I believe in success

Justine - Bowling Green, Kentucky
Entered on October 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: disability
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I believe in success

I believe students with disabilities can succeed. I’m a student with a visual impairment so I know first hand the difficulties that are faced in a classroom setting. There are many challenges that students with disabilities have to overcome educationally. Getting through school is very challenging when you are visually impaired. I have a disability but by looking at me you would never know. I look at this as a blessing and a curse.

I have Stargardt’s which is an eye disorder that entails having no central vision, only peripheral vision. The macula is where your central and detail vision is located. I have no macula so therefore I have no central vision. This generative eye disease can’t be fixed with a simple surgery or with a pair of glasses. My vision started to decline when I was very young, sometime around age three. This is unusual with this disorder because most people don’t start to lose their vision until later in life, around the age of 7 or older. My vision steadily declined until it leveled off at 20/200 which is legally blind so therefore I can’t drive a car and have difficulty seeing far away and any detail what so ever. Having no central vision, which is the sight you use to read, makes it impossible for me to read print without great eye fatigue so I learned Braille and receive all my textbooks in an audio format. I’ve discovered not appearing to have a disability is difficult and, in my experiences, tend to cause students to fall through the cracks. I’ve come across teachers and professors who just think if they enlarge the font I can read it, problem solved. Little do they realize it’s more severe then just supplying large print. This is why I’m gong into the field of vision and technology.

I will become a vision teacher who can help students succeed and understand the issues they’ll face. Working in a school system with vision students, I think it will be important for me to educate the educator. If the teacher understands the areas the student is struggling in then I will be better apt to help inform them of techniques that will then help the student get the information in the medium that is best for their learning style. I’m very familiar with the technology because I use it on a daily basis and I know what helped me get through school so I know I will be able to help my students get through the situations I was once in myself.

I believe in success despite the challenges of having a disability. My experiences and knowledge of technology and learning techniques will be the tools that can help students succeed and learn how to advocate for themselves. I know blind and visually impaired students can do anything they set their minds to because I did and I’m on my way to become a great vision instructor.