2019: More Movement, Patience, and Positivity-July Edition

July moved so quickly, and soon we will be in August. That means that half of the year has come and gone. Where has the time gone?

Movement has really hit me this month. Have you ever found yourself complaining about completing a task? I have. I have learned that it is easier to complete a task than it is to blab about completing the task itself.  That has happened to me time after time this month. I have found that I can complete more by just finding the energy to complete the task instead of complaining and walking away only to do it later.

I have more energy completing a task instead of walking away. It has helped me with my weight lost too. I am beginning to feel better about my body and how I look. 😊 I still need to keep an eye on my weight, but that is good health management anyway.

Patience has been hard. As you may or may not know I am working on starting my own freelancing business. For me to do that, I must work with my caseworker from a organization called, Vocational Rehabilitation. Every time I have a project or an idea I have to go and present it to my caseworker for them to approve it. This is true with my project. Just know that I am getting closer to allowing me to publish this project. I am very excited to be getting closer to letting the public see it.

Positivity has been a big part of my life this month. I have gotten some very special packages in the mail from some of my friends. I feel so amazing knowing that people care about me. I care about them too. I send letters to them from time to time. I found that being positive has helped my anxiety and depression quite a lot.

Remember you can achieve your dreams and goals! I believe in every one of you. 😊


Interview with Ailsa (Guest Blog Post #13)

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post is from Ailsa.

Ailsa has her own blog and she is active on her social media websites. Be sure to check out her blog and her social media 🙂  Thank you, Ailsa for being a guest.

  1. What is your name? Ailsa
  2.  Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging? My friends and other bloggers.
  3.  Besides writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? I like to listen to music and play games.
  4.  Name a bad habit that you have? Biting my lip.
  5.  If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why?  I would interview Olly Murs because I have a slight crush on him.
  6.  What is your college major/Minor?  I went to St Vincent College in Gosport,
  7.  What school (college or university) did you go to?  I went to Portchester Community School.
  8.   What is the title of your blog?    My blog is called Brains on Wheels
  9.   When and why did you start your blog?  I started blogging in February, 2016 because I wanted to have something to do besides going to college.
  10.    Where do you see yourself in five years?  In five years’ time, I would like to be living in my own place.
  11. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?  I have Cerebral Palsy (also referred to as CP). When I was born, I didn’t breathe. I was stillborn, but I was resuscitated, it took the doctors about twenty minutes to resuscitate me.   As a result of me not breathing, in that period when my brain didn’t get the oxygen I needed, brain damage occurred. I was on a ventilator for two days; the ventilator took breaths for me by pumping oxygen around my body and into my brain.   There were about three stillborn on that day, and I was the only one that survived. The doctors turned my life support down, so they could find out whether I would breathe on my own, and I did. I came off the ventilator on my sister’s birthday, which was a wonderful birthday present for her.
  12.  How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis?  I need support with almost everything; self-care, eating, drinking, dressing, ect.
  13.  What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?   I don’t know, but I would like to think that it doesn’t bother them.
  14.   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?  Don’t give up, you’ll get there. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  15. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links)  Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BlogbyAilsa and – https://www.facebook.com/ourlifecp                                                                                  Twitter – https://twitter.com/AilsaSpeak, https://twitter.com/BlogbyAilsa and https://twitter.com/ourlifecp

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ailsa.k.speak

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/4il5a

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


#Blindability Tag

I was watching the latest Blind to Billionaire video and, YouTube creator, Matt, was talking about his #Blindability tag and educational campaign. He wanted people from the blind and visually impaired community to post pictures and videos on their social media sites on, July 24th, to help raise awareness that blind and visually impaired people can do a lot of different activities even activities that can sometimes surprise people. Here are my three activities that people are surprised that I can do.

Read regular print. When I was in elementary school the teachers thought that my reading ability was poor. Come to find out not only was I Dyslexic, but I was visually impaired. Now I use a prescription magnifier or my Iphone when I need to access regular print.

Cook and bake. I love to cook and bake. I learned basic cooking skills from my stepdad when I was young, and last year I took some cooking classes at my local blind and visually impaired rehabilitation center. If you look at my Instagram account you know that I have been busy baking lately.

