Mid-term reflection: pondering thoughts (independent living skills series 21)

Since it is October and I only have four more months until my scheduled graduation I decided to write a mid-term reflection.

I like my classmates and staff at school. I feel like the school lacks organization when it comes to getting students organized for their assigned lessons.  I wish the teachers would provide class syllabuses to help students keep track on what they are learning.

When I first started school, back in May, I was hesitant to cook and to travel on my own. I had limited knowledge about the Alexa Echo.

I now have a new sense of freedom. I now know how to look up recipes, check spelling of words, do math, get times and keep my shopping and To-Do lists up to date. I use my Alexa daily.

In the kitchen, I am able to cook simple meals and desserts. As well as, use my adaptive equipment to chop fruits and vegetables, check temperatures on a wide variety of meats, and how to confidently place and remove pans from a hot oven. I cook for myself more often, and enjoy new dishes. (Yum, baked eggplant 😊)

When it comes to my travel skills I am no longer afraid to cross streets with heavy traffic, use escalators and elevators and use alternative transportation. I feel like I can travel anywhere I want including traveling abroad. Over these past few months I have learned to have high expectations for myself; all this despite having Nystagmus.  I have positive friends who believe I can achieve my goals and dreams rather than to say I cannot achieve.  On top of all this, I have decided not to listen to the people who say, “No, you cannot you have a cane; or you are visually impaired,” I say to those people, I have confidence and independence now that I have all this training. Getting this confidence and independence did not just happen over night and it came with a lot of work on my part, however I am happy with who I am today.  I know what goals I want to achieve in the future.

Thank you everyone for your support; without you I would have never made it this far. I am looking forward to my graduation.

 

 

Blogger Recognition Award

I have some exciting news to share! I have been nominated by my friend and fellow blogger, Carol, who runs the blog, The Invisible Vision Project, for The Blogger Recognition Award.

Here are the rules that have to be followed for this award:

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you.
  • Write a blog post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Nominate some bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, and provide the link to the post you’ve created.

Thank you, Carol, for nominating me for the award. You are an amazing friend and writer. Be sure to stop by Carol’s blog and show her some love. 😊

A short story of how my blog got started:

It all started nine years ago on a Pensacola State College campus. I had to create and write nine or ten blog posts for part of a class I was taking for my journalism degree. I was excited to share my stories and growth as a writer and a college student with the world. I fell in love with blogging and since then I have never stopped writing. I hope to keep writing in the future and even use my blog as part of my freelance writing career.

Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers:

The first piece of advice was something that I myself had to learn over time, and that is never give up. It has taken me a long time to get to where I want to be as a blogger. It did not just happen overnight. It took a long time with hours of practice of writing and editing. There are times when I lose a follower or two on my blog or I do not get something edited correctly, due to my learning disability, however I have to keep going and not give up. I am glad I did not give up on blogging, and I keep practicing my writing and editing skills. I get to do something that I love, and I get to share it with the world.

My second piece of advice is to read your work out loud before you push the publish button. This will help with the first piece of advice I gave to you. Lock yourself in the bathroom with a steaming hot cup of coffee to keep you awake during the process. I find that reading my work out loud helps me catch my mistakes and it keeps me going as a life long learner.

Lastly, I would like to nominate the following five bloggers for this blogger award.

Glen, who runs the blog, Well eye never (well_eye_never)

Sassy Wyatt, who runs the blog, Thinking Out Loud (SassyWyatt)

Kel, who runs the blog, Consider yourself warned… it could be Kel…(CouldBeKel)

Holly, who runs the blog, Life of a blind girl (lifeofablindgrl)

Luke, who runs the blog, Luke Sam Sowden (lukesamsowden)

Thank you again Carol for this amazing nomination! Thank you to friends, family and my followers who support me!

 

 

An Interview with Jordan Mahony (Guest Blog Post #4)

Hi Everyone, I got the pleasure of interviewing my friend, Jordan. He has his own YouTube channel and website. Many thanks to Jordan for allowing me to interview him and for allowing him to interview me in return.  Do not forget to check out his channel and website. 🙂

What is your name?

Jordan Mahony.

Age?

I am 20 years old.

Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging?

The very person who has always been in my head is Molly Burke.

She had a very graphic story and I thought she got her story out there and I thought to myself that I needed to do the same thing. So, people like me could have a voice and not be left in the dark any more about what they could or could not do. So, she inspired me to make my channel on YouTube which is action.

