The local university

Hi Blog world,

Greetings from the local university! The last three days have been amazing. After getting moved in I went for many walks and I have many snacks. That night I went to the local shopping event, and I got some extra food and some more water. On Thursday, I helped my best friend move into her dorm and I got to play with her dog. On Friday, I got my textbooks and I started scanning them, into my computer so I could read them on my reading program. You would think that in this world of digital world of learners and readers the blind population would have more access to textbooks and other reading material, however, we don’t and having to scan your textbooks are very tiring, but like my best friend says, What choice do we have? I just hope that the digital world makes things easier for us soon.

Tonight I went to a cookout and a slide-It was fun. I have the coolest people in my dorm hall, they really are helpful and I appreciate their help.

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

 

Freedom: white cane style

Hi Blog world,

Sorry I didn’t get a blog in last week it was a rough and exciting week. Last Thursday I got the call that I have been waiting a year and two half months for-I finally was going to get my white cane and training! I was excited and nervous at the same time.

Finally, Saturday came and my teacher came with my cane. I have to admit that I was nervous that my training would be delayed more. My first lesson was in the sighted guide technique, for people who do not know a sighted guide helps someone who is blind or visually impaired get around safely, during this lesson we went through how to use a sighted guide while going up and down stairs and how to switch sides of the guide while traveling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoRQiG_hlHk we also went through how to keep myself safe if I didn’t have my cane with me.

The first lesson I learned with my cane was what length I needed; to measure a user for a cane we use the height up to the collar-bone mine’s a 50 in. After that, I learned the parts of the cane and how to walk with it.

Even though it had just stopped raining my teacher and I went for a mile and a half walk. It felt odd learning the technique; however, I learned it pretty quickly.  I am looking forward to learning more lessons on how to travel independently. I get my freedom back!

This blog is in loving memory of Bristol: the guide dog who gave my best friend the
gift of independence.

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

 

 

The years have gone by so fast-a reflection of my years at the local state college

Hi Blog world,

Well, after a long weekend and an extra twenty-four hours of waiting I got the news I wanted I passed my math class and I am now a graduate of the local state college!  I did it!  Wow!   Where has the time gone?  I have grown so much in the last three years.  I remember my first day at the college like most freshmen I was excited to be doing something after months of summer vacation, however, I was scared about being in this new “World” and I really wanted to go home.  I have now gotten over that rush of wanting to go home right away.   I have also made many friends.  During this time, I have also met my best friend, we have grown very close in our friendship and I know that our friendship will grow ever closer as I move on with my education at the local university.

My hardest difficulty is with my math, I have had many setbacks with it, and however, I am better with it than I first started when I was a freshman. I can’t thank the teachers and the tutors in the math lab enough for working so hard with me even when I felt down about learning my hardest subject. Thank you!

My spelling and grammar has also been a struggle for me.  I had to take writing prep writing my freshmen year, and with lots of practice and the dedication of my teachers, I was able to pass my College Placement Exam and I was able to move on to college credit classes my second term.  One of the goals I had during my time at the state college was to get something published in the school newspaper, and I went over the top of that goal, I had more articles published than I ever thought I would.  I also got the chance of educating the public about what it is like to be legally blind and what it means to be safe when walking with a white cane.

During my freshmen and sophomore year, I also attended a local learning center for the blind and visually impaired where I learned how to use my computer including programs: ZoomText and Kurzweil 3000.  I also sharpen my typing skills and learned how to use my digital tape recorder.

In the kitchen, I regained confidence in my cooking and stove use. I have also learned how to manage a home, through learning organization skills, banking skills, and I even got to learn about my future job by talking to some professional reporters at the local newspaper.

I also got to meet some guide dogs and I have learned that a blind person can really be independent, and they also have a constant companion: a friend for life.

I have also started learning Braille, I still am not a fluent reader yet, but I know that in the next two years I will be getting better at it.

In my spare time I have also learned how to take care of an aquarium; and I have learned a lot about fish.

Through all these little things, I have been gaining more confidence and independence. I am not sure of what the next two years of my life will obtain or what goals I will achieve but I do know that it’s going to be an adventure!

