Happy 2nd Anniversary


Today, I would like to wish a very happy anniversary to someone that has really become an extension of who I am, and has helped me through many situations that I would have had to walk through all alone otherwise.  They help understand what is going on- it’s a relationship unlike any other.

We met about a week after my freshman orientation at college.  We were introduced by my case manager from the Department of Blind and Visually Impaired, who had been telling me for weeks that I really should meet them, since they would help me so much in college.  I was reluctant at first, wondering what other students would think of me if we were seen together.  Would they think I was totally blind?  Would my friends think I lost my mind?  And would we look strange walking around together in public?  I then remembered that I had fallen down a flight of stairs at orientation, twice.  I shouldn’t care what people think of me.

I’m not sure how I would have gotten through my freshman year of college without them.  They were there to make sure I didn’t fall down the stairs as spectacularly as I had before.  They helped me get to class, the post office, the dining hall, to my dorm building, and so many other places.  It didn’t matter the time of day or night- if I needed them, they were there.  We also got to go explore other cities, taking trips to Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, and more.

My sophomore year, they inspired me to create a blog about my experiences with low vision and chronic illness.  I realized that I had so much to share, and I had always wanted to be a writer.  They appeared in many of my blog posts, even in my profile pictures.  I wanted to show others that our relationship was nothing to be ashamed of, even if others would point at us and stare sometimes.  This blog eventually went beyond what I imagined, allowing me to share my thoughts on life and managing my conditions.  I’ve also gotten to talk about my experiences with public schools, college, virtual education, and everything in between.  I’ve become a contributor for different websites, met Joe Biden, and even had an article written about me by the organization that inspired me to study assistive technology.  They have been with me through all of these things and more.

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since we first met, and I can’t even begin to imagine what would have happened if we had never met.  Well, I can sort of imagine- I would have probably embarrassed myself a lot more frequently in public.  We have walked many miles together, and I know I can always count on them to be by my side in the future.  To anyone who is scared of having someone like this in their life, I say that they should take a chance, as something truly amazing could happen.  I know I never saw myself with someone like this before, and I can’t believe I ever thought that way.  I can’t go anywhere now without thinking of how much they have helped me.

So, happy second anniversary to my blindness cane, the tool that has saved me from so many obstacles and helps me see the world around me.  I will always be grateful that we met.

Answering Stranger’s Questions- College Edition

As college decision day approaches, prospective students and their families have been touring my college, trying to decide what school will be the best fit for them. Often times, college is the first time people are exposed to a large, diverse population, and it can seem overwhelming. Naturally, people are inquisitive and like to ask questions, sometimes not thinking about how to phrase them.

Because of all of the visitors on campus, I have been using my blindness cane more often for identification purposes, so I am less likely to be hit by a car. With low vision, it can be difficult to navigate campus when there are so many visitors driving around. As I have been walking on campus, I have had many families approach me or loudly talk about me using a blindness cane, sometimes in a very rude way. It can be difficult to answer these questions, especially when they have negative or offensive tones, but education is one of the best ways to combat ignorance. Here are some of the questions I have been asked over the last two weeks by visitors, and how I answered them. I have been requested to add a trigger warning for what may be considered ableist slurs/language and offensive terms.

Whoah! Are you totally blind?

No, I have low vision and poor peripheral vision, meaning I have trouble seeing what’s around me. I use my blindness cane to help me analyze my environment and as a cue to other people that I can’t see very well.

Can you see me?

For some reason, I often hear this when people are standing right in front of me.  I usually respond with “sort of” or “yes.”  If it is someone who is convinced I can’t see anything, I usually find some feature that I can mention to them, for example a blue shirt or green backpack.

Look kids, a blind girl!

I was walking with a friend when someone yelled that in our direction. We didn’t want to yell back that I had some vision, because that would waste time. Instead, my friend yelled back”check it out, a sighted person!”

What’s with the sunglasses inside?

I wear tinted glasses to help with light sensitivity and glare. No, they aren’t transition lenses, they always are this color. And yes, I guess I do wear sunglasses at night, like the song.

What’s your major?  Oh, that’s not a real major

I’m studying assistive technology and software engineering, which is a fairly uncommon major but there are many different careers available, so I will not have an issue finding a job after graduation.  I have learned to give an example of what I will do after college, so when I say my major, I add that I am “studying to create tools for people with disabilities.”  Often times, people then think my major is really cool!