Besides writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to sit down and talk to my friends and also getting to know new people. I like to challenge myself to always do more for me.

Name a bad habit that you have?

A bad habit that I have is when I get excited and I shake my hands. It can also be a good thing or a bad thing.

Name your best quality?

My best quality is my ability to feel positive about myself. I do that in the case of other people because, to put it straight, I want to help them as best I can.

If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why?

If I could interview anyone living or dead it would be miss Demi Lovato. I like her because she is my hero. I would like to meet her, as I like to say, she is my hero. It would fill me with pride if I did meet her one day. I went to a Demi Lovato concert in Dublin. I would interview her because she supports mental health and I like that.

What is your college major/Minor?

I majored in drama and acting. My minor was advocacy for visually impaired people.

What school (college or university) did you go to?

I go to Life Long Learning in Child Vision. I will continue to go there for 2 more years.

What is the title of your blog?

The title of my blog or website is www.jordantmahony.com Which is my way to help people and educate them about people like me.

When and why did you start your blog?

I set up my blog on Saturday the 16th of September 2018. As to why I set it up. I did it so I could have a voice to get my views and opinions across the map of the world. I wanted visually impaired people to come out of the shadows and talk to me about their concerns and problems.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In 5 years, I see a lot of things happening for myself. Like living on my own and in a physical relationship. Also, being at the top of my game. Making a long and hard career as a very famous and brilliant actor. Having a good life without looking back at the bad things.

Doing what I think is best for me and my future family.  Saying no to sighted people and that I will not be a defenseless little child. Being a full- time certified councilor for those that need my help. Finally, to be recognized for my gifts and not my visual impairment and to have a world where my fellow visually impaired brothers and sisters can be for once in their life’s happy and free.

What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?

I have a condition called Bardet Biedl syndrome. Which affects the kidneys, sight and your liver. Since I have a fatty liver I cannot give or donate blood. I use a white cane, since my sight is greatly affected. One day I will go blind. I also have a small amount of autism, which is not a problem. However, there will be decisions in life that I will have to make sooner or later.

How does your visual impairment or other disability that you may have effect you on a daily basis?

Well, I have to use a long cane; or as I call her, Demi who I have with me every day. If I do not have her, I will not get far. I like that I have a cane, (and) I am okay with that. It is not easy, but I get through it because I want to live my life to the fullest. My impairment does not define me as a person. I have a message in my head, and that message is I am sorry that I am visually impaired, but I am not sorry that I cannot see. I took that message from Demi Lovato’s song Sorry not sorry. Trust me when I say that every day is a challenge, but it just makes you stronger. That is part of my daily life.

What gets on my nerves is sighted people, and how they treat you like you are a mutant. I do not like that. Which is why I will not be controlled by a sighted person, ever.

What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?

My mom and family are okay with it.  But my auntie Annmarie is the best. She does not treat me differently. As far as she is concerned I cannot see a lot and she does not care about that. All she cares about is me and my well-being.

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?

Live your life the way you want to and ignore the people who think that they get you. If we are being honest, if there are people who control your life well they need to leave because it is not for them to say oh we control you; instead that is not the way it works.

You are the person in control and I think people with a disability need to know that.

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

I am on YouTube as Jordan Mahony.

I have my own website as well.

I am on Twitter. Type in Jordan Mahony and you will find me.

My website is at:  www.jordantmahony.com My username is pyro 2028.

 

National Cerebral Palsy Day (2018)

October 6 is this year’s National Cerebral Palsy Day. I was born premature weighing just 1 pound 5 ounces and was only 12 inches long. Part of the effect of my early birth is that I have mild Cerebral Palsy.

According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and stroke, (Cerebral Palsy) “Refers to a group of Neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affects the body movement and muscle coordination…” Basically, Cerebral Palsy (CP) is where the brain and body, mainly the muscles, do not connect which can cause a variety of symptoms and effects which can vary from person to person.

While I was looking at the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy, from the same website,  I recognized that I had some of them which was recognized in my childhood.

“Variations in muscle tone, either too stiff or floppy.” For me this meant that my muscles were to floppy and to help make the tone much stronger I received physical therapy from a young age  until the sixth grade.

“Shaking or random involuntary movements” When I stopped and looked at this symptom I actually thought I did not have this until I remembered that sometimes my finger or leg will shake with no known cause.

