Section two:Practical Implications-Going Places: A Hadley School for the Blind and Visually Impaired review.

The second section of my Hadley “Going Places,” review really gave me some strong emotions. Feelings of sadness, anger, jealousy, among other emotions surfaced because in the second section we talked about how our family and friends feel about the effects of us not being able to drive.

Let me give you an example, last year, I had a really bad tooth ache, and my grandpa had to take me to an emergency dental appointment. If my grandpa would have not been able to take me then I would have either continued to be in pain or I would have had to take a taxi which can be expensive. I am thankful that I was able to go and he was able to take me; however, on the other hand, he had to drop his plans. He could have been doing other things instead of taking me. He helps me because he cares for me. I was able to say thank you for taking me by doing a little extra around the house. This is a good example of what the course called balancing and bartering. Not only did this case speak of balancing and bartering but this example shows how it allows others, including myself, to talk about the impact of your inability to drive.

Another example I can give, was from 2015, when I had a part-time job. I had to use the paratransit to get to work. The paratransit is usually very late picking me up. While waiting for my ride that day, my eyes began to fill with tears; I felt embarrassed because I knew I would be getting to work late, and I worried about getting fired. My grandpa felt frustrated with the situation. I wanted to be a good employee, and I knew I needed to be on time. That day we both vented about how it would be better if the van was on time and if I had the same driver every day. I learned in the course that it is important to communicate your feelings with family and friends. It is also important to be fair and to give back to those who help you. One thing that bothers me is how some of  my family does not understand how wide-spread my city is. It takes me an hour or more, using paratransit, to get somewhere. When they suggest walking somewhere, they do not realize that walking is a limited option for me.

The section continued to talk about how to explain to family members and friends about what you can see, how well you can see, and how it can impact your life. This caused me to have strong emotions.  One thing that bothers me is some of my family refuses to learn and understand how bad my vision is.  Sometimes I wish I could give them a mock situation of what my vision is like. One thing that I learned from my best friend is. At the end of the day, they get to have their sight back. I do not. Having a visual impairment is challenging, but it is manageable when you have the right tools in place to succeed. I wear glasses, and I have had independent living training, and this has helped me feel confident. Despite this some of  my family still refuses to understand. I believe in trying and not giving up. One thing the course recommended, that I am already doing, is to exchange goods for rides. When my friend takes me out shopping, I usually buy her lunch. The course has taught me other things about being fair and having a “transportation tool kit”

The third section was on how to deal with community interactions. This section helped me in many ways. It taught me how to have a basic statement so others can understand my visual impairment and what I can see. It also explained about how to talk about accommodations. Like being sure the driver knows to come to the door when they arrive.  Sitting close by the driver helps me feel at ease. I like to look out the window when I am traveling. I feel better when I can see where I am going.

The next section was on relocating, and once again I felt strong feelings. Personally, relocating is something I can not do right now. However, I can see the advantages of being close by things such as shops, a pet grooming salon, and gas stations etc. Maybe one day this will be an option for me.  Another thing that was covered was reasonable adjustments. For me this means online shopping. 😊 It helped reinforce the fact that online, catalog, and TV shopping can be helpful. The more independent I can be the better.

The next section was safety. For me, personally this section talked about a lot of things I already knew. Such as having a backup plan in case your ride forgets you, to carry a separate wallet for your fare money, and carry a cell phone. However, there was two things I had never thought of before. The first thing was to carry a whistle with you. This makes sense in case you need to get someone’s attention. The second thing I learned was to carry a camping chair with you in case you have to sit and wait for a while. The course also talked about having an emergency plan. Have extra cash on you for a cab, extra charging cords, etc.

The last section was on how to plan a budget which you would only use for traveling. I felt like this section was helpful because it offered a simple example of what a budget could look like. Since I have never fully planned out a budget just for travel, I decided to start using one. This section pointed out the highs and lows of not being able to drive, and the importance of having reliable transportation.  I know that once I start living on my own transportation will be costly. The course offered a tip that we should use around 75 percent of our budget on travel.

In the next blog post I will be talking about walking and biking.

 

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.