How come she can see but uses a cane?

Another friend was asked this by an employee while we were at a restaurant. My friend explained I have some sight, but still rely on the cane frequently. A different friend responded by saying “she runs into less walls this way” or “it’s easier to figure out where she is based on the taps of the cane.”

You’re too pretty to be blind!

While I’m not blind, I have low vision, my favorite response to this statement is “apparently not!”

You’re too young to not be able to see!

See above- apparently not!

Why do you disableds think you can just parade around campus?

This was said to me earlier this afternoon, and I just wanted to shove my post “You Belong” in their face. People with disabilities fought very hard to be able to attend college, and we deserve to be here, just like everyone else.

I didn’t know blind people could go to college!

I’ve answered this a couple of ways. For people that seem pleasantly surprised, I say that there are laws that make this possible, and I am grateful for the opportunity. When someone seems surprised in general, I just say “here I am!” And when someone seems greatly upset that someone with low vision can attend college, I just smile and move as quickly as I can from the situation.

You’re taking education away from someone who can see!

I got into this college not because of what I have, but who I am as a student. It had nothing to do with my low vision- my essay to admissions wasn’t even about my eyesight, it was about volunteer work. I’m not here because I can’t see.

Hey, can you give us directions to…oh nevermind

I’ve had several people approach me for directions, look at the cane, and quickly try to move away. I actually know this campus extremely well, and would be happy to help you find your way to wherever you need to go!

How bad is your eyesight?

I used to explain a lot more, but now I just say “it could be worse, but it’s still not great.” This question doesn’t really bother me, as often it is how people start conversation when they first meet someone with low vision, but it still can be an interesting question to answer.

I hope these answers help you when dealing with questions of strangers. Feel free to add more questions/answers in the comments below!

How To Approach Someone with Low Vision

While walking back from class one foggy night, someone recognized me and wanted to get my attention. In order to do this, they put their hand on my shoulder while standing behind me and started mumbling. Naturally, I screamed in their face and hit them, because I had no idea who they were, something they later got very offended over because they insisted I should have been able to see them. Following that experience, I have developed this guide on how to approach someone with low vision or blindness without terrifying them. I’ve written this post for people who may have a new friend with low vision or are not familiar with low vision in general.

State your name and where you are

When people approach me, they often say “hi Veronica, this is insert name here, I’m on your left.” That way, I know who it is and to turn and face them. For close friends or people who I am walking out to meet, they often just say what direction they are in and how far away they are- for example, when walking out to meet my friend who is right outside my door, she would say “three feet to the left!”

Use verbal cues

Many new friends have been upset that I didn’t notice them waving to me when I walked by. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but I couldn’t see them. Verbal cues are much more effective, as it lets someone know to look for you. Never use flashing lights to alert the person to your presence, as sensitivity to flashing lights is very common for people with low vision.

Do not touch

Especially if they are a new friend, do not touch or attempt to interfere with a person’s movement or blindness cane. Grabbing them from behind is another bad idea, as they barely have eyes on the front of their head, let alone eyes on the back of their head. Try to keep yourself in their line of sight.

When delivering something

If you have to deliver an item to a person with low vision, have them meet you at a predetermined area- I usually meet them at the Starbucks which is in close proximity to my apartment. Don’t have them approach a car, as they may fear getting hit or have difficulty navigating a parking lot or busy street. Clearly identify your name and your affiliation, and say their name as well so that they know you are talking to them. Walk over to them as opposed to having them walk over to you. Also, alert them when you are handing them something, because otherwise the item might fall on the ground.

If they are using a guide

Talk to the person with low vision, not their guide, and make eye contact. The guide may describe you to the person with low vision, or act defensive if they do not recognize you. Again, identifying yourself is key. If their guide is not human (for example, a guide dog), do not attempt to distract the guide dog or ask to pet it. To learn more about how to be a human guide, click here.

All of this information may seem overwhelming at first, but it can be summarized with this sentence- no one likes a sneak attack. Also, once you have the person’s attention, there is no need to continue talking loudly, as they can probably hear you just fine.

Staying Warm With a Blindness Cane

A couple inches of snow arrived on my college campus this morning. Since learning to use a blindness cane, I have absolutely hated the snow, and six inches of snow once kept me trapped in my dorm room for two days because I had no idea how to navigate or stay warm while using a metal pole to guide me around. Here are some tips I have gathered on staying warm while using a blindness cane.

