Penny: Chapter Three talks about Tuning Up Your Wheels. So this is really important to us as a traveler with a visual impairment. You need to understand your clinical low vision evaluation report, your functional vision assessment report, your orientation and mobility assessment report. What do these reports say that helps you understand how you use your vision more efficiently, how you travel more efficiently, what tools it's recommended you use?
So we have objectives for Chapter Three that guide the discussion of the content that we cover in this chapter.
And beginning with Chapter three, each chapter starts with reflecting on one of the five scenarios. So Chapter three starts with the reflection on Kendra scenario. Do you remember when Kendra was excited when she learned she met the visual requirements to drive in her state? Think about it. Why do you think it is important for travelers with low vision to understand how they can use their vision during travel? So we hope that travelers will think about, obviously, what the question is. If a traveler's working with a professional, they could have a discussion. A traveler and a family member could have a discussion. A group of travelers together can have a discussion, but the idea with these reflections are to get travelers to take kind of a deep dive into what's going on here and then that information in that reflection ties to what the chapter's talking about.
Now, I probably don't need to really go over with this audience the challenges of low vision from low contrast sensitivity to poor color vision to low acuity, to light sensitivity, central field restrictions, mid and far peripheral field restrictions and poor night vision. If you're a traveler yourself, you're aware of how your vision is impacted by any or all of these items. And if you're a professional, you have that knowledge, but for some family members this may be new information for them. And also giving both travelers and family members the terms and examples is helpful because part of being a strong independent traveler is being able to explain your vision loss to others and how it specifically impacts you. So when you can explain your peripheral field loss, what your missing seeing, items in your periphery, if it's items up above, that is helpful to help other people understand how your vision is impacted. It's also then helpful as a traveler if you can talk about what others can do to help you. So for example, if I have a peripheral loss on my right side, I'm going to ask people to walk on my left side. You know. Or if I can walk to their right side. It's important that you have the skills to be able to advocate for yourself and to tell people what you need when you're a traveler.
Throughout Finding Wheels, I mentioned that there are different activities and we provide a chart in the back of the book that talks about which activities work for which chapters. So for example, in Chapter Two you learned about the different scenarios of the travelers. And one of our um, activities is to write your own scenario. And travelers don't have to write their scenario with a keyboard. They could make rap song, they could do a play, they could put a PowerPoint together, but the idea is that they're developing their own scenario. So we try to give different ways that a traveler may go about doing an activity. Some activities the travelers may want to keep to themselves, others they may want to share with others. So this particular activity is about finding out about your own visual impairment. And so one of the things we encourage travelers to do is to get access to the reports, to review those reports, to write down questions they have about those reports and go over those with a professional. If there's information that they don't understand, you know, check in with the eye care professional, check in with the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments who wrote that functional vision assessment report. But as a traveler, you want to be knowledgeable about your own abilities and your own challenges. So part of what we want travelers to do is to review their reports, reflect on them, dig into things that aren't clear to them, and use that information to start to put together their own explanation of how their vision is impacted and what they need when they're traveling.
A very nice orientation and mobility instructor whose student, Grace, is going to explain her visual impairment. Just so you know, this was the day that we set up for me to do a Zoom meeting with them, and also somebody from voc rehab came that day. So Grace had an audience, um, and God love her, she was a trooper as was her own instructor. So let's hear from Grace.
Grace: I see 2/200, which is like, so if someone is, someone is standing 20 feet away from something, they could see it but or 200 feet away from some something, then I have to be 20 feet in front of it to see it.
O&M Instructor: Exactly. And what else do you have in that eye?
Grace: And I have mystagnus.
O&M Instructor: Nystagmus. And you also have tunnel vision, field restriction. So it's like you're looking through what?
Grace: It's like I'm looking through a straw and then the straw, like the straw is not clear. It's blurry.
O&M Instructor: Okay.
Grace: And then in my right eye I have a prosthetic so I can't see at all in that eye.
O&M Instructor: Do the glasses help you or is it more for protection?
Grace: They help me a little bit. Yes.
O&M Instructor: Okay. So there is a prescription in your glasses?
O&M Instructor: And your glasses tint when you go outside?
Grace: Yes, they do tint.
O&M Instructor: Yes. And, and why is that?
Grace: Because I have um...
O&M Instructor: Well it's not because you have anything, it's just because the glare.
O&M Instructor: The sunlight it's- the bright sunlight, you have photophobia so sunlight is, is difficult. So your glasses transition...
Grace: And some lights inside.
O&M Instructor: Some lights inside. Do these light... Are these lights okay?
O&M Instructor: Okay.
Grace: When I travel at night, I can't see at all. Like I can't see certain lights like the street lights. I can't see those. I can't really see car lights in the day or night.
Penny: You were able to hear Grace, explain about her visual impairment and, and being able to articulate that to others is so important for our students who are travelers.