Lastly, that I can use technology. People are surprised that I can use my laptop, Iphone, Ipad and my Amazon Echo. When it comes to my laptop, I use a program called ZoomText. This program talks to me as I type and navigate my computer. I can change the font color and background. When it comes to my Iphone and Ipad I can either zoom in the screen or use the accessible feature called voiceover. Voiceover reads the screen to me. Lastly, last year I learned how to use my Amazon Echo. This has helped me gain more independence. I am able to access my grocery list right from my Alexa app.


My first therapy appointment and finding a therapist

I paced back and forth in my kitchen as I shook while holding onto the landline. I dialed my nurse practitioner’s office. “Hello, this is Florida Blue Medical Center, how may I help you today?” the receptionist answered. “This is Amanda. I had an appointment last week, and I am calling to find out why I haven’t heard anything from the counseling center that my nurse practitioner had given a referral too.”

While I waited for a response I started to pace even faster in my kitchen. I was eager to hear back from the counseling center that my nurse practitioner had given the referral to, so I could start to get treatment for my anxiety and depression. However, the weeks flew by and I had heard nothing from the counseling center. Come to find out my phone number was given incorrectly to the center. I had to call the counseling center and explain that I wanted an appointment with a therapist that offered cognitive behavioral therapy. I remember the receptionist asking me if I knew what kind of therapy that I was asking for and how I thought I would benefit from it. I remember saying that cognitive behavioral therapy was a way to change my thinking from a negative outlook in life to a more positive one; and I felt that I would benefit from it because I thought it would lessen my symptoms I was feeling from my anxiety and depression. To better understand what the definition of cognitive behavioral therapy is according to Psychology Today, cognitive behavioral therapy is, “Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems and boosts happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.”

The receptionist made me an appointment. A week went by and I found myself waiting in the waiting room. Soon a woman called me back to a large office. I sat down, and she asked me what my problems were. Like a gushing water fall I began to spill out how sore and sad I was. The woman stopped me and asked if I wanted medication or therapy for my anxiety and depression. I answered, “No medication; I want therapy.” Come to find out someone had listed me to talk to a psychiatrist and that I was wanting medication instead of therapy. She took me back to the front desk, and checked on the availability of their therapists. There were no appointments available until November. She canceled my insurance process, and gave me back my co-pay. She then handed me a list of therapists in the area.

I felt disappointed that I was not able to get help, and that my friend had to drive all the way to downtown Pensacola and back to my home.

Over the next few days I looked at the list that was provided. I knew there were a few concerns that I had when it came to picking out my new therapist. 1. How far away was the office from my house? Since I use paratransit, I needed the office to be in city limits. I also needed the office to offer appointments during the times that the paratransit ran. 2. Did the therapist take my insurance?  The list did not state which provider took my insurance, and I had a fear of getting a bill that I could not pay, so I wanted to be sure that my new therapist took my insurance. 3. Was my therapist female? I had worked with female therapists in the past and some of my depression and anxiety issues, I felt, were connected to my period. Because of this I felt that I would be uncomfortable talking to a male therapist. A few therapists I had to cross off the list right away because the office was too far away from my house. From there I was down to three candidates. The first one I called the office and found out that the therapist was already full and was not taking new patients. That left me with two more to check out. The first one did not work on depression and anxiety which is what I needed.  I called the last one on my list. I was very lucky. I found out that the office was somewhat close to my home and offered appointments in times that worked for me, the therapist took my insurance, she offered cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety and depression, and she was female.

I was able to make my appointment fairly quickly, and I was able to see a picture of what my therapist looked like and a little bit more about her background on the office website. This helped lessen the anxiety I had before the first appointment.

I am glad that I did not give up on finding a therapist. 😊

Author’s note: I am not a medical professional. I am just sharing my own personal experiences. If you are concerned about your physical or mental health please seek proper medical care.


Graduation and now what? (Independent Living Skills Series 29)

I know the months have flown by and I left the Independent Living Skills series after we had the Christmas party. I meant to update the series as soon as I graduated, however life got in the way.

Let’s go back to December-Christmas break was a fun time and it was a time to get some rest. I got new glasses that has improved my vision somewhat. The issue is I am having problems with the glasses. My glasses need to be adjusted quite often because the lenses are so heavy that they fall down my nose. I know next time I get glasses I need to get metal frames instead of plastic ones. I know that I need to get rectangular frames because I can see further out. Currently I keep getting my glasses adjusted and I am doing the best I can with the vision I have.