Veronica smiling in the snow and wearing all of her warm winter clothes.
Walking back from the dining hall. Shoutout to my awesome friend Sarah for taking this picture

The blindness cane

When there is snow outside, I use my marshmallow tip cane like I do everyday; however, a few of my friends have found great success with using a snow cane, which reminds me of the shape of a hockey stick. Because I’m staying on pavement, I don’t have much of a need for a special snow cane, instead I just need the feedback from my normal cane.

I walk  slowly using my blindness cane in the snow, using a wider range of motion than I normally do, and I always have a human guide with me even if conditions do not appear to be icy, like this morning.  When walking in the snow, my cane leaves a trail in the shape of the letter S, which some people mistake for snake tracks.

Also, no matter what, do NOT let anyone try and lick your cane. Sounds strange, but I had someone ask me that while I was walking this morning, and I had no idea how to respond other than confusion.

Fingerless glove

Not fingerless gloves, fingerless glove. I wear a normal winter glove on one hand and a fingerless one on the other. I got a couple packages of fingerless gloves at Target for about $3 each and they have been amazing. The material keeps my palm warm, but I can still easily feel the feedback from my cane and detect ice and other hazards. My fingers do go numb if I am outside for long periods of time, but I found this solution great for navigating to class.

Knit hat

My neck is very sensitive to cold, and while my coat does a great job at covering a lot of my neck, it doesn’t help if my hair is blowing everywhere. This beanie from Amazon is fantastic and I love the lighter color as well as the fact it covers my ears completely.

Longer length coat

Coats that are longer in length with lots of padding do wonders for staying warm. The slim fit helps to keep body heat in and I also like that cold wind doesn’t blow on my lower back. Since I tend to hunch over a bit while walking on ice, this is very helpful!

Sunglasses

The sun can reflect off of snow easily making it a bright white color. Since bright white can cause so much glare, I like to wear my sunglasses so that way my eyes don’t hurt. I do not have any difficulty walking when it is cloudy or nighttime while wearing sunglasses, however it is difficult when lots of snow is falling. My sunglasses are in my pocket for this picture because I had to troubleshoot my camera (I can’t see backlit displays in super dark sunglasses) and forgot to put them back on…fail.

Base layer

They can’t be seen in this picture, but I am wearing a thermal shirt and fleece lined leggings underneath my clothes. It keeps me warm indoors and keeps the wind from hitting my legs too much. I got the thermal shirt from Target and the fleece lined leggings from Amazon.

Boots with traction

Like I mentioned in my post about walking in the rain, it is critical to have shoes that have solid traction. I have a couple different boots I wear in the snow, but for walking to the dining hall and back, this pair works perfectly. My calves are protected from the cold and from me hitting myself with my cane, and I don’t have to worry about slipping on ice.

 
Even though I can stay warm, I still try not to leave my dorm when there is snow on the ground because there is such a high fall risk. As I’ve mentioned before, I slid on ice walking to class one day (prior to class being cancelled) and I’ve fallen into snow piles quite often. The best option for people with low vision is to just stay inside when there is lots of ice, attend classes remotely, and have food delivered.   Walking in a winter wonderland when you have low vision can be terrifying, but the key is to stay warm and walk carefully!

How Do People With Low Vision…Walk in the Rain?

Last year, my friend and I were getting ready to walk back to our dorms after public speaking class. I looked down at my phone and saw that there was a 10% chance of rain, and alerted my friend before we began our walk back. Turns out, my phone had cut off a zero, there was actually a 100% chance of rain, and it would be a downpour. By the time I got back to my dorm, I was completely soaked. One of my friends video called me when I got back into my dorm, and asked me if I had put on clothes straight out of the washing machine or taken a shower while still wearing my clothes.
At the time, I was new to the college environment and had just recently started using a blindness cane full time. I had trouble using an umbrella because I would sometimes involuntarily lower it and start tapping it like a cane while I held my blindness cane in the air (a puzzling sight to behold). Instead of sitting in my dorm all day, here are ways that I handle rainy days.

Roller tip cane

At the time of the first downpour, I had been using a pencil tip cane that didn’t give me very good feedback. It was always a surprise when I stepped in a puddle. Now that I have a roller tip cane, also known as a marshmallow tip, I am able to detect puddles more quickly. In rainy weather, I keep my cane directly in front of me and use a smaller range of motion than normal.

