- What is your disability and how does it impact you? Well, actually I have three disabilities. I have Dyslexia which effects my ability to spell, read and sometimes write. Despite this, there are ways that I can achieve success everyday. I had training on how to read, write and spell with my condition when I was in Elementary school. The teacher taught me techniques to help me read, write and spell with confidence. On top of this, I use my Apple Iphone which includes the accommodations of, Siri and voice over. With these accommodations in place, I can write amazingly. Another disability I have is mild Cerebral Palsy. From the time I was young until I was in middle school I have had countless Physical and Occupational therapy sessions. These sessions helped me gain strong muscles in my hands and legs and confidence. Now the only time I really have a problem is, on a rare occasion, I get hand cramps from writing too much, or having a hard time opening a jar. Both of these can also be overcome. For my hand cramps I can over come it by taking a short break, When it comes to opening a jar I can achieve this by using a gripping aid that you can find most anywhere. The most impactful disability would be my low vision, which is caused by a rare eye condition called, Nystagmus. To read more about Nystagmus click the link: Nystagmus Tag (Nystagmus Awareness Day) Nystagmus effects me on a daily basis. For me personally, Its like looking through a piece of clear Saran Wrap-So my vision is blurry. To help me achieve success I use a screen reader, called ZoomText and an accessible print to text reader called Kurzweil 3000. With the use of these items I can achieve anything. It also impacts my ability to drive. I have to rely on public transportation; and that’s okay, there are many people, like me, who have to travel with the help of public transportation.
- What is the most common misconception that you come up against with your disability?
For me I hear all the time, “You don’t look disabled.” this really hurts my feelings when people say this to me. I feel that people don’t understand the condition. The fact is there are a lot of people with Nystagmus who wear glasses, just like I do, and they can achieve amazing things. Nystagmus effects everyone differently and that’s okay. That’s what makes each of us unique; and gives us all different kinds of strengths and weaknesses that we can work with.
3. What misconception annoys you the most?
I actually have two misconceptions that annoy me: The first misconception that annoys me the most is hearing, “you’re visually impaired, so you must not able to do…” The fact is people with Nystagmus can do a lot of things, it’s just that we may have to have certain accommodations, such as a screen reader, to help us achieve success.
The second one is, “Oh, you have low vision, you must be on government aid.” The fact is the condition varies from person to person; and not everyone gets government aid, or they may get different forms of government aid.
4. Do you do anything to combat these misconceptions?
I do my best by trying to educate the public on Nystagmus and the kind of help that there is available to people like me. I’m not alone. There are support groups like the Nystagmus Network: Facebook page for the Nystagmus Network and The American Nystagmus Network: Facebook page for The American Nystagmus Network. With the right support, and by educating the public, a lot of the negative misconceptions that are heard can be bursts like bubbles and the correct facts made available. This can help the disability community shine.