A Hadley School for the Blind and Visually impaired review-Section one: Feelings of being a non-driver

This past week I decided to embark on my second Hadley course. This class is called “Going places.”  The class helps students realize their potential as a non-driver. As a person, who can not drive myself, I hope that my audience will benefit from having me share my experiences. In the first part of the course, we are asked to explore the emotions that we feel because we can not drive. These feelings can be both positive and negative. Some positive feelings that were disgust were being able to do something special other than drive, being able to enjoy hobbies here at home and being able to get more exercise by walking or biking. Some negative feelings that were included were anger, depression, Isolation, dependence and lack of spontaneity.

For me, I honestly can say the strongest emotions that I have felt as a non-driver are anger and depression. I feel angry that the fact that I cannot drive impacts my life so much. Not being able to drive impacts my career, being able to meet with friends, or just to go shopping.

In my town, there is a lack of public transportation, and this makes me feel like I am dependent on my family and friends.  My anger comes more from a lack of knowledge and empathy from possible employers because I do not hold a driver’s license.

Exploring my emotions even deeper I started feeling a lot of these negative feelings when I was a teenager. I felt many of them when most of my friends were getting their learning permits and their driver’s licenses.  I was very angry when I was sixteen when I was told I would not be able to drive. I often asked myself, “What will be come of my future if I can not drive?”

I have had  reactions of depression because I have had feelings of isolation from time to time.  Many of my friends work, have families to take care of, or they simply do not have time to meet with me.

Another emotion I feel is a lack of spontaneity and growth. I see a lot of my friends and family through social media going on trips, even small ones to the store, and having families of their own. I sit back with my cup of coffee and go, “Well, I sure wish I could have children of my own or go to Europe.”

I never talked about being a non-driver much except for a short lesson with my qualified teachers of the visually impaired. My mother did not get out much. I had a lack of positive ways to see non-driving. I did not have orientation and mobility until I was an adult.

However, if I look at these feelings, I can see some of the positive reactions that the course has to offer.  I am able to use the internet to build my own online business to help educate others, such as parents, children with sight loss and Nystagmus, and the general public, that we can achieve our dreams and live active lives. I am able to enjoy going for a walk, I am able to enjoy many hobbies at home such as sewing, cooking, and reading.

I can call a friend on the phone or use Facebook messenger or What’sApp to have a quick chat. With a little bit of planning I am able to go and meet friends in town. If I plan and work hard, I know one day I will be able to go on more trips. For now, going to Walmart is just fine.

I find that keeping busy helps with depression. I usually keep a to-do list of things that I need to do during the day such as writing my blogs, doing laundry, and getting some exercise. I have found joy in staying at home and going out when I can.

My advice to parents is to explore your own feelings and concerns for your children. If they are old enough have a conversation about being a non-driver and the feelings, both positive and negative, that they may feel. Start building a positive relationship with using low vision aids such as a cane and telescope. Push for orientation and mobility if you feel like your child is going to need it.

Have you, as a parent, or your child ever experienced any of these feelings? If so, when did they start? What are some ways that you can deal with them?  In my next blog post I will discuss the impact of being a non-driver and how it can impact your family and friends.

Going places: A Hadley School for the Blind and Visually impaired Review

Introduction: I decided to take this course because not being able to drive has a big impact on my life. Even though I can not give out course information I am going to give you some inside as to how I feel about each topic that was covered in this course, and how I feel you may be able to benefit from either taking the course yourself, it is free to parents, and students who are sixteen or older, or how you can use my topics to help start talking about being a successful non driver with your child, teen or young adult.

I highly recommend taking the course online or with your child if your child is old enough to enroll in the course. To sign up for the course you can either enroll online at: https://www.hadley.edu/EnrollNow.asp or mail in an application.

I mailed in my paper application. The application was simple and easy to fill out. I needed a letter from my caseworker to verify my status as a visually impaired person. I believe that your child’s eye doctor can also fill out the forms.

After about a week I called to check the status of my application and I found out that I could start my class right away. The student services office was very helpful.

As I examined each of the five sections I thought about how I felt about the different situations I could face and the modes of transportation I could use. .

Some modes of transportation I have taken myself and I know first hand what it feels like to use them. However, some of the modes of transportation, which I will talk about further in my blog posts, I have not thought about as an option for myself.

I hope that you find these next few weeks of this series to be helpful for learning that you can be successful as a non-driver and that, if you are a parent, that this will open some doors of ways to communicate with your child, teen or young adult. I hope my insights will help you deal with some of the emotions that you may feel as you think about and process your child’s future.

I want to open up a way to communicate with my audience. Feel free to chime in down in the comments below on how you are feeling as I post each section review and always feel free to ask questions! I will try my best to answer your questions as honestly as I possibly can.

 

Interview with Beckie (Guest Blog Post #9)

Hi Everyone, this month I got the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca (Beckie)  L. (Torres) Holland. She has her own blog and her own book. She also writes for the magazine Captivating. Please be sure to check out her book, website, articles in Captivating, and her  social media links. Many thanks to Beckie for featuring me on her website as a guest blogger.

