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  1. Taking a Humorous Approach – Because Life is Blurry

    For me, life is blurry. One day, while waiting on the Light Rail platform, a man came up to me and proceeded to wave his hand in front of my face. Now, I’m no stranger to men trying to get my attention in obnoxious ways, but I knew the main reason why he was doing this—to see if I am “really blind.” I had my white cane with me, but I had no service dog, and I wasn’t wearing those tell-tale, black sunglasses you often see in movies. I was…

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  2. Breaking Barriers and Feeling Through: Meet the First Deafblind Actor to Star in a Film’s Lead Role

    I was born deaf, but with 20/20 vision. I’ve always wanted to be an actor. My favorite actors were John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, Jon Voight, Robert Mitchum, Doug McClure, and Kirk Douglas. When I was a kid, I played sports like football, basketball, and track. When I was at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind, I was a good player, but I kept thinking about wanting to act! I went to a community college for a while in Arizona. I made the honor roll one…

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  3. What It Takes: Four Ways to Become More Independent as a Visually Impaired Young Adult

    Over the years, I have grown into an independent, successful young woman with dreams of helping other blind and visually impaired children grow into successful adults. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, my family, Iowa Department for the Blind, Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, National Federation of the Blind and other blind services that have helped me. These services helped me figure out who I was as a visually impaired person, and I’m hoping that what…

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  4. #MyBlindStory 2019: An Amazing Year in Review

    Your stories are jhe foundation of the #BlindNewWorld community – and there is no limit to who can join us here. Our 2019 contributors came to us from all over the U.S. – and around the world. They’re stars from Hollywood and hip-hop. Champion athletes. Savvy young adults. Internationally recognized gamers. Eloquent bloggers. Published poets. Accessibility-minded inventors. Talented craftspeople. Passionate artists. Innovative businesspeople. Determined doctors! Staunch advocates and committed allies. And above all, they are change-makers. These are people who are willing to share their voices and their stories to…

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  5. Sharing My Story from the TEDx Stage

    At my first meeting with the TEDx Minneapolis team, I met six speaking coaches – all professional speakers. They shared what the next four months of editing, refining and training would be like. It’s a very rigorous process and I quickly understood why all of those TED Talks I’ve seen are so good. Then they launched into their first and most important piece of advice. They said there would be three monitors at my feet – one monitor with a clock, one with my notes, and the final monitor with…

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  6. Will You Say Yes to My Blindness?

    I’m excited to publish my first book of poetry this year. As I complete the circuit of local news talking about my poems, I keep coming up against the same question: “Do you think of your blindness as a superpower?” My answer is always, “No, I don’t think of my blindness as a superpower.” Instead of taking me at my word — or even asking, “Why not?” — each host invariably insists, “But it makes you special, offers you nuance, helps you overcome challenges.” These routine objections force me to…

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  7. Losing My Sight – and Finding My Way to “This Is Us”

    My name is Blake Stadnik. I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. When I was six years old, I began having trouble seeing the chalkboard in school. After a number of visits to the doctor, I was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a degenerative genetic condition that affects the light-sensitive cells in the retina. I was legally blind within nine months. I had been starting to play sports like many other children in my hometown, but I could no longer see the ball. My mother thought I might enjoy taking…

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  8. An Ally – and Innovator – for Accessibility

    This past April, I started my 50th year of working with and for persons with disabilities. With a goal of becoming a teacher out of undergrad, I started out as an O&M instructor at a state rehab center Kentucky, and then went to graduate school to become an O&M Specialist. From there, I moved on to private rehab services in Charlotte, the Veteran’s Administration in Texas, state rehab in NC, then to UNC Chapel Hill. I retired from UNC in 2013 and now consult for the Association on Higher Education…

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  9. Dream Big, Step Small, and Keep Going

    Blindness hasn’t stopped me from being able to run. I come from a small seaside town in Ireland called Youghal. I was born visually impaired with four eye conditions: aniridia, coloboma, nystagmus, and glaucoma. I have just 5% vision and I am registered legally blind. I find reading very difficult on my eyes and they get sore quite quickly. I have a variety of different magnifying glasses to help when reading. I am very sensitive to light and reflection and I have to wear my sunglasses when outside. I don’t see depth and…

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  10. Bringing TV and Movies to Life with Audio Description

    Many years ago, I worked The Great Movie Ride in Walt Disney World, where guests would go through movie scenes with audio animatronics. I narrated the scenes as a host – and later, as a gangster who gets blown up. In a sense, this was my first experience with audio description. For movies and TV shows, audio description (also known as video description) is a special audio track where a narrator voices the visuals relevant to the plot. It’s intended for blind and low-vision audiences to experience the film or…

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