Carrying your own umbrella

When I first started using a cane, I would hold an umbrella in the hand I normally would use my cane for. As a result, I would involuntarily tap my umbrella on the ground and hold my cane in the air. Since then, I developed a way to balance my umbrella without actively holding it. I put my backpack on and then put the umbrella holder either inside a pocket in the backpack or I put it between the shoulder strap and my shoulder, like shown below.

Umbrella tucked in backpack strap
Umbrella in backpack strap
Umbrella inside backpack pocket
Umbrella inside backpack- this is inside the second laptop compartment.

Shoes with traction

Ideally, wear rain boots that have traction so that you can feel the different textures on the ground and avoid slipping. Do NOT wear Crocs or similar shoes that are waterproof but have no traction on the bottom. Also, make sure the bottoms of your shoes can dry easily, as you can still slip and fall indoors if your shoes are wet.

Ask a friend for help

When I’m walking with a friend, I walk under their umbrella and ask them to be a human guide, so I can avoid hitting them multiple times with my cane. I just grab onto their arm and walk slightly behind them so they can alert me to giant puddles or other hazards ahead.

Wearable umbrella

One of my friends with low vision bought an umbrella hat so they don’t have to worry about balancing anything and can just focus on their cane. I thought this was a really creative idea and while I am yet to try it, mostly because of the constantly windy weather on campus, I am including it because it seems to work really well for them.

Leave extra time for destinations

For me, I usually allow an extra five minutes to get somewhere if it’s raining. Since I walk slower than normal because of the reduced motion of my cane and the rain/fog on my glasses, it will take me longer to get places.  I let teachers know about this on the first day of class and send an email right before I leave my dorm.

Find alternative transportation

One time, I was set to give a student a tour of campus when suddenly, it started pouring rain. Trying to think fast, I used the school campus shuttle to show them around, since all of the classrooms on campus are within a short walk of the bus stops. This wound up working very well, and I’ve used the school transportation when I have to walk halfway across campus in pouring rain.

In case of lightning

This may seem very obvious, but one time I ran out with my blindness cane in a lightning storm. Despite having routinely terrible luck, I somehow wasn’t injured. If there is a forecast for lightning, arrange for a human guide or ask to have class remotely. I keep food in my dorm room for cases like this, but if for some reason you are without food, inquire about getting it delivered. DO NOT GO OUTSIDE WITH A CANE WHEN THERE IS LIGHTNING. If you are outside and see lightning, run into the nearest building and call campus security immediately for an escort.

Flash floods

These aren’t much of a problem at my school, but back in high school, my friend and I wound up watching a parking lot flood before we had to try and get in their truck.  It may seem tempting to run, but don’t!  Instead, walk slowly and use your cane to determine the depth of the water and how wide the area is.  Use a human guide and ask them to help you get to safety.  If it begins to get difficult, move over to the nearest building or shelter and call campus security.  I would recommend carrying a few paper towels with you in case you wind up in this situation, as wet canes can be very frustrating to work with.

If you are stuck

If you have slipped in a puddle or the rain is coming down so hard you can’t see, call campus security and let them know you are a student with low vision/blindness and are unable to get to your destination, and that you are injured or in danger of being injured. They will send down a police car to escort you to your apartment safely. In cases like this, I usually call my professor and let them know the situation, and attend class remotely over FaceTime or by phone.
If you are ever in doubt over whether it is safe to walk outside with a cane, call the campus safety office or campus security. While they can’t tell you directly whether to skip class or not, they can let you know if it is better to use alternate methods to get to class. Talking to your professor is also helpful, as they can tell you if it is mandatory you come to class or if you won’t be missing much. Just remember, your safety is more important than any grade.

How To Navigate Campus

For my first day living at my college, the dining hall next to my building was closed so I had to walk halfway across campus. On my way there, I followed a group of students, but by the time I was ready to leave, no one else was going to my dorm, so I had to walk alone. I thought I knew where I was going, but thirty minutes later, I found myself a mile from my dorm with no idea where I was, how I got there, and when (or if) I would be able to find my dorm again.
My school offers 24/7 police escorts for students that feel unsafe walking alone, are injured, are disabled, that are lost with no idea how to get back to their dorm, or some combination of the above. Since I was in the middle of nowhere, I called Campus Security and gave them my name, a vague idea of where I was located, as well as a description of myself. About twenty minutes later, a kind policewoman found me after tracking my cell phone (similar to a 911 call) and drove me back to my dorm in her police car. While it was interesting to step out of a police car in front of all my new neighbors and get escorted to my dorm room, I was incredibly grateful to be in a familiar area.  Since that experience, I have still needed police escorts, but they have been few and far between. Here are some of the tools I use to avoid getting hopelessly lost.

