Plans Change: Informal Pre-Employment Class (independent living skills series 7)

The van was late. I was anxious; and I was starting to snack on my favorite taco chips and Dr. Pepper. Because I was still upset I called an international friend in England. We chatted up a storm until the van came.

The ride to school was uneventful, and I was only 30 minutes late. When I got there, I put my lunch away and walked into the conference room. I was eager to get started with my Orientation and Mobility lesson. Come to find out, my teacher had to cancel my lesson.

Instead of going home, I asked the instructor if it was okay to stay for the pre-employment lesson. Today’s lesson was on resumes. The first type of resume we covered was functional and how we should use quantity and qualitative examples. We looked at a few examples and discussed why they were good examples.

Once that topic was discussed, we went on to a functional disability statement. I must admit I have a disability statement, however it never covered such topics such as: what my vision is like and what I can see, how I can complete tasks in my daily life such as getting around, cooking and using the computer, and allowing the employer to ask any other questions they may have by opening the conversation yourself.

By that time, I brought up the issue of employers not believing that my eye condition is not real or the fact that I am either drunk or on drugs.

My teacher is right when he says you must have thick skin, and sometimes people are just plain ignorant. He is right; when I get those kinds of interviews, just move on. It only takes one “Yes,” out of the hundreds of “No’s” I have received to achieve success.

Accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was our next topic. It is hard for me to believe that someone in human resources would have knowledge about the ADA.  That lead us onto the topic of being able to sell yourself with your assets such as keyboarding skills, how your personal technology works, ect.

The last thing we covered was the format of a chronological resume and some basic interview questions.

On the way home, beneath all the anger I felt about my job seeking journey, I thought about a story that my teacher told about a relative that had come to visit. This relative met one of my teacher’s friends who was blind and he got to learn the impact that my teacher had on this blind friend as a teacher. He gave the man the gift of independence by teaching him. I, myself, want to be as independent as possible. However, first I must figure out what that means to me.

Happy International Day of Peoples with Disabilities

Hi Blog world,

Today, December 3, is International Day of Peoples with Disabilities. According to the United Nations website, their goal is to help people with disabilities stay included in society and to educate the public about people with disabilities. I believe that everyone should have a right to a fair education and should be included in society no matter what their disability is. I also believe that educating the public is a good way to end stigma that sometimes is associated with people with disabilities.

To learn more about this day or the United Nations please visit: http://www.un.org/en/events/disabilitiesday/background.shtml

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

Nystagmus Tag (Nystagmus Awareness Day)

Hi Blog world,

 

Happy Nystagmus Awareness Day also known as Wobbly Wednesday. During the early hours of the morning, I came across Glen’s (Well Eye Never) Nystagmus tag. Click here to watch Glen’s Nystagmus Tag YouTube Video

Since I have Nystagmus myself I decided to do the tag.

  1. Are you the only one in your family to have Nystagmus?

I was the only one who has it by birth called (Congenital), however both my grandmothers have a form of Nystagmus called (Acquired).

2. How has your Nystagmus affected you throughout your life so far?

When I was little my mother noticed that I had problems seeing. She took me to see many eye doctors, who said I had Nystagmus, and that I should be fine doing mainstream schoolwork.  However, like most children with Nystagmus, I struggled with seeing my school books and the board. When it became evident that I was struggling in school my eye doctors said I needed to be registered as a student with a visual impairment.

My mother had to fight for many years to get me registered as a student with a visual impairment. In fifth grade I finally started to receive help from a low vision teacher and my school materials in large print.

Now as an adult, the only thing I can’t do is drive. I am currently looking for employment, however with the support I am receiving I should be able to find employment soon.

  1. What are you registered as – partially sighted, severely sight impaired, blind, etc?

All my medical documents state that I have low vision, however I prefer the term visually impaired.

Here in the United states we have the American’s with Disability Act which helps people with disabilities have access of reasonable accommodations to help with employment. I am receiving help through Division of Blind services and Vocational Rehabilitation. The main mission of these services is to help me find employment, and provide me with low vision devices or other services if I need them.

  1. Do you have any other eye conditions with your Nystagmus?

Yes, I do. I have Night blindness, sensitivity to light, lazy eye, and astigmatism. Click here to read more about my journey with Night Blindness

  1. Do you have any visual aids to help you with your condition?

Yes, I use a long white cane during the evenings, during nighttime, or when I am in a new environment. I have several magnifiers i.e. dome, or bar, I also use a screen reader called ZoomText, where I can change the color of the screen, and the tracker or pointer, this program also reads the text on the screen.

