This week, I had the pleasure of co-presenting at the Spring ADA Paratransit Conference with my friend and fellow blogger Keith Edgerton. I felt instantly at ease alongside this seasoned public speaker as we shared our experiences of using public transportation with visual impairment. Each year a transit authority from one of Washington’s Counties puts on the event. 39 out of 40 counties were represented at this conference held in my hometown of Leavenworth. Talk about a short commute!
Photo Description: Jenelle (left) and Keith (right) standing outside in Leavenworth with the Cascade Mountains in the background.
Keith and I were lucky to have an engaged audience of conference attendees including mobility instructors, city planners, consultants, and bus and paratransit employees and managers. We kept them entertained with stories of what it’s like to be “famous” minus the fame and money. We had many similar experiences of using the symbolic white cane that provides freedom and mobility, and also somehow invites the public to stare, follow, and grab the cane user. But the paparazzi isn’t going to stop active VIPs (visually impaired persons) like us from going out in public, even if we have to maneuver a roundabout. We also dispelled common myths about blindness, and encouraged the audience to join us in educating the public about the realities of blindness. And while we may not appear on the cover of People Magazine, we let this audience know that we’re both living the lives of our dreams.