My name is Amanda. I live in The United States in a state called Florida. I like you and your friend, Frank, who you live with, I also have wobbly eyes due to Nystagmus.
For those of you who have not heard of Northwick, he is a friendly bear who lives with a family and a boy named Frank, and together they navigate the world with Nystagmus. The author who writes these stories is named John Sanders.
Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed by me.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself? – Well, first of all, thank you for inviting me to appear on your blog. As you say, I’m a bear who has Nystagmus which is something a lot of people may not have heard of. Basically, Nystagmus means my eyes flicker from side to side so I don’t see very well and glasses don’t fix it. As well as not being able to see very far, I need more time to see, how much I can see changes throughout the day, sometimes everything around me looks like it’s moving and I have to turn my head to look straight ahead. My flickering eyes use up a lot of energy, so I have a big appetite. That’s what I think anyway.
2. What is the hardest thing for you and Frank to see? (For me, it was hard seeing balls in games like soccer, and being able to see my school books and worksheets) – Yes, like you say Amanda! Things that move fast like balls in games, Frank’s friends running around and it’s really annoying when people say, “look at that bird up there!” Usually I can’t see birds or planes. …
3. What is your favorite thing to see? – Grass and trees and flowers and the sea and mountains and parks. I may not see these things in as much detail as people with ordinary eyes, but I like being in the countryside and drinking in the thousand shades of green, the smells of sea and rain and plants, the sound of burbling streams, the feel of leaves and rocks and wood and water.
4. What is your favorite kind of snack to eat? – Easy question. Cakes! Especially chocolate cakes.
5. How is Frank? – Like me, Frank has ups and downs, often because of Nystagmus. But we’re both happier now that we can talk to each about seeing the world differently from most other people.
6. What is your favorite subject in school? – French. Some people say learning another language is hard. But I think they’re wrong. I listen carefully and you don’t always have to read, so that makes it easier for me than subjects like sums or geography. J’aime bien parler français!
7. Do you ever feel sad about Nystagmus? – Oh yes. Before I met Frank I thought I was the only Bear / Person in the world with Nystagmus. Now I know I’m not alone and that helps a lot. We talk a lot about what we see or don’t see and that helps both Frank and me.
8. How does Amy the Orthoptist, who you see at the eye hospital, help you and Frank see? (Dr. Douglas Reynold helps me see better. He gives me new glasses.) – Amy makes sure we have the right glasses too. She also explains things to us. Like that glasses don’t fix Nystagmus, but they help with some of the other ordinary things that are wrong with our eyes. Amy makes us feel more confident. We know we can ask her questions. Sometimes we bring questions to her that children in Frank’s school have asked him and she can give us answers.
9. What has been the funniest Halloween costume you and Frank have worn for Halloween? – Pirates! Frank had a parrot (not a real one!) on his shoulder. We both had eye patches too. That was the best part. The funny thing was that, because of the eye patches, people were more helpful than usual because they realized we couldn’t see so much.
10. If you and Frank could give any advice to children with Nystagmus what would it be? – Don’t feel sad. Find out all you can about Nystagmus and talk to other people about it. Most people are interested. And remember that some very famous people have Nystagmus, so it doesn’t stop you from being happy and successful.