I knew that I also wanted to use my love of education and learning in some form. I decided to get my minor in education. Even though I haven’t been in a classroom professionally I love being able to use my blog, and YouTube channel to help use my talents of both writing and education to help reach a broader scope of an audience and to help teach people that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your dreams; It means that you  have to work harder and can do just about anything you want. I enjoy learning and since I graduated from college back in 2013, I have continued my education by taking several different online continuing education classes.

 

 

 

The Importance of World Book Day

As I was scrolling through Twitter, I saw a tweet from RNIB about #WorldBookDay. According to worldbookday.com, World Book Day is a campaign with the goal of making sure every child and teen has a book of their own. Many schools, libraries and book shops will have a variety of activities for children and teens to enjoy.

I personally feel that this day is important because growing up with a visual impairment, my access to books was very limited. It was hard for me to find books in large print for me to read for pleasure. Once I was registered as a student with a visual impairment my wealth of knowledge was only expanded to my school books. As a teenager I still found myself looking at books in large print for younger children when I went to the bookshops. This was because the price of audio books was too pricy for my mother to pay.

I believe that every child, no matter if they are fully sighted or if they have a visual impairment, should have a chance to read. To help achieve this goal you can go and volunteer at your local library. Reading to a child can help them fall in love with reading, help strengthen their vocabulary, spelling and with reading comprehension.  Depending on where you live some libraries and bookshops can take donated books and either sell them at half price or give them away for free.

If you live in England and your child or teenager has a visual impairment be sure to stop by RNIB’s World Book Day 2019 page to see the 14 new titles that are available in an audio Daisy CD or in Braille which can be ordered for free. You can also get these books in large print.

If you live in the United States and have a child that has a qualified reading disability remember that www.bookshare.org, offers free memberships for students from pre-school all the way through college. Volunteers can donate their time in several ways, and in return they can earn credits that can be used to purchase a years’ worth of membership for members of Bookshare.

Together we can make books accessible. 😊

2019: More Movement, patience and positivity February edition

The past two months have really flown by and I have met some milestones that go along with my theme for this year. As with my last 2019-more movement patience and positivity post, I am going to break down my reflections into categories.

Movement: Even though I have not lost as much weight as I want to, I am doing the very best I can by trying to continue to exercise by walking. I have also finished my Independent living classes at school. I have more confidence when it comes to cooking and being able to use my cane more effectively. I am continuing my education by taking online courses through Hadley and I have finished my first course called, Self Employment with a Minimal Investment. I am now onto another course which will help me reach my goal of self-employment.

Patience: I still have to work on reaching this value of patience. However, I have learned that being able to reach your goals does take time, patience and positivity.

Last but not least is positivity: I am learning each day how to be more positive and happy. Learning this last skill is not easy but I am getting there. One example of this is learning to be positive that I will get out of poverty. With the help and support of my grandpa, who I took out for lunch this past Monday to celebrate 14 years of living together, I know that I will meet my goal.

If you have a theme for this year how have things been going for you? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Interview with Stephanae McCoy(Guest Blog Post #8)

Hi Everyone, this month I got the pleasure of interviewing Stephanae McCoy. She has her own faux fashion magazine cover, called Blind Beauty. This is a high level snapshot and it’s aim is to highlight the beauty of women who are blind and visually impaired. The goal of this faux fashion magazine cover is help break down barriers and to educate others about the misconceptions about blindness. In addition to this, she has her magazine called Captivating.  She is also on social media. Please be sure to check out her links. Many thanks to Stephanae for featuring me on her faux fashion magazine cover.

  1. What is your name? Stephanae McCoy
  2. Age? 58
  3. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging? My grandmother, it was because of her and the way she lived her life, that I learned and deeply appreciate the true meaning of beauty.
  4. Besides writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? Reading, playing with my grandson, catching up on several Netflix TV series
  5. Name a bad habit that you have? Binge-watching Netflix and an addiction to popcorn.
  6. Name your best quality? My work ethic.
  7. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why? I’d love to interview Sandra Bullock for no particular reason other than she seems like a down to earth person who’s relatable.
  8. What is your college major/Minor? N/A
  9. What school (college or university) did you go to? I studied Business Administration at Wheeler School for Business and Duff’s Institute.
  10. What is the title of your blog? Bold Blind Beauty
  11. When and why did you start your blog? I began blogging at the end of 2014. I created Bold Blind Beauty with the idea of changing people’s perceptions about people who live with disabilities, specifically blindness/sight loss. My belief was and still is, if I could find a way to connect sighted and non-sighted people this would help break down some of the societal barriers by revealing our commonalities.
  12. Where do you see yourself in five years? I no longer think in terms of where I’ll be at any given stage because for me it’s more important to remain mindful of where I am. I’m pretty content and have been for the last 10 plus years. I’ll continue doing my advocacy work but beyond that I have no idea where I’ll be in five years.
  13. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? Macular holes that came about from high myopia was the initial cause of my sight loss. I also developed glaucoma, cataracts, torn retinas, and uveitis. Only the cataracts were a direct result of my macular holes as I had to have several vitrecomtomies in an attempt to repair the holes and restore my sight. Unfortunately, in spite of my retina specialist’s best efforts, I was declared legally blind back in 2009.
  14. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis? For the most part I have adapted well to my sight loss as I use a white cane to navigate the world around me and thanks to the advances in technology I’m able to work on my computer, use an Android phone and read audio books. I still have days where I run into a snag or two but for the most part since my sight loss has become my normal it’s no longer a major issue for me. My biggest concern around my blindness are the misconceptions I encounter on a daily basis.
  15. What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? What other people feel about my blindness isn’t a real concern of mine other than to help those who are willing to listen understand that sight loss does not equal less abled. There are always going to be people who are skeptical about people who are on the spectrum of blindness, and they won’t be convinced otherwise. Honestly, I don’t have the time nor desire to try to alter the mindsets of people who are unable to express empathy for others.
  16. If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) what would it be? My advice to anyone with a visual impairment or other disability would be to not give up, keep on living life and not let anyone else define them or their idea of success. Knowing yourself and remaining true to who you are is important and this can be done by periodic self-assessments.

Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links)

Bold Blind Beauty: www.boldblindbeauty.com

LinkedIn: @StephanaeMcCoy

Facebook: @BoldBlindBeauty

Instagram: @BoldBlindBeauty

Twitter: @BoldBlindBeauty

If you would like to be a guest on my blog please feel free to email me at: amanda@amandagene.com

My Recent Eye Appointment

I did not want to go to the eye doctor; like many times before I was dreading the tests from the “air puff” test and the eye drops. I just dislike the whole process.

As the days got closer to my appointment I was struggling to sleep. So much so that the day before my appointment I only got about four hours. Soon I was sitting in the waiting room, and the tech called my name. I took a deep breath and followed her into the first room. As I sat there in front of the two machines, she examined my glasses, and she asked me about any symptoms I was having. I began to explain about my headaches and how my eyes, when they were tired, were giving me blurry vision; much more than on a typical day for someone who already has a visual impairment. She quickly noted it all down. Then came the dreaded “air puff” Glaucoma test. I was so nervous, and due to my Nystagmus, I was feeling dizzy. Because of this I had to have another tech hold my head still. Puff after puff came and 30 puffs just in my left eye alone, we finally had the answer to what my pressures were for both eyes. The results were worrisome! My pressures were high.

We went into the main exam room.  That is where I had a pretest of reading the chart. The results showed that my vision had indeed changed. The doctor came in and we talked about my symptoms. Because I am a low vision patient, and because the doctor needed to do more tests my eye doctor had to call my caseworker from Division of Blind Services. My caseworker was helping by covering the cost of my appointment with a grant, and do to some paperwork errors I was sent home. I was told that my caseworker or clinic staff would call with my next appointment.

I had to wait two weeks before my next appointment. I had so much anxiety about whether or not I was going to lose the vision that I have. I Googled the condition Glaucoma and learned that if it was caught early that it could be managed with prescription medicines and some other treatment options. The weeks flew by, and once again I was back face to face with the “puff test.” machine. The results this time were about the same as it was the first time with both the “puff test” and the  pre-test.

Luckily this time I was able to explain all my symptoms to my doctor. My eye doctor is very caring and understanding. Testing my vision did not take that long, and it was found that I did, indeed, need new lenses in a stronger prescription.

Then came the dreaded eye drops. When I was little I had a bad reaction to the drops. The day after the exam I would wake up feeling dizzy and with a headache and a nauseous stomach. The doctor decided to try a drop that only had a two-hour effect. The drops stung some, but it didn’t last long. While I waited for the drops to take effect I was able to look at frames. I found a pair I liked and they were ordered.

When it was my turn to go back for the rest of my appointment my eye doctor decided that I needed some pictures taken of the back of my eyes. Getting the pictures did not take that long and it did not hurt unlike it did when I was sixteen.

Then my eye doctor came back into the room and he looked at my eyes with a bright light. So far everything was going fine. The last test was one of the most important reasons for my exam. That was to double-check that I did not have Glaucoma. This last test was called the Slit lamp test. I had to get some numbing drops in my eyes to make the test more comfortable. The doctor used a little probe to check the pressures in my eyes. It did not hurt, it just felt a little uncomfortable. I finally found out that I did not have Glaucoma. I felt relieved with this news. The last thing my doctor did was review the pictures of my eyes. It was so neat looking at my anatomy. Then my doctor answered some last-minute questions that I had.

The results were as good as they are going to get, other than my eye conditions that I already have, I have the best possible vision that I can have.  I am glad that I went for my appointment; not only do I have the best possible vision I can have but I know that this data from my appointment can be used to help medical doctors and scientists understand Nystagmus.

If you have not been to the eye doctor recently, I cannot stress the importance of going for an annual exam. I was lucky that I did not have Glaucoma, but only going every two years, as a visual impaired person is not a good idea. I now am going to make myself a promise and to go each year like my eye doctor has suggested. Please remember to schedule your exam yearly!

By the way, my eye glasses are so stylish!

 

Remembering the Animals, we love this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a day filled with flowers, candy and perhaps a date with your loved one. If you are single and do not have a partner perhaps you have an animal such as a dog, cat or other furry friend. You can still make Valentine’s Day special by spending time with your pet.

You can show them a little extra tender loving care by taking them for an extra long walk, or by playing one of their favorite games. Duke, my three-year-old Pit Bull Terrier, loves going on long walks and he loves to play games such as tug and fetch. Seeing Duke wag his tail at full speed while going for a walk and playing his favorite games sure does bring a smile to my face.

You can serve them an extra special treat for a snack or a special meal in a toy. If you have a pocket pet you can let them out of their cage for longer than normal and give them an extra treat too. Duke loves his meat flavored milk bones and one of his meals served in a Kong toy.

After a long day of walks, games and meals remember to have a special evening together by just having a cuddle or maybe watch some tv together. Duke loves cuddles and to watch tv.

If you do not have a furry friend of your own remember that there always are animals in need at your local shelter or rescue center. I am sure the dogs, cats and of course, the humans could always use your support. Perhaps you will be able to save a life by finding that perfect pet to call your own on this special day.

Duke and I will be spending the day together doing all the things he loves.

No matter how you are spending this day, I hope each and every one of you and your pets have a great day.