Friday, October 3, 2008


One of the first things you learn when you live with Stargardt's Disease is how to adapt. As a child growing up, I quickly learned how to act normal. Part of it was because I didn't want to have to explain my condition to everyone I meet.

Often I hear people ask, how can you survive. Well the answer is quite simple, you survive because you have to, you adapt to you "weaknesses" and find ways around the problem For example, I usually can't see signs or people, and so when I go into a restaurant I pay extra attention on "landmarking" my location so if I go to the washroom I can backtrack by myself.

I can't really see the music score for the piano but I am one level away from the teacher's certification for piano. My mom told me what notes and from me listenning to the piece ahead of time I know how the rhythm goes and piece it together bit by bit and memorizing all the music.

Much of the adaptaions rely on paying extra close attention to "details" and memorizing the information and use thatas my "eyes".

But there are also adaptaions that I do solely for the appearance of being "normal" living in everyday society. For example, when at restaurants Ioften I am unable to read the menu but I still open and stare as if I was reading. Or when I am at a fast food place I still stare ateh lighted menu as if I am reading wha'ts on the sheet. If I go to a business meeting I still stare at the screen or a piece of paper even when its too small to read for me.

There will be plenty of things you have to adapt to when you ahve Stargardt's, but the moral of the story is that even if you are visually impaired, you can still do things like everyone else, with a little adaptation and modification, you can appear like a normal sighted person.