I was going to school to become a registered nurse when I suddenly lost my vision and found myself starting over, learning how to study in a new way.
When I was at Vision Loss Resources, Kate helped me to adapt to my low visual acuity. We met a few times a week and she helped me establish, in my own mind, what was going on with my eyes. When I looked at something, my brain told me it was something else. Like the time my friend had a purse strapped over her shoulder. To me it looked like a baby in a baby carrier.
Frustration was a daily part of my life. With Kate’s help, I understood where the “disconnect” between my eyes and brain happened. More importantly, she taught me the techniques to deal with it. By showing me how to adjust to the “disconnects,” I had the ability to work things out on my own.
One helpful aspect was the homework, which included daily exercises I could do on my own. I did things like trace the window with my eyes while I was on the bus or I would do a crossword puzzle (which I didn’t understand the point at first but later realized it was another helpful way to help stimulate my eyes). Another homework assignment required me to follow a pen with my eyes. Later on, I was able to do more advanced exercises, such as the one where I matched up a whole deck of cards. Sometimes it took me a long time and I would think inwardly, “Wow, I can’t even do this.” I kept at it and after a while I noticed improvement. The homework definitely strengthened and coordinated my eye muscles, whereas before they jumped all over the place.
I currently take classes at Minnesota Resource Center (MRC). I admit that my first time there I thought, “Oh my gosh, they aren’t blind like I am. They can see.” So I gave myself a pep talk, “Ok, you can do this.” Pep talks are important and something I had learned at Vision Loss Resources.
There was a time when I thought no one really understood me but then I realized that I understand. I understand that it takes me longer to do things, and that’s okay. So it may take me longer, but it doesn’t stop me from trying. For example, I would sometimes lose a word in typing class and things would black out. Sometimes there were holes in paragraphs or a missing sentence. I now have the tools to help me move forward.
The most important things I learned at Vision Loss Resources are to work with what I have, ask for help, motivate myself, and get support from others. Most everything I do on my own I learned from Vision Loss Resources. I used to think I was pretty limited, but Vision Loss Resources helped me realize I can still do many things, just in a different way. The key is to be confident in what I can do.
It’s wonderful to know that I started at Minnesota Resource Center last year and will graduate in August. I would not have been as successful at MRC without Vision Loss Resources. No way. Frustrations are still a daily occurrence, but I now have the confidence to work through anything, thanks to Vision Loss Resources.