When I went back to the training center my focus was on improving my cooking skills instead of my Orientation and Mobility Skills. My teacher, a few of my classmates and I enjoyed our cooking lessons. I learned how to cook and bake things such as baked vegetables, chocolate chip cookies, and banana pudding, etc. My cooking skills improved and I began cooking more meals on my own.

Since my time at the training center was limited by my Individualized Employment Plan. Which is a plan that outlines the skills to live independently which could rang anything from being able to cook a simple meal to finding employment. My main concern was learning how to use the local bus system rather than the disability bus. In fact, before I was accepted into the school, I had to write to the head of the department stating why I needed to appeal my caseworker’s denial for training. One of the reasons I wrote in the letter was the need to learn the local bus system so I could be independent while out in the community because our local disability bus is not reliable. On the last day of classes I asked the head teacher and my orientation and mobility teachers about teaching me the bus system. They said they couldn’t teach me because we had already learned some basics about the bus system and because that I am able to take the disability bus. Lastly, we were just out of time.

I did have one lesson on how to read the bus schedule and the layout of the bus station, however I wanted to learn how to actually take the bus for added security in case the disability bus failed to show, etc. I know that many of you probably are shocked that I did not fight for more training.  The day this all happened I tried to stand up for myself. I explained why I wanted to learn the bus. I ran out of time, and it was not worth fighting for.

The last class was a sad one because I felt like my teachers were disappointed in the fact that my Vocational Rehabilitation caseworker and I were going to focus our energy on self-employment rather than community placement. I know that there is a lot of fears when it comes to self-employment.

I was going to miss my friends from school. Despite all this my grandpa and I enjoyed the smores I made in class that day.

The next week I received a letter from my caseworker that read:

“Dear Amanda:

I am writing to inform you that your case will be closed in the next 30 days for the following reason:

As we discussed on 3/15/2019, you agreed that you have received the services requested and have been unable to yet attain an employment outcome.

If you would like to discuss this issue or you would like your case to remain open so that you may pursue employment-based activities, please contact me prior to 4/15/2019. If I do not hear from you by that time, I will assume you are in agreement and will processed with closure.

I wish you good luck and continued success.

The next week I received a letter from the training center signed by the head teacher that read:

“Ms. Nelson,

I am writing to inform you that your case is now closed at (name of blind training center). We are pleased that you have completed your goals. You were a good student, and it was a pleasure working with you. We are very proud of your accomplishments. We wish you lot of luck in your career development. Enclosed you will find your certificates of your completion.

Take Care.

I know that many of you are probably feeling shocked that I did not fight for more time to keep my case open with my caseworker. I knew it was time to move on from the services that the organization provides. I have worked with many job coaches, including the employment coach that worked with my caseworker. These job coaches have yet to find me any solid leads because of my lack of a driver’s license and reliable public transportation. I have looked for employment for five and a half years.

Despite the organization closing my case I am still receiving support from another organization called Vocational Rehabilitation. This is due to my vision and other disabilities that I have. Vocational Rehabilitation can provide the same set of services that my other caseworker was doing. Right now, I am working with a caseworker to help me launch a successful business. I am currently working on a Nystagmus related product that I believe will benefit parents who have children with Nystagmus.

I am thankful for the support that my caseworker and school have provided me. I will continue to work with my Vocational Rehabilitation caseworker to achieve my goals and dreams of travel and self-employment because I believe in more movement, patience and positivity!


2019: More Movement, Patience and Positivity: June edition

June has come and gone. I really used this past month to work on myself.

Movement-This is the first pillar of my theme for this year. Not only is it a reminder for me to exercise and to lose weight-which is an ongoing battle-but this pertains to movement in life. That is why, along with a friend, I worked through a self-help book. This book helped me work through my past. Now I no longer have to carry my past, and I feel happier and calmer. Along with working on myself I continue to work on my writing and my channel. I am still working on my Secret Project. It is slowly coming along. I finally bought an attachment for my microphone, and I feel that it has improved the quality of my videos.