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

 

Swimming with my best friend

Hi Blog world,

I just wanted to stop by and tell you about what I did this Saturday.  I went swimming with my best friend at her house. We had a lot of fun, and she even taught me how to float.  We also got to play with her guide dog Bristol, and one awesome thing was I got to meet a real wolf named Thunder! He is so cute.  At first I was a little afraid of Thunder but once we got used to each other we were pals. After we went swimming, we watched the movie, “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey”  Then we had dinner,the hamburgers and fries where really good!During my visit, Jessica, her mom and I  also talked about the fact that one day I would like to get a guide dog of my own.  I know that having a guide dog is a big responsibility and I still need to give it some deep thought,  however, seeing Jessica and her guide dog Bristol Jessica and Bristol

working together and Jessica being so Independent with Bristol by her side, makes me feel like if I do go into the journalism field that with a guide dog I can do any beat that comes my way.  Come on!  Follow me “forward together” to Jessica’s blog Journeying through life-Life’s Journey Jessica’s blog

Jessica and Thunder
Jessica and Thunder 

Night Blindness

Hi Blog world,

I just wanted to drop a line about one of my vision problems: Night Blindness.  I was diagnosed with this eye problem last May.  For those of you that don’t know about Night Blindness, according to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003039.htm, “Night blindness is poor vision at night or in dim light.”

Because of my night blindness, I was told that I would have to use a white cane at night.  Night blindness can be very scary for me; there has been times when I have almost fallen, or have even ran into a glass door because I didn’t see it.  I sometimes feel sad too.

Because we caught this early there are things we can do to try to help my night blindness, such as making sure I take my vitamins and using my eye drops.  But the best defense against night blindness is to prevent it.

Blog  soon,

Amanda Gene

 

Dyslexia

Hi Blog world,

I just wanted to take a moment and talk about my second disability-Dyslexia.  For those that would like to know, according to http://www.medicinenet.com/dyslexia/article.htm “Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to read and write, and spell.” I was diagnosed with Dyslexia went I was in second grade.  I don’t remember very much about my training other than we used to card to help use learn the sounds of letters.  Because of this early training, I was taught how to read, but not how to spell.

Spelling and misuse of words, has been my biggest struggle in school.  It takes me a long time for me to edit my work and still sometimes I still don’t get all of my wording or spelling right.  Click on this video link to see  an example of what it’s like to have this disability, and what it’s like for me to write some of my work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbiD7VDz9oA

Many of my friends say that because I have Dyslexia, I have my own special language, which we joke-ling call “Amanda Language.” When you get to learn how to read my language, it mostly is easy to translate, even though sometime it can’t be translated back into Standard English.  It makes my very upset when I can’t get the word that I want down on paper, or that I have to use a low vocabulary to say what I want.  I know that I am very smart, and even though it takes me longer to work within my language problems I can write, and read, and even though I can’t always get my spelling right.

There is hope for those who have Dyslexia scientist and researchers are working around the clock to find ways to help us learn to deal with our disability, why our disability is occurring, and hopefully one day find a cure for it.

If anyone has any question please ask in the comments below,

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

Amanda Gene: My story of what’s it’s like being visually impaired

Hi Blog world,

I really like this post because I can share my story of what it is like being visually impaired. I was born twenty-eight weeks early weighing one pound five ounces and I was only 12 inches long. Because of the fact, that I came into this world so small and sick, the doctors of the NICU gave me a five percent chance of making it. I survived!
Because of my birth, I have some problems, I am legally blind, I have mild cerebral palsy, and I have a learning disability that makes reading and spelling hard for me, this disability is called Dyslexia.
My eye condition is very rare, it’s called Congenital Nystagmus, which means that my Macular did not form all the way, and my eye’s muscle that controls my eyes cannot hold still, so therefore, my eyes continuously bounce around. When my eyes are moving I can feel it, and sometimes, when my eyes are tired it is painful.
My vision is like looking through a piece of clear wrapping paper; it’s very blurry and during the day I start to lose some of my vision that I have. I was recently diagnosed with night blindness and dry eye. Because of this fact, I have to use eye drops four times a day.
I was diagnosed with a vision problem when I was in the fifth grade. Since then, I have been in programs for people with low vision, and in these programs I have learned how to use the computer, by using a program called ZoomText, which tells me what is going on. I also learned how to use a reading program called Kurzweill 3000, which is how I access my textbooks, and other reading material.
I also learned how to cook, and manage a home; I have gained valuable job skills that will help me in my career one day.

Here is a link to a story that I wrote for the school’s newspaper last term, please check it out: Blind Achieve Independence

If anyone has any questions about any of my disabilities, please feel free to ask in the comments below.

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene