David is a man in his fifties who lost all of his vision due to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). David has been regularly attending individual assistive technology lessons here at the Lighthouse for the past fifteen months. He is also a regular member of the Spanish speaking adjustment to blindness support group. Through the years I have had the opportunity to work with people extremely driven to overcome their challenges and succeed in reaching their goals through sheer determination and hard work. David is without doubt one of those people. Not only is David completely blind, he has newly arrived to the United States from Venezuela and speaks little to no English. His largest barrier at this time is not his visual impairment, but his inability to communicate without an interpreter.
With that said, the client’s English skills have vastly improved since he began individual English lessons about three months ago. He has already mastered Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, and file management. He can expertly touch type and navigate the keyboard making it easy for him to quickly navigate a computer using JAWS and Windows keyboard commands.
This past week, with the financial help from his family, the client was able to obtain an iPhone. He has been hearing for months now from his peers at the Lighthouse how the iPhone made it possible for them to regain much of the independence lost since losing their vision. So far, the client received only one iPhone lesson. In that one lesson he learned how to answer and end phone calls, send and receive text messages, join and leave a Zoom Meeting, schedule and check calendar appointments, set timers and alarms, check the local weather, and get his current location. I have no doubt that with regular practice he will master everything he wants to learn in a very short period of time. More importantly, he left the lesson laughing and feeling extremely confident and self-assured that he will overcome all of his obstacles and regain the independence he enjoyed before losing his vision.