Input addresses

Make sure to have important addresses available and easy to access, programmed as contacts in your phone and listed on a document saved to all your devices. My college has a list on the Environmental Health and Safety webpage of all of the buildings on campus with their corresponding addresses. I also recommend inputting addresses of buildings in the vicinity of your destination in case there is an issue with the GPS and it can’t locate your building.  I wrote out the addresses I keep record of here.

GPS Tracking

Most smart phones have the capability to pinpoint a user’s exact location and share it with others via a text message. By going into “attach media,” I can send my GPS coordinates to any of my contacts, and they can get directions to the location where I am, and wonder how I got there. This worked great when a group of my sighted friends got lost at the mall, and we were all able to meet up again. Location services must be enabled for this to work.

 

Google Maps

There’s a joke at my college that the first time you visit, you drive in circles for an hour because the GPS isn’t helpful. My mom and I experienced this when trying to find the student center for a meeting. Our GPS decided we needed to experience the great outdoors, and took us to a forest outside of campus instead. Even I knew we weren’t in the right place, and that is saying something.
While it isn’t the best app for navigating campus while in a car, the Google Maps software built into Android phones has often helped me. It seems to work best for campuses with older buildings, as the GPS may not recognize newer buildings, or will lead you into the middle of a construction site (been there, done that).

O&M Instruction

Anyone with a case file with the state Department of Blind and Visually Impaired can request an Orientation and Mobility (O&M) instructor. You should contact the office as far in advance as possible, to schedule the session for once you arrive on campus, and preferably before the start of classes. Do not be surprised if your first session is short, especially if there are many other students in need of these services. You can request more sessions. The instructor will walk you around campus and to your classes, so you will know where you are going. A typical O&M student uses a blindness cane, though it isn’t required to receive these services.

Fitbit

Some Fitbits have GPS tracking built-in, other models use the function MobileRun within the Fitbit app. I found that this is a great way to track how I get to class, or to figure out how I got somewhere and retrace my steps. The app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows, but requires a Fitbit. I own the Fitbit Alta and find it works great for my needs.

Navigating off-campus

My school has an extensive bus system that takes students to several locations, including major areas of campus, satellite campus, shopping destinations, and more.  Learn more about how I navigate the bus system here.

If all else fails…

Have the phone number for campus police so that they will be able to give you an escort back to your dorm building (this is where having your dorm address comes in handy!). Make sure to tell the dispatcher that you are visually impaired and require additional assistance. Don’t feel embarrassed asking for help, as even people with perfect vision can get horribly lost. I was told that it’s easier to give me an escort than it is to have to track me down when my friends report me missing. Besides, if it wasn’t for the police back on my first day, I would still be wandering around on the outskirts of campus, trying to find my dorm.

How Do People With Low Vision…Use Human Guides?

One time, on a day trip with a couple that I am good friends with, I kept running into stuff constantly, even with my blindness cane to help me. There were so many obstacles on either side of me that it was hard for me to process it all. To help me figure out what was around me, I grabbed my friend’s hand, and she continued to hold on to her fiancee’s hand. As a result, we were walking down the street, all three of us holding hands. While going down stairs and walking into rooms was slightly challenging, and I’m sure we got lots of stares from onlookers, I started running into things less and was able to understand what was around me.
Human guides, or as I affectionately call them, my eyes, are extremely important when it comes to living with low vision. Even though my cane can give me a lot of feedback, sometimes it doesn’t alert me to things until it’s too late. My friends are trained to help alert me to my surroundings and what’s in front of me, and while nobody is perfect, I like to think my friends are pretty darn close. Here are some tips on being a helpful human guide for someone who has low vision.
1. Don’t say things like here, this way, right there, etc. I like to compare it to someone asking where I am and me saying I’m in Virginia. That could mean anything, as it’s a very large area. Likewise, when you tell someone who can’t see that something is “over there,” it’s not very helpful when you can’t see where “there” is.

