July is Disability Pride Month | Be Happy in your own Skin

Image shows white text on a cobalt blue background. Text reads
July is disability pride month 

Disability pride is sharing your life and gifts with society even when you are told you don't belong.

I do not usually consider pride to be a good thing to have, but in this case the word “pride” is necessary.

July is Disability Pride Month and it is time that people with disabilities be proud of who they are.

People with disabilities are constantly seen as less of a person just because they are different. Society sees a disability as something to be ashamed of.

I have a disability myself as I am visually impaired.

When I think of being proud of being disabled I do not mean have an arrogant or conceited attitude, because that solves nothing. When I think of pride, i think of coming to a place where you are happy in your own skin.

I think it means stepping out into the world confidently using your white cane.

I think it means going out into the world confidently in your wheelchair or crutches or hearing aids or any other assistive device.

Disability pride is sharing your life and gifts with society even when you are told you don’t belong.

So to everyone with a disability: do not let other people’s comments keep you down. We are here with a purpose and we have unique gifts to contribute to society.

Take pride in your unique life and shine!

I wrote this poem to encourage myself and others not to be ashamed of using a white cane.

I hope that this post will encourage any one that has a disability. Remember you are valuable and wonderfully created by God.

Psalm 139:14 KJV — I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

The Visually Impaired Person Tag

Text reads some faqs and answers on life with low vision. Image below is a photo of me and text to the left reads the visually impaired person tag.

In this post I want to share my answers to the questions in the Visually impaired person tag. You can watch the video below or read on to view my answers. Here is a small glimpse of what life is like when you have low vision.

What medical condition caused you to be blind or visually impaired?

I have Retinopathy of Prematurity. The blood vessels in my eyes did not develop correctly and as a result my retinas had issues. The retina in my right eye completely detached leaving me completely blind in that eye. Doctors managed to save the retina in my left eye and I am thankful to God to have some limited vision in that eye.

  1.  In 3 words, describe your vision? 

Three words that describe my vision are variable, unfocussed and blurry. My ability to see changes depending on lighting. I am unable to see details and things seem out of focus to me. I get blurry vision when I am in very bright lighting especially white lights and very bright sunlight

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3. What is the hardest thing to do being blind or visually impaired?

The hardest thing is dealing with all of the misconceptions that still exist regarding the blind and visually impaired community. I hope to bring awareness and break down those misconceptions. I also find it frustrating when people address the person accompanying a blind or visually impaired person and disregard the other person because they are visually impaired or blind. 

4. What is the best part about being blind or visually impaired?

I would say that it is about being part of a supportive community where people can relate to each other and also living life a little differently. 

5. What question do you get asked most about or because of your vision? 

I get a lot of questions about my glasses because they are very thick.

6. Do you have a cane, a guide dog or neither?

I use a white cane when I am out on my own.

 7. What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is losing,| going to lose, or has lost their vision?

I would say learn as much as you can and asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

8. What is one piece of advice you would you give to a sighted person about interacting with a person who is blind or visually impaired?

Address the blind or visually impaired person directly when they are with a companion. 

9.Why did you join YouTube?

I want to share my experiences to hopefully be an encouragement to others. 

10. Name 3 people to do this tag.

I put this out there to anyone reading this who is blind or has low vision to share their story.  

The MTA Tap and Go System Enhances Accessibility for all Riders

Text on image reads the mta omny tap and go system enhances accessibility for all riders. The image below the text shows an entrance to a subway station in New York city.
The photo of an NYC subway station is by ShonEjai via Pixabay

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is currently upgrading its payment system to a tap and go contactless system. This allows riders to pay their fare by simply tapping their card or mobile phone on a designated reader. It will also work with smart watches. Learn more about how the technology works here.

This is a great step towards improving accessibility. The MetroCard that is used now has to be swiped and inserted in a certain direction. I have low vision and on days where I was rushing to catch a train I could easily get confused on which way to insert the card.

This upgrade will speed up the process for everyone. Those with mobility issues would just have to swipe their smart watch.

Swiping a card does add extra time and now being able to simply tap and go will cut down the time it takes to enter the turnstyle or paying the fare in a bus.

Here is a demonstration of how the MTA OMNY system works.

The MetroCard will only be accepted until 2023. Then it will go the way of the token.

I have not been able to try this but I would definitely like to try it when I get an opportunity.

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Spotlight: Traveleyes – A Unique Travel Experience for People who are Blind or have Low Vision

Text reads a unique travel experience for those who are blind or have low vision. There is a photo of Parlament, the palace and big ben in england below the text.
Photo of the palace, Parlament and Big Ben in England is by derwiki via Pixabay

*This post is not sponsored by Traveleyes*

Do you enjoy traveling? Do you find your loss or lack of eyesight to be an obstacle to travel, or has it made travel less enjoyable? Well, today i want to spotlight a company that offers a unique travel experience to people who are blind or visually impaired. 

Traveleyes provides independent group travel for people who are blind or have low vision. The unique aspect is that each group is made up of a mix of sighted and blind and visually impaired individuals. The sighted participants help to provide sighted guide and to describe the sights. There is a 50% discount for sighted participants. This allows those who are blind or partially sighted to travel independently without having to rely on family. 

Traveleyes handles all of the details including the entire itinerary.  Click here to learn more about how it all works.

I have not used this service myself but I hope to be able to do so in the future. I would love to visit England one day and other places as well. Individuals, couples and small groups are welcome. I think it is important that this allows a person who is blind or has low vision to travel independently because they do not have to rely on family or friends to travel and they can go on their own schedule. I know my family would probably not want to fly all the way to England or other far off destinations. This service would give me an opportunity to travel on my own. It is also nice to know that the sighted individuals want to contribute and help guide and describe the sights as they agree to this when signing up for the trip. I would not feel like I was asking for too much or feel like a burden when asking for descriptions or for sighted guide. I think this would make the vacation much more enjoyable for me. It is a great benefit that sighted participants get a discount because they offer a very helpful service. 

Click here to learn more about the destinations you can explore with them.

I should add that you should check the site to find out when the tours will be taking place as the pandemic has changed travel rules.

So if you feel safe enough to travel again or when you do feel safe enough you should look into Traveleyes.  I hope to take part in one of their travel tours one day.

Pushing on, Stretching out Practicing Discipline and Being Thankful (A Chronic Voice May 2021 Linkup)

Image description. There is a black square in the top center. The text inside the square is in white and it reads pushing on, stretching out, practicing discipline and being thankful. Text below is black on a white background reads May linkup for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities via achronicvoice.com

This month I am taking part in the May Linkup for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. This linkup is hosted by Sheryl, founder of the blog A Chronic Voice. She provides 5 writing prompts to use to share updates on life in general but also may include the aspect of disability. When you have a chronic illness or disability it will make an appearance in every part of life. Here are my responses to this month’s prompts.

Pushing

There are several things that I am pushing myself to do and I have started working on some this month and I am starting some soon. I am pushing myself to learn new things. 

I hope to resume my journey to learning braille. I know the basics but I want to improve and I need a review. I know half of the alphabet but the second half has been more challenging for me to memorize. 

I am also pushing myself to learn Greek. I am using the Textus Receptus to learn. I use a screen reader or an audio Bible to study as I am visually impaired so this has been an adjustment for me in learning a new language but I am becoming more familiar with words the more I listen. I have also found some lessons on youTube that are helpful. I will be posting more about this in an upcoming post.

I am pushing myself to exercise more. I have fallen into a rut the past few months and have not been exercising at all. I want to begin walking at home again.

Stretching

I am stretching out when it comes to my blog and poetry. I hope to be able to be a full time blogger in the future. I have made two YouTube channels, one for my poetry and one to go along with this blog. I am very shy so this is a stretch for me but it is time for me to just do it. I hope to improve my poetry site and start a mailing list and grow my audience all around. It may be a stretch for me but sometimes you just have to aim for big dreams.

Here are my YouTube channels if you want to check them out.

Discipline

I want to be healthy and step away from the candy. I have already explained that I want to exercise more but I also want to eat healthier. I have recently been eating too much candy and I must stop.

I also want to have a daily schedule that will give me set times to study braille and Greek as well as to work on my poetry and on this blog and on YouTube and all that goes along with that. I have a lot to keep track of and I need to stay disciplined to get it all done.

My Christian faith is very important to me and I want to be disciplined in this area as well in reading my Bible and praying and spending time with God. I set time apart in the morning before I do anything else and at the end of the day. 

Text on image says I can and I will in bold letters

Preserving

Well I am preserving my sound mind by staying close to God and keeping myself busy and also by loom knitting. I am used to being at home most of the time but sometimes it can get frustrating. I would like to go for walks but my neighborhood does not have accessible areas which is to say that you need a car to get around and I do not feel safe walking on my own. 

Thanking

I am thankful that I am in good health and my family is in good health. I am thankful to have a home to be in even if I do not get out much. I am thankful to be able to blog and reach others with my story.

Some extra thoughts

I hope that your May went well. Feel free to share your answers to these prompts in the comments below. Thank you for reading.