Penny: Okay. Welcome. My name is Dr. Penny Rosenblum. I'm the Director of Research at the American Foundation for the Blind. And I'm glad that you're going to spend the next two hours with me talking about nondriving and low vision driving for teens and people in their early twenties. And on the screen, I have examples of several teens and those in their early twenties traveling. A young man checking in for a flight at the airport. A young woman named Amanda who is getting ready to go down a set of outdoor stairs with her son, and you'll actually hear from Amanda about an experience she had when she was in eighth grade. A gentlemen who's putting gas into the driver's car. And a woman who's got her bioptic telescopic system or BTS on and is a low vision driver.
I want to tell you a little bit about myself. I have low vision and I grew up in suburban New Jersey in a town called Freehold. Our house was the first house in a neighborhood.
When my parents saw that a shopping center was going across the street, a strip mall, rather, they, um, we're a little worried that there'd be lots of cars. Well, all the other kids, when they were about 10 years old or so, started walking to that little strip mall by themselves and I wanted to do the same. And my parents were very overprotective, so they said, no way. Finally I won. And my mother and dad still laugh to this day, well my mom anyway- my dad's passed, that when I got across the street, I turned around and waved. Not that I could see them pressed up against the family room windows, but I knew they were there.
When I was growing up my father owned his own driving school and he literally taught half of the 400 students in my graduating class how to drive. So this was a really hard time for me socially and emotionally.
Now when I went to high school and you had to cross route nine to get there. So if you're a Bruce Springsteen fan and he thinks about highway nine, this is the intersection. And I wanted to be like the cool kids and not ride the activity bus. So I wanted to cross that road. My parents said no way. So I called the New Jersey Commission for the Blind. I didn't know the name Orientation and Mobility Specialist, but said I wanted one of those people who would tell my parents I could cross the street to come to our house. So after an O and M evaluation, and I'm sure my mother got wind of this before the man showed up, uh, I was cleared to have some O and M instruction and eventually he said, okay, you can cross highway nine and I came home one day walking from school rather than taking the activity bus, decided it was too far and rode the bus after that. As my parents would have always said, I was a stubborn child. Now I'm a stubborn adult.
I want to tell you about a book called Finding Wheels and I'm not here to try and sell you that book and no it is not available yet. It will be available through Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, hopefully in the next few months. And when it is available, you will receive an email if you were signed up for this workshop. This book Finding Wheels is going to be the basis of what I'm going to talk about today. It's written for travelers who are in high school or in their early twenties.
So if you happen to be familiar with the original Finding Wheels that Dr. Corn and I published 20 years ago, this book is very different. It's almost a new, it's not really.... It contains five scenarios of travelers and it also has these short snapshots. About 40 of them. They give you a little snapshot into the lives of travelers. We have five guests authored pieces, one about technology by Chris Tabb, one about uh, driver's education by Molly Paisley. Two by folks who talk about low vision driving and one by the mother of a young woman who talks about her daughter's orientation mobility journey.
We also have activities in the book the travelers can do. These activities can be done alone, they can be done with a family member, they can be done with an O and M instructor or a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments. A group of um, travelers can get together and do the activities. So Finding Wheels will be available later in 2020 from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
In the introduction to Finding Wheels, we state that, "Finding Wheels is for those who have either completed orientation and mobility instruction or otherwise have acquired the skills needed as a pedestrian to be a safe traveler. The purpose of Finding Wheels is to improve traveler's skills and to address the social aspects of traveling with a visual impairment." So this is not a book that teaches you how to cross complicated intersections or how to read bus timetables.
We assume that if you are a traveler who is using this book or you are a professional or a family member who's supporting a traveler using this book, that this traveler has orientation and mobility skills down and is looking to expand their knowledge of how to be a traveler in today's very complex society, Pre-Covid19.
I'm going to go through the chapters of Finding Wheels as a way to structure what we're going to talk about today. So the first couple of chapters we talk about getting ready to travel. Then we talk about the different kinds of travel and then we talk about some of the challenges around traveling and budgeting and those types of things.