Patience is the second pillar of my theme for this year. It is a value that I am still working on. To be honest, sometimes I feel stuck with my goals. Because I have felt this way, my friends and grandfather have been reminding me that I have to keep working on my goals until God moves me to the next season of my life. This gives me peace knowing that God will move me in his time and at his pace. Yes, it is okay to have patience.

Positivity is my third pillar of my theme for this year. I really had to get friends and family to remind me that being positive is going to make life easier. For example, Duke got a rash and grandpa and I had to take him to the vet. I was really worried about Duke. However, the vet was able to give him some medicine to help him feel better. He is now back to his old self. I am also very happy that SANE: Changing Mental Health for Good posted a photo and one of my blogs to their Twitter page. Life is good. I am eager to see what July brings.

Remember I believe in each and every one of you. You can achieve your dreams and goals one day, one step at a time.

Interview with Alexis Read (Guest Blog Post #12)

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post is from my friend Alexis. Alexis runs a Facebook page all about her guide dog,  Yankee.  Be sure to check out her Facebook page to learn more about Yankee.  🙂 Thank you Alexis for being a guest.

  1. What is your name? My name is Alexis Read
  2. Age?: I’m 37 years old.
  3. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging?

My teacher of the Visually Impaired, Phyllis LeDosquet, inspires me as she was such an excellent teacher. Her teaching inspired my work with others with vision loss. When Phyllis was my teacher, she taught skills and concepts using real examples. For example, when I didn’t know about sizes of fruit in late elementary school, Phyllis took me to a grocery store to show me various fruit. She also had a brilliant idea when I was so negative. She had slips of paper where each negative comment was written. Phyllis had all of these comments on one side of the desk. As each comment was read, Phyllis explained why the trait is positive. She then moved the trait to the opposite side of the table. This activity helped me develop my own teaching tool for a 10 year old student in the summer of 2003. Another person who inspires me is a man from Louisville, KY. He’s blind and has a variety of physical disabilities. His arms and legs are unable to be bent so he’s unable to walk independently. He plays the piano and trumpet as well as sings. He has a message of positivity and setting achievable goals. His PAT acronym is something I use regularly when setting goals. PAT stands for perseverance, passion, patience, attitude, and trust.

image1 (1)
Photo of Alexis and guide dog Yankee.                                                                                          Photo credit: Vicki Curtis Stoner. She’s a local photographer.
  1. Besides writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? In my spare time, I enjoy reading, playing with my guide dog Yankee, and listening to music. Some of my favorite authors include Jodi Picoult and John Grisham. I also enjoy learning more about forensic science.
  2. Name a bad habit that you have? A bad habit is using scientific words with people who aren’t familiar with the terms,
    If I could meet anyone living or dead, I’d love to meet Patrick Henry Hughes. This is the young man from Louisville described above.

6. Name your best quality? My best quality is my attention to detail.

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

If I could meet anyone living or dead, I’d love to meet Patrick Henry Hughes. This is the young man from Louisville described above.

  1. What is your college major/Minor? I have a BA in psychology and English literature with a minor in German. These degrees were obtained from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. My master’s degree is in vision rehabilitation therapy. I obtained this degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI.
  2. What school (college or university) did you go to?
  3. What is the title of your blog? I don’t have a blog, but my guide dog Yankee has his own Facebook page. I decided to start this page because I thought it would be fun to write from his perspective.
  4. When and why did you start your blog?
  5. Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to be working at a university with students with disabilities. This would be very rewarding because I believe college education is important for individuals with disabilities.
  6. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? My vision loss was caused from optic atrophy and nystagmus.
  7. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis? I have more central vision than peripheral vision. I use a guide dog for independent travel. He’s a sweet and smart yellow Lab. I use screen reading technology to access the computer and my iOS devices.
  8. What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? Others appear to accept my vision loss, but acceptance isn’t a universal theme. There are people in Society who seem not to accept people with disabilities. Society’s ignorance is the biggest barrier to success for those with disabilities.
  9. 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? If I could offer any advice to others with disabilities, I’d advise young people to find a field they enjoy and that has good job prospects. I also would advise people to have good blindness skills like daily living, travel, and assistive technology skills. Being competent in the skills of blindness will serve you well in life.
  10. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links)   www.facebook.com/YankeeGuide