2. Don’t say “follow the sound of my voice!” I am not a bat, I do not have echolocation, and when someone says that in a crowded room, it’s hard to figure out where they are going.

3. Do allow them to grab onto your hand or arm if needed. I hold hands with my friends all the time. On a trip to the Smithsonian and Madame Tussaud’s, I held hands with one of my best friends practically the whole time as she helped guide me around and describe to me not only the hazards around me, but the cool things as well.

4. Remember the five most important obstacles. These are walls, curbs, potholes, doors, and stairs. Alert someone to these as you approach them, and when possible, move away from them.

5. Remember how important you are. You are acting as another person’s eyes, so make sure not to hurt them or take advantage of this. Remember how much they trust you in order to let them guide you. Having a seeing-eye friend is one of the best types of friends to have when living with low vision, and I am always grateful that I have my own.

 

How do people with low vision,..

My Blindness Cane

It’s the ultimate statement accessory. No matter what you wear with it, it’s always the first thing people notice. You can’t leave the house without at least someone making a comment on it. And when you don’t have it, people will ask why.
The accessory I’m talking about today is not some necklace, a pair of shoes, or even a pair of glasses. It’s a blindness cane, or white cane. I started using one regularly when I started college. I resisted it, because I wanted to pretend my vision wasn’t actually getting worse, but after I became known as the girl who fell down the stairs, twice, during freshman orientation, I realized that I needed it more than I thought I didn’t. In the year and a half I’ve used it, I’ve gotten so many bizarre comments, assumptions, and questions from people around me. Quite simply, people don’t know a lot about canes.
One time, an employee at a bagel place I went to with my friend pulled her aside and asked why I could see when I had a blindness cane, and started asking how well I could see. She explained that I had low vision, and while I could see a little bit, it still wasn’t great. I found out about this after we left and while I appreciate how my friend handled it, I was a bit surprised at the employee’s assumptions. Not everyone has to be totally blind to use a cane, and many members of the low vision community use canes to get around. A low vision doctor once told me that you can see 20/20 on the eye chart, but still be legally blind and need a cane to get around, and that’s okay. One does not have to see, or rather not see, a certain percentage to get a blindness cane. If they need it, they need it.
I have other well-meaning people tell me about their friends or family members with low vision or blindness who get around without canes perfectly fine. That’s amazing, and I am always so impressed when I meet people who can do that. Sadly, I can’t tell the difference between flat ground and stairs, so the cane really isn’t something I can go without. Every person with blindness or low vision is different, and it hurts when people start questioning how well someone can see. Another thing that is equally annoying is when random people approach me and start doing a makeshift eye test to see how well I can see. When you look like society’s view of normal, suddenly it’s hard to believe that you could be wearing such thick glasses and everyone turns into an eye doctor, trying to diagnose what’s wrong with you and if you really need that cane. And while it is well-meaning, I don’t like hearing that I’m too pretty to have to use a blindness cane either.
My best way of fighting the stigma of using a cane is to answer anyone’s questions or concerns about me using one in the most polite, appropriate way I can at the time, even though that may be difficult sometimes. Humor really helps, especially when the questions get crazy. Some odd things my cane has been mistaken for include a selfie stick, a lighter, a sword, a knife, a golf club, and a pair of mallets when it was folded up. My typical reaction is to smile and explain it’s a blindness cane and not whatever object they thought it was. When little kids ask me why or how I use my cane, I tell them I don’t see the world like they do, and for especially curious ones, I have them grab down on the bottom segment of my cane and I move it around to show them how I feel different vibrations. And for the strangers on the metro who ask if I can see them, I just say I have low vision.
While there are some days I wish I didn’t need it, I am glad I have my cane. When I first started using it and ran into former friends who told me I was exaggerating about my vision being so bad, I considered trying to go without it. But then when my cane alerted me to a pothole ahead of me, I realized how helpful it is and how much I need it. I can’t imagine going anywhere without my cane, except maybe face first on the ground or into a wall because I didn’t notice something. My cane has helped me see more of the world than I ever imagined, and for that, I am grateful. So although it is a statement accessory that says I have low vision, I try to rock it the best I can. After all, I am not my disability or my assistive technology- I am a person who just happens to have a disability and uses assistive technology.

My Blindness Cane