About Us

This blog is about how the world is viewed by the visual and the visually impaired. The intent of this blog is to bring the two worlds together. It is administered by two fabulous sisters, Toni, who is sighted and Robin, who became visually impaired in 2002 at the age of 18 due to misdiagnosis.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Letting Go...

I must admit I am a bit overprotective of Robin; one reason being because she is my baby sister and the second because of her disability. I think back to the time when I was 18 years old and trying to gain my independence as a young adult, the last thing I wanted was my family being too involved in my life. I wanted to experience life for myself on my own. I often wonder if Robin felt stripped of that experience. Becoming blind at the age of 18 she had to become dependent on her family to help her adjust. Seeing Robin go through such a difficult time it made me want to make things as easy for her as possible. There are a lot of things that Robin can do on her own, but I'm sure there's tons more things that she could do if we let our overprotective guards down. It's very hard to let go. I realized that I may have been enabling Robin when I would pick her up from work. I would always go to the door to meet her instead of letting her walk to the car herself. Last week I picked Robin up from work, my first instinct was to go get her and guide her to the car, but then I decided to let her come to the car herself. I watched her with nervousness as she utilized her cane to find her way to the car...I couldn't help myself so I rolled down the window and said "keep coming, follow my voice. To my surprise she made it to the car without any problems. She said that she had been wanting to guide herself but was nervous that she wouldn't be able to find her way. Was her nervousness created by me being so overprotective and wanting to do everything for her instead of allowing her the chance to try? We learn through our experiences in overcoming trials, tribulations and failures. If not given the opportunity to try something we are doing an individual great disservice. Robin was so happy that she was able to conquer the fear of guiding herself and through me being overprotective I was about to stifle her confidence and growth. Although it's going to be hard, for the good of my sister I am going to have to let go and let her gain her independence. I won't be there to catch her when she falls, but I will definitely be there to pick her up and brush her off and encourage her to try again in whatever it is that life throws her way.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

United We Learn...

As human beings, we live in a diverse world with people from various ethnic backgrounds, religions, abilities, ages, etc. Diversity helps people learn from others by creating awareness about different experiences and perspectives that another may have. Being around others who are different from us enables people to see the views of a situation from another's perception. With this in mind, it is how people choose to incorporate diversity into their lives that really counts. Embracing the unique differences of others can lead to a world of education, prosperity, growth, and acceptance.
It is the Lighthouse International School in New York for the blind and sighted that puts diversity into action. For those of you who may not know, the Lighthouse International School is a nonprofit child development learning center that was established in 1905. The Lighthouse International School child development learning center not only seeks to help blind/visually impaired children through the offering of education, clinical services, and advocacy, but they offer educational experiences to sighted children as well (lighthouse.org).
Out of the fifteen story building that houses the Lighthouse International School child development learning center, the third floor is the place where joint education takes place among preschoolers (lighthouse.org). Both sighted and visually impaired/blind children embrace the differences within one another through empathy. The sighted students offer a lending hand to their peers whenever needed, while the visually impaired/blind students illustrate how learning can occur on all levels. These students do not see one another as being sighted or visually impaired/blind, but instead as human beings who are their friends.
Lighthouse International Schools’ child development learning center for sighted and blind students was featured in People Magazine and on Good Morning America. I believe that Lighthouse International School helps children learn at a young age about acceptance of people from all backgrounds and abilities. I truly believe that there should be more schools like this one because every time I go to the store, I encounter stares, peculiar treatment, and awkward questions by others. The Lighthouse International School has a waiting list every year of sighted individuals trying to get into the school. It is my hope that one day people will take a lesson from the Lighthouse International School children, which is compassion for all.