Naples Florida Weekly
A little over four years ago, Bob lost his wife of more than 30 years to diabetes. Naturally, he felt depressed and isolated. His situation was even more difficult as he is totally blind and profoundly hearing impaired due to a condition called Usher syndrome. Without a partner at home or family nearby to help him drive, shop, or read mail, Bob was vulnerable. A concerned neighbor urged Bob to go to the Lighthouse for help. Bob enrolled in classes to learn how to access his iPhone, attended support groups, and received orientation and mobility training.
Now, Bob has mastered the use of his iPhone. He can send texts, read emails, schedule calendar appointments, use Uber, and other important tools. He has also developed a close network of friends who are blind or visually impaired, and who help each other navigate difficult times.
Most recently, Bob reached his ultimate orientation and mobility goal of completing a “drop-off lesson.” A drop-off lesson is when a person is dropped off at an unknown location by his mobility instructor and required to find his way home. Bob was dropped off several blocks from his house. To find his house, Bob needed to use the tools, tips, and techniques he had learned. He successfully used the “Where Am I” feature of Siri, his iPhone compass, the orientation of the sun, his mental map of the neighborhood, and landmarks to return home. Bob’s positive attitude, perseverance, and ability to overcome obstacles while living his life as deaf-blind are inspiring to all.