BAM! Blindness Awareness Month is coming to a close, and we have a hot topic to discuss.  

Joy and I used to think we were the only ones who tried to keep our vision loss a secret growing up and even into adulthood.  Then we started this blog, and we heard from so many people with similar stories of trying to hide the fact that they couldn’t see.  And then we read Not Fade Away and Now I See You, and discovered still more stories of cover-ups, secrecy, and shame over vision loss.  

While it was comforting to learn that we were not alone in choosing to hide our vision loss, it also made us wonder…How many people have tried to hide their low vision at some point in their lives? And why?

Just to be clear, we’re not condoning hiding vision loss, nor are we condemning it.  We’re exploring the reasons behind it.   Continue reading

Hi there!  Joy is finally letting me, Roja the guide dog, speak for myself!  Joy brought me to school for the first time last week, twice!  Last Thursday, I showed off my skills in Mrs. Cardiff’s class at Nicholson Elementary in Montgomery, IL, and I’d like to give a special shout-out to those 3rd graders because they were awesome!  Every time Joy asked a question, those kids’ hands went up, and after they answered, Joy let them pet me!  And some of them even got to feed me a treat!  I sat there with my harness on, acting all calm and chill, but inside I was like “WOO HOO!  SCHOOL ROCKS! I LOVE KIDS AND TREATS AND DROOLING!!!”  Don’t worry, though, I totally played cool, and besides a bit of drool, I’m pretty sure I convinced those kids that I’m the most gentle, obedient dog ever!

Then the next day, I got to go to my very own family member, Lucy’s, 4th grade class in Naperville, IL.  Her teacher, Mrs. Fawell, was so nice, and the kids huddled around me, asking all sorts of interesting questions about me.  I just got to sit and enjoy the attention, as shown in the picture below.  Joy did most of the talking…boy can she yap…blah blah blah blah blah…but I got to show off my guide dog work when the kids made an aisle for me to guide Joy down, complete with a chair obstacle and all!  I’m not trying to brag, but I was pretty much the bomb-diggity guide dog of the year, and those kids loved me!  They stared at me and petted me and applauded for me.  But don’t worry — again, I played the cool card and didn’t get all crazy, even when Joy took off my harness and played tug with me.  I did wag my tail, but that was only because I wanted all the kids to know I was happy to meet them!  Thanks, children!  I can’t wait for my next adventure!
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BAM! If there’s one thing Joy and I LOVE to do, it’s LAUGH.  Sometimes we need reminders not to take ourselves too seriously, and that’s why we love this post by Lori Linna! 

Wow, what an honor it is to be invited to post here in Doublevisionblog. My name is Lori Linna, I live in Wisconsin with my husband, two children and a crazy dog. The following is very similar to a post I did elsewhere and was asked to share it in honor of Blindness Awareness Month.  For the record, I have RP as well as a hearing loss.

Stand-up comedian Jeff Foxworthy is known for his redneck jokes. One of my favorites goes something like this, “If your lawn furniture is also your living room furniture, you might be a redneck. “

It occurred to me a similar comedy routine could be used for those of us who have poor eyesight. While being blind is not funny, some of the situations we find ourselves in are easier to tolerate if we can find some humor in them. For the purpose of today’s post, I will use the term ‘low vision’ in place of the word redneck.

Envision yours truly holding a white cane and wearing dark sunglasses while standing up on a small stage with a microphone. I may or may not be facing the audience but that’s fine, just play along, okay? Continue reading

BAM! I enjoyed talking to local radio host Clint Strand about Blindness Awareness Month on KOHO Radio today. I was quite nervous about sharing my story with my local community.

After it aired, I received the best text from my friend Rebecca. “You sound great and assertive and approachable and kinda sexy.” The sexy part was likely due to a scratchy throat, but it made me laugh and I appreciated the encouragement!

If you missed the interview on the radio today, here it is! LISTEN TO JENELLE’S INTERVIEW

BAM! Not only is October Blindness Awareness Month, but it is also Disability Awareness Month.  Below is a post written by Susan, author of Adventures in Low Vision, who kindly agreed to let us share this brilliant post on our blog this month.  

I was playing with my cat as a kid still in single digits on the kitchen floor. Twenty minutes passed. He decided he wanted to play elsewhere. The orange tabby was not quite fast enough. I scooped him up, looked at his face and called him a silly bastard.

Mom heard me. She was quick to admonish me by asking, “Do you know what that means?” I bet my ears turned red. My embarrassment grew when, as parents do, she gave the word’s definition. I stopped calling the cat a bastard.

Words have meaning. Handicapped. Crippled. The R word. Blind. Visually impaired. A person with a disability. Where do words and phrases like these come from?  Check out the etymology of handicapped and see if you still want to refer to people with disabilities as handicapped. Continue reading

If you read Jen’s guest post yesterday, “Should I Tell My Workplace I’m Losing My Eyesight?,”  then you are probably curious HOW she did it.  Here’s her story!  

Here is a play by play of how my ‘coming out’ went. At my current school, with my current boss, I started missing handshakes, people handing me things, I couldn’t keep up with looking at kid’s data in small print….and I couldn’t come up with any more excuses as to why my dad was driving me to work at age 30! Continue reading

I’m so excited to introduce you to our friend, Jen.  She has been reading our blog for awhile now, and we’ve been chatting about our lives as young moms with RP for a couple years.  We are also part of the same online community of visually impaired women on Facebook, called Room With a View, and Jen is always posting the most thought-provoking questions, like the one she shares here today. It’s one I wish I’d read back when I was teaching and constantly afraid I’d lose my job because of my vision.  I know Jen’s post will be an encouragement for many out there in the workplace!   Continue reading