Sunday, January 25, 2009

To tell or not to, that is the question

How many of you wondered if you should tell the person you meet that you have Stargardt's or is visually impaired? How do you bring it up without it being awkward. What i've noticed most if after you bring up this topic, most people sometimes become uncertain as to "what they can ask" and afraid of offending me.

Since I've been job hunting lately, I thought I'd talk about the issue of discloing your disability. Truthfully, if I had a choice, I would like to keep it under wraps until I am hired. It hard not being labelled and you can never really know what the person sitting accross from you is going to think.

But for me, I've been really upfront about myvision or lack there of. Most people will have nice response and friendly about it. Although whether or not it hurts your chances of being hired, I would probably say yes still. We live in a prejudice and sterotypical society, so at the end of the day, you have to expect thse people will be. Is there anything we can do about it? well if you ever get the chance then you might be able to "prove" yourself, but otherwise its good luck and learn the art of moving on.

When it comes to social settings, I don't usually mention it unless its necessary. I try to do things on a need to know basis, and if it won't affect my interaction with this person, then I don't see a need for them to know. But I always find it funny how because I look "normal" and at "normal", sometimes even after telling them about my vision problems, they still forget the next time they see me. Afterall, most people think its bad, they just don't realize how bad...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Revolutionary Road-- Making a choice

Its a great movie about a couple wanting morein life but settling because they don't want to take the risks. Too often do people fail to acknoledge the choices they make but rather hide behind excuses. They say " I can't because ...." not "I won't because...", they don't want ot admit that it is their fear and insecurities that led them to their choice, they don't want totake the responsbility of making a conscious choice.

Rarely is there anything you can't do, but when youchoose not to, at least have the guts to admit its a choice out of fear and acept what it is you are giving up. It makes me mad seeing people making excuses for their action, not to say I don't do it myself, but I try to live by this. Accept the decisions and consequences of your decisions, accept the sacrifices you make when you make a choice. Acknowledge your fears, try to overcome it, and if you don't wnat to, don't make excuses saying why you don't.

Please don't say "poor me", because you always have the choice to change your life. There's always a choice, it may not be something you like but there are always alternatives. Don't limit yourself by saying "I have no choice". Take responsibility of your actions, have the power to make your own destiny and future.

Do the best you can, and leave the rest to fate or god or the world.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Relationship with someone that is legally blind

Its never easy having any relationships. And it's even harder to have one when you are legally blind. The person you are with needs to be understanding, because there will be things that you will rely on them for, and there will be things that you cannot do because of your vision.

For example, as much as you can get around in public transportation, chances are you will never be able to drive and the other person would have to be the driver always. Same goes for looking for roads or directions, as good as I am with directions, I am unable to see the road names and it is impossible for me to help especially if its somewhere I've nver been.

Somethings can't be shared because you aren't able to see, like if you're on the road and they see osmething funny, odds are you won't be able to see or know waht they are talking about. There are actions that come naturally to those that can see that they forget or do not realize how hard it can be for those that are legally blind. There may even be times where the sighted person is frustrated because they feel they always have to do certain things.

But no matter what the issue is, don't be afraid to talk about it. Misunderstandings happen when things are left unaddressed. The key to any relationship is open communication, mutual respect and understanding, and love. The same grounds apply for a relationship with a visually impaired individual. Sometimes, you just need to be patient and loving, and the rest will fall into place.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Going to school part 2 - Tips for University

When I went to University. I received much support with reagards to my disability. Aside from the not takers, extended time, enlarged fonts, and counselling support. I also received funding for much of my equipments (laptops, magnifiers, CCTV, and screen reader programs)

Difficulties @ University
Unlike highschool, often university lectures are held in large lecture rooms with the professor talking while referring to a powerpoint presentation. This made it almost impossible for me to see either using a monocular or my own eyes. A few years back while I was in unversity, there wasn't any portable CCTV cameras that we could carry with our laptop, which meant for the most part I was unable to see what the professor was refering to. What did help was reading ahead of time, it would give you a much better sense of what is happenning and give you a way creating mental images in place of the slides.

Depoending on your chosen subject of expertise, there may be a lot of reading involved. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to read through since itmay give you an eye strain. Time management and hard work is required to help discipline yourseld in your studies.

One of the dicfficulties is with socialization. Since I was at a very large and scattered university, problem became that I may meet a person and never see/recognize them again. More often than nothing, you meet a person for the first time and never sees them again. Its also makes it difficult to "sit with your friends: since we can't really walk into a lecture hall and look for people.

Library use/research may also become difficult But you can probably ask the librarians for help in locating items. Although some materials may be in library use only, it may be worth your while to simply photocopy and take it home.

My advice to Unversity life is, try everything and expose yourself to what happens in university, there are clubs of all kind and by getting involved you will have a much better experience both academicly and in your life.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Going to School part 1

Well been off topic a little lately so I thought I'd write more about SD. I went to regular schools throughout my life. Did I struggle? Not really. I would say I've been lucky enough to be blessed with good logic and was taught very good math fundementals at a young age which made my life a whole lot easier. But for the most part my marks were consider above average.

Its not to say I didn't have help. Ever since I was diagonosed with Stargardt's I was assigned a "speical teacher/counsellor" to meet with me every few months and made sure I was doidng ok and any request I had for accomadations were being met to the best of their ability. Although there wasn't much to do, the greatest help I got was having large print math textbooks. That made my life so much easier.

The biggest Challenge...
I think teh biggest challenge for me was reading. IT wasn't that I couldn't read, butit took a long time for me to read. Since I can't see that well, it takes me an extra few milasecond to look at a word and read word by word. Scanning text is almsot impossible for me. That's why I always dreaded reading novels, and to this day I still don't have much patience for reading novels.

It wasn't jsut reading that was troublesome, seeing the chalkboard and notetaking was difficult. My mom even helped me copy my notesandd I had those special paper that wrote two copies at once so when my friend copied notes from the blackboard she was writing for me as well.

Cursive writing, or script has always been a vice to me. Even to this day, it takes an extra effort for me to read. If the person's writing is nto clear, it would take me long time to "deciper" it. And even now, I write in print for ease of reading.

Visaul Aids,
I had quite alot of things to help me. Before the time to computers, and video magnifiers, I had a handheld magnifier, a monocular, a CCTv, speical dark line single paged notebooks, those dual page paper,all of which made my life a whole lot easier. I wrote notes and everythign in black ink pen because it was easier to read. Sometimes I would receive photocopy notes, or even enlarged music score for my instrument music. Although with al lthe aids in the world, the first thing ou need to learn is to have patience since it usally does take longer for us to work on a project or anything.

To Be Continued..

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I used to think tolerancce is a virtue. But more and more I'm beginning to wonder if it just gives people a reason to step all overyou. In this selfish society we live in, tolerance for bad behaviour COULD be the cause of why these behaviour exists. If you let people treat you badly, in a way it is telling them its ok to do so.

I would like to say I have a very high tolerance of bad behaviours because I believed and hoped that people will correct their actions by themselves. But I finally realized how foolish I am to think that.

So my advice to all, don't tolerate crap, in this society, the one who does not speak will be the loser. Just because you CAN tolerate something doesn't mean you SHOULD. But its a fine line between being understanding, and tolerating bad behaviour. No matter what, don't lose respect to yourself, otherwise no one will respect you.