“Delays in reaching motor skills milestones” For me this was a lot of the thing’s babies do that parents go crazy over sitting up, crawling and walking. My mother told me that it took me two years to learn how to walk instead of one year.

“Problems with drooling and difficulties swallowing or speaking” I had to have speech therapy when I was young. I drooled a lot as a child. Now that I am an adult I do not have that much problems with drooling except for when I am sick or from the effects of wearing my night guard at night.

“Problems with writing and dressing” For me, I struggled with buttons when I was really young, however I had a tool to help me with that. I also struggled with writing. However, with lots of help from physical and occupational therapy I was able to gain my independence with dressing myself and I was able to write. Now that I am older technology has taken over and I type more than I write.

Even though technology has taken over that is not an excuse to not keep my body as strong as it can be. For me, I try to walk as much as I can, I write from time to time, and I bring out the stress ball and play dough.  The most annoying thing about Cerebral Palsy is not feeling as strong as I want to be on my left side, which is mainly in my hand, and very rarely do I have pain in my hand or in my hips or legs. However sometimes I just stop and take a break if it’s from physical writing or to help my hips and legs I do some stretching and taking a warm bath with lavender soaps or bath salts helps me relax. Even though I have these problems that has not stop me from being the best person I can be. I just have to work harder at it. On a sadder note, I saw more effects of Cerebral Palsy that make me feel lucky that I am not as bad off as others with Cerebral Palsy. I hope that one day there will be a cure for this condition and people will have better treatment.

To learn more about Cerebral Palsy:  https://www.ucp.org/ or http://yourcpf.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heavy Traffic, Escalators, Elevators and a blindfold walk (independent living skills series 20)

I woke up feeling anxious not because of the van or because of my lesson, but because a friend of mine was having a medical procedure. I quickly got dressed and had breakfast. I was picked up on time and was early for class. I was able to talk to one of the staff members and my classmates. Soon our student conference room was packed with students and staff members alike. Because we had new students joining our class, we had a quick introduction.
I had Orientation and Mobility with the part-time teacher. When we got into the van, and the key would not fit into ignition. Come to find out we were in the wrong van. Once we were in the correct van we made our plans for the day and took off. The first heavy traffic crossing was scary. I learned about the traffic light to cross. For my audience who live abroad, there are buttons for people to push before they cross the road. There is either a red hand, which means not to cross or a white person, which means it’s safe to cross. Also, there is a count-down timer that will tell the pedestrian to hurry up before the cars go again.
At the next intersection, my teacher pointed out that there were two buttons to cross the road and they had different tactile features, and each button faced the street I wanted to cross. This helped me a lot. I aligned my body ready to take off, but I missed my traffic surge to go. I had to push the button and wait again. I saw the light change from red to white and heard my traffic signal and took off. I crossed with success. I crossed two more times, each time gaining more confidence. Once I reached my starting point, my teacher asked me if I felt comfortable with crossing. I was feeling confident, and on top of that I was a little sweaty from the rising heat from the Florida’s sun. We decided to move to the mall and we would practice more heavy traffic during my next lesson.
At the mall, I had to find a landmark before I could start mind mapping to find the escalators. For my landmark, to help me find the store’s entrance, I chose the watches and purses. I started mind mapping and found more purses that was by the down escalators. Once again, I hesitated before getting on. I had my cane to far out in front of me. Once I corrected myself and got some encouragement from a store employee. I got on with no problem. I went around and came back up. By the time I did it a second time I had my confidence back. My teacher and I then went and moved onto the elevators. While we were walking to the elevators my teacher told me the employee was proud that I got passed my fear and was able to ride the escalator with confidence.
When we got to the elevators we first went over the buttons on the panels and the types of doors elevators have. We went on and went down. She showed me how to check the panel to see if I am on the right floor. To do this you hold your cane in one hand and hold the door with your arm, and then use your free hand to check the panel. After this lesson we left the mall, and went to a McDonald’s drive-through. I got a cheeseburger, fries, and a French vanilla ice coffee. Everything hit the spot.
We then went back to the center for our final lesson of the day. A blindfold walk. My teacher had me do some shore lining or two-point touch to find and follow the grass outside. The first time I did it I was scared. My teacher had to prompt me to walk faster and give me reassurance that I would not get hurt. I had to trust her and my cane. I was slow, but I did it. She had me do it a few more times and each time I gained more confidence.
We went on to review sighted guide. Which I got wrong the first time, however after correction I got it right.
She showed me how to find a seat and sit down. We then went and worked inside the school.
It was a long and rewarding day.

Learning about Non-24 and Getting Some Stress Relief (independent living skills series 19)

It’s Tuesday, which means another lesson. It took all my strength to get out of bed and to get going. I felt so tired from my medicine from the dentist too.  I had my normal wait time and got to class way before our official start time. Instructors and classmates a like were late due to the pouring rain. Today’s class was going to be a little different because a guest speaker was going to be presenting information about a condition called non-24. I had heard of it from commercials on TV, and from YouTuber Joy Ross. I learned that non-24 is a medical condition that affects people who are either blind or legally blind who have little to no light perception. Because people who have this condition have little to no light perception their body clocks are off which affects their wake sleep cycle.

The way the nurse explained the condition and its symptoms helped me understand the condition as a whole. I was able to ask to get more information about it via phone and in the mail.

The students and staff were treated to Subway, tea and cookies for lunch.

Once lunch was over I had another Orientation and Mobility lesson. For me these lessons are beginning to feel like an old hat. I was still hungry; so, my teacher and I went through the drive through at McDonald’s, and I got fries and a Coke. It really hit the spot.  We then went to Target. While I shopped I saw the cutest dress, however I have a few dresses in my closet I have yet to wear. I am personally trying to work on mindfulness and thankfulness. I then went to the cosmetics and found a sample of lavender bath bombs. I wanted to give them a try, as I have heard, a few fellow YouTubers and bloggers do reviews of similar products. It was a great day.

I can not wait to graduate from the program and I feel ready to tackle my last objective: The Bus.

 

A toothache, Orientation and Mobility lesson, and pizza (independent living skills series 18)

I woke up an hour after missing a call from a friend from overseas, and I was tired. The past weekend I had a toothache. I was ready for school even though I really did not want to go. When I got to school, I talked with my classmates and I helped clean up the student meeting room. Soon we all had our assignments for the day. I had another Orientation and Mobility lesson. I forgot my sunglasses at home. Because of that fact, and because I wanted to work on working in a crowded area, my teacher and I went to the mall.

First, I had to find a landmark and I had to use a map to find the first store I wanted to go to, Ross. I started off heading in that direction, mind mapping along the way. The store was easy to find. I had a fun time looking at all the clothes. I even thought about buying some thin ankle socks, but in the end I decided not to buy anything.  I backtracked my route to find Old Navy. I enjoyed seeing what that store had to offer and I even found some clothes I could wear for a job interview.

From there my teacher had me go to the food court. I had to look up and follow the signs. I used my environmental clues. Just had to follow my nose 😊

Then we went to Belk. While I was mind mapping to find a variety of departments my teacher told me how to find percentages off for when something is on sale. Believe me, the store had a lot of items on sale that day. Soon I felt comfortable doing the math and learning how much I would save on any of the great sales that were going on.

Our last stop was Dillard’s. We went around the store, having me learn the routes and how to mind map along the way. I have to admit I was getting tired because of the soreness I had in my mouth. We went up and down the escalators a few times. On my first attempt I was fearful; after a few rounds I felt confident. My teacher challenged me to go up and down two times on my own. I felt so confident when I did it on my own. I feel like I am no longer afraid. By now my tooth was really hurting and I was tired and hungry.

We went back to the center. When I got there, I was able to join in a daily living activity of making pizza. My teacher, one of our assistant daily living skills teachers, and I made the last pizza. My pizza had sauce, cheese and pepperoni on it. We cooked it for a while and when the cheese wasn’t melted my teacher broiled it for a few minutes. I had never cut a pizza with a chef knife before so I was taught to cut it by pressing hard and rocking my knife back and forth, then moving my pizza to the next section. I did not feel that comfortable doing it the first couple of times, so our main cooking teacher had to step in to help me. I love learning new things. 😊 While we were cooking our pizzas the director of Division of Blind Services stopped by. I was able to tell her about how things were going and what I felt like I needed. I felt listened too.

Soon our pizzas were done and everyone who had a piece enjoyed it. There was some left over so I grabbed one to take home to my grandpa.

After our lesson my classmates and I cleaned up the kitchen and the student lounge.

Since I was still hurting I called my grandpa. When I got home I went to the dentist. I am okay, and I have some medicine to help me feel better.

Even though I had a toothache and an added dentist visit I still had a good day.