Another consideration for travelers is their feelings about being a traveler with visual impairment. Now I can tell you I am 55 years old and there are still days that I am pretty unhappy about being a traveler with a visual impairment. I wake up one morning and it's just absolutely gorgeous. And I want to go for a walk in a park about half an hour away from my house. It's one of my favorite places to visit. There's no public transit that gets out there and it's about $23, I think I checked it out one time for an Uber each way, and I'm like, "Is it worth $46 for me to go out there just because I want to go for a walk?" I have a hard time rationalizing that so I never go. And those are days I feel very frustrated about being visually impaired and not being able to drive. Other days, you know, it's just part of who I am and I'm perfectly fine getting on my bike when other people would get in their cars. So we want travelers to think about how they feel about their visual impairment. The same very nice orientation and mobility instructor had another student that was willing to meet with me on Zoom. So let's hear what Kate's feelings are about her visual impairment.
Kate: I'm 16 years old. Um, I'm in band at my school and um, my vision is about 2/200 close-up and 2/600, um, far away with correction and, um, I lost my vision when I was, um, I lost most of my vision when I was 13.
Penny (off camera): Okay. What did you lose it from?
Kate: Um, I, well, when I was like 10, I ran to a bed frame with my right eye and I lost the majority of my vision. Now it's just like perception and um...
O&M Instructor: In that eye.
Kate: In that eye. In my left eye, um, I ran into a microwave door and um, and now I have a 2/600 vision in that eye with correction. And basically my eyes just fell apart because, um, I have congenital glaucoma and it just makes them very fragile.
O&M Instructor: So Kate, I know that we have, um, we've already written a letter to your teachers and to the subs that, um, talk about your vision and give them an idea of what you see and what kind of accommodations you need in the classroom. Right?
O&M Instructor: But as you get older and you start your more independent travel outside of your school, you're going to need to be able to share your feelings and those things that you need with the community and with other travelers and with college professors and all of that. Okay. So this chapter's called my feelings about being a traveler with a visual impairment. And the reason is to understand your feelings about your vision impairment, where you've been, where you are now, and where you plan to go in the future. Okay. And how having a visual impairment is going to affect you as a traveler. I want you to go through, there's, there's these lists and I'll write them down for you. Okay.
O&M Instructor: And um, are you okay?
Kate: Yeah. I'm fine.
O&M Instructor: Okay. Um, and then what we're going to do is talk about and eventually take this and put it into a, um, document.
O&M Instructor: Okay? Um, so think about your travel experience, the experiences that you've had in the last week, month, or even a year. Okay?
O&M Instructor: Um, let's talk about what worked well for you in that.
O&M Instructor: Just you're traveling... Just everyday travel. What works well?
Kate: The cane.
O&M Instructor: Okay. So the cane...
O&M Instructor: What else?
Kate: Sighted guide?
O&M Instructor: Sighted guide.
Kate: That's basically [inaudible].
O&M Instructor: Okay. What was a challenge for you?
Kate: Um, the cane.
O&M Instructor: Okay. Okay. Why was that a challenge?
Kate: Accepting it?
O&M Instructor: Okay. In the last, so let's say in the last, okay. In the last year, your challenge, so for the year your challenge was accepting the cane. Right. Okay. And now that you've accepted this wonderful purple cane that you have, in the last month, what was a challenge for you, like in your travel skills in the last month?
Kate: What did I do this month?
O&M Instructor: Or like you said, you walked to, um, you walked a couple of blocks to Calloway's, um, what to get your mom some flowers?
O&M Instructor: And that was like kinda like a big, um, thing that you did since you've been seeing me. Right? And since you've been using the cane. What was the challenge in that?
Kate: Um, like, uh... Like the actual mobility part?
O&M Instructor: Just in general. Just not... just going from your house to Calloway's and coming back. It doesn't have to be just mobility or, um, or just the cane or it could be that, you know, a challenge was, um, knowing the money or finding the stuff or soliciting, you know, soliciting assistance....
Kate: Um, trying to get, like, find someone to help me?
O&M Instructor: Okay. Alright. So we'll, we'll go with that. That route was the Callaway. So the most challenge was to find someone to help you. Okay? Right. How did, how did you end up doing that?
Kate: I just stood by the cash register.
O&M Instructor: Okay.
O&M Instructor: And then somebody came up to get you or...?
Kate: Someone asked how I was doing. Then I asked them if they could help me.
O&M Instructor: And how did you know they were talking to you?
Kate: Uh, I waited like two seconds until no one responded and I knew they were talking to me.
O&M Instructor: Okay very good! That's really good. Okay. Um, so you had help from, uh, getting help from, um, store personnel. Because what we're going to do is we're going to go through this and where you have challenges is, is kind of going to help us know where we need to go in the next year. Okay? So maybe soliciting assistance, although that was a perfect, um, that's exactly what you need to do when you go to other, um, stores. It may be harder to find the cashier, so we need to... we'll work on that too. Okay?
Penny: Alright. So wanted to give you an opportunity to, um, see parts of, uh, two lessons that an orientation and mobility instructor did.