  1. What is your name?

My name is Rebecca L. (Torres) Holland. I am a writer, disability advocate, and pastor. A small book of my poems,  Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse, was published in December of 2018.  All the profits made from the sales of that book are being donated to the church where I serve. I am also a staff writer at CAPTIVATING! Magazine.

  1. Age?

I turned 30 in July of 2018; however, many people tell me that I look younger.

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

There are many people who inspire me. The person who has inspired me most in my life is John Wesley. He and his brother are the founders of the United Methodist Church. The ministry of the Wesley brothers inspires me to live a life rooted in love and service.

Stephanae McCoy from Bold Blind Beauty is the blogger who inspires me the most. She is also the editor and co-founder of CAPTIVATING! Magazine.  I admire the work she does to raise awareness about sight loss, educate people about disabilities, and empower members of the disability community.

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

I am a voracious reader. I love to read and last year I read over 120 books. I also enjoy running, yoga, and making music. I play the flute and sing in a choir. This year, I am training for my first marathon.

  1. Name a bad habit that you have?

I have a tendency to worry and to over think things. Sometimes, I worry so much that I can actually make myself ill. When I control my tendency to worry, it can become a strength. This habit makes me conscientious and attentive to detail. It also inspires me to plan to and to consider decisions from many different angles.

  1. Name your best quality?

I am kind and empathetic. I always try to see human beings as multifaceted individuals. I try to view the world from the perspective of other people. My natural empathy is a valuable attribute in both my ministry and my writing.

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

I would interview my favorite poet, Mr. Alexander Pope (1688-1744). His poetry defined the neoclassical age and it is the most beautiful thing that I have ever read. His work inspires me. He led a fascinating life. He  knew many interesting people and had a variety of interests. I would love to ask him about his thoughts on writing, the publishing industry, art, geology, philosophy, theology,  and horticulture.

  1. What is your college major/Minor?

I have a Bachelor in the Science of English Education and a Master of Divinity. I am a certified and licensed English teacher for grades 7-12; however, I have put my license into inactive status because I am not currently teaching.

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

I attended Millersville University of Pennsylvania for my undergraduate degree and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. for my master’s degree.

  1. What is the title of your blog?

My blog is entitled Rev. Rebecca Writes: Read, Write, Pray

  1. When and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog in October of 2018 as a way to share my writing, talk about books, and raise awareness about issues related to disabilities. Along the way, I’ve met some wonderful people from all over the world. I have also learned a great deal about writing.

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’m very happy where I am right now in life. I have a loving husband, a lovely place to live, and I’m working at my dream job. In five years, I hope that I will have written two more books. I also dream of one day being published by a traditional publishing house.

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

I was born with cataracts on both eyes (bilateral congenital cataracts). I needed nine surgeries before I was a year old in order to remove the cataracts and the secondary membranes that grew back over my eyes. When I was four, I developed glaucoma as a complication of surgery. I have had thirteen surgeries on my eyes.

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

I think about my visual impairment every single day. It inspires me to work harder in order to achieve my goals. I know that as a female of minority descent with a disability in a profession dominated by men, I need to work ten times as hard to be taken half as seriously as many of my colleagues.

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

My family was very supportive of me when I was growing up. My mother worked hard to instill in me the belief that I can do anything that anyone else can do- I just might have to do it a little differently.

  1. 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?

Work hard and always put your best foot forward. I truly believe that success is composed of a little bit of luck, a lot of perseverance, and a ton of hard work.

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

Blog: http://www.BeckieWrites.com

Amazon Author PageRev. Rebecca L. Holland

Goodreads: Rebecca L. Holland (BeckieWrites)

Twitter@BeckieWrites

Instagram@BeckieWrites

Facebook: Rebecca Torres-Holland

Linked In: Rebecca (Torres) Holland 

If you are a disability writer or blogger and you would like to be featured on my website please feel free to reach out to me via email at: amanda@amandagene.com

 

 

 

2019: More Movement, Patience and Positivity March edition

2019 seems to be going by so quickly. March is a special month for me. First, my birthday is in March. I had a great birthday. I got lots of messages from friends on my Facebook wall and on Twitter. I got some cards in the mail and some gifts. I was able to go out to lunch with some friends, and then grandpa took me out to dinner.

I take time to reflect on the past year. I am able to look at the lessons that life has taught me. On my birthday, I remind myself to focus on what my future holds. I believe I have a great future in front of me. I just have to work hard and believe in myself.

Not only is my birthday special, but March turns the seasons from winter to spring. In my recent blog post  whatmakesme, I told my audience that spring is my favorite season. This is because not only is it a great time to get outside and walk more, but it is a season of hope. One of my goals this year is to get more exercise.  I feel that walking really helps my hips and my weight. I am doing well with my continuing education classes that I take online. I feel like I am learning a lot. My projects for my business are going well too.

When it comes to patience, I have learned it takes time to achieve a goal, to grow your network, ect. That’s okay. I am achieving something.

Positivity brings everything together including movement and patience. Being positive helps me achieve my dreams.

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. 😊