Another program I use is called Kurzweil 3000, which is a program when I can access regular print books; and I also use this program to write articles and other writing tasks. A feature I really like about this program is that I can change the color of the background so my eyes aren’t as tired.

One of my most favorite devices I use is my talking book player, with this I can access books through Bookshare.org or through my talking book library.

 

Lastly, I use the speech and Siri feature on my Iphone.

  1. Do you have any advice for parents of children with Nystagmus?

Yes, get them the help they need early. I struggled with school until I received my large print textbooks and that helped me a lot. Also, keep a positive attitude towards the condition. Finally, don’t forget there are support groups out there to help answer any worries or concerns you may have.

American Nystagmus Network Facebook Page

Nystagmus Network Facebook Page

The Nystagmus Family Foundation Facebook Page

7. Describe your vision in 3 words.

Blurry-I describe it as like looking through a piece of Saran Wrap.

Loss of quality of vision during the day-my vision is best during the morning after I get a goodnight’s sleep, then my quality of vision gets worse during the day.

Tired- different things such as change in the weather, or if I’m stressed or ill can make my eyes tired.

8. What help did you get in school/work?

During grades 5-6,  I received large print textbooks and worksheets. Then in sixth grade my family moved to Florida where my teacher of the visually impaired gave me low vision aids, magnifiers, telescopes etc, instead of my large print text to help me be prepared for college and the world of work.  In college, I received most of my books in digital form, which I either converted myself by using Kurzweil 3000 or the disability resource services. I received extra time on tests.

Since for now I am still looking for employment we are not sure which devices I may need, however I know that I will need ZoomText to access the computer.

I hope you enjoyed this tag.

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

How has 2017 been….June

Hi Blog world,

Another month has quickly pasted, and instead of complaining about being on Unemployment Island I’ve decided to pick out three positive things that happened!

  1. I got to have lunch with a  group of my friends! We went to an Italian restaurant I had a meatball sub; and it was amazing.  I even got to enjoy a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. (One of my favorites 🙂 )

2. I have the most supportive group of friends in the whole wide world. From here locally to all the way from England to India. They support my writing and what I am trying to achieve.  When we get a chance to chat online we have a blast and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.

3. Lastly, I got to see a live taping of a show called “Inner Voices,” this specific show was about an Indian named Chief  Blue-Eyes and about his culture. The show was very interesting and I learned a lot.

After the taping my supervisor and I went to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate my one year work anniversary.

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

Current event #5-Medicaid and Work

Hi Blog world,

This current event post makes me feel sad. In the article it states that people who receive certain government benefits and who have disabilities can only earn so much and work at the same time.  I know that everyone is different when it comes to working and managing their own lives, however, this article makes me think about what I want for my own future.  I would like to have a full-time job doing writing or something that is writing related. I want to have a good and fulfilling life.  With that being said, another thing that the article said that resonated with me is that having a disability is can be hard, and it take a lot of work to find a good job and to work on meeting your own personal goals.

Here’s the link to the article. If you have time please read it and leave me a comment below of what you thought of it.

Disability Advocates Push Back Against Wage Limits

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

Current Event #1- opinion on health and work related habits

Hi Blog World,

I like this article because it gives you tips to help keep you healthy while you work. One thing I find myself thinking about is if you are unhappy and unhealthy at work, you will not have energy to have a life outside of work. You also will want to do the best you can at work, because it may help you get the best benefits, such as better pay, from work that you can do.  You may also feel happier with setting goals and meeting in both your professional and personal life.

One thing that really stood out to me was, in this article, is if you take public transportation to work its healthier. I understand that walking or riding your bike to work is healthy, but I thought that taking public transportation to and from work, which in some cities depending on where you live, may take shorter or longer to get to work and home, I thought it would cause more health issues just like if you were riding in a car.

One thing that I am guilty of is drinking too much coffee. I started drinking a lot of coffee after I graduated from college.  I felt tired during the day. I do not want this bad habit to follow me when I start working.  I now need to cut back so I can do the best I can when I start working.

https://www.yahoo.com/health/7-work-habits-that-make-you-fat-119977812068.html

Here’s the link to the article. What do you think about this article? Tell me in the comments below.

What did you find helpful in the article? Would you try a few of these tips while at work? Tell me in the comments below.

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene