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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. The Blind Woodsman

    As a blind woodworker, the blueprints for any of my projects start forming as a picture held in my mind. As someone who previously had vision, it allows me to visualize the design and change it any way I need until it feels right. In my own way, I still use sight by forming a physical object that originated from an imagined diagram. The journey in my own wood shop has mirrored my journey through blindness. Each project has brought its own challenge, much like navigating the landscape of a…

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  6. How I Became a Blind Painter

    My name is Aishwarya and I lost my vision later in life after being diagnosed with brain tumor in 2008. My hobby was painting at that time. I gave it up as I thought I wouldn’t be able to pursue it without vision. But little did I know I was wrong! I was introduced to rehabilitation services in the later years and got a job as a rehabilitation counselor in 2013. As a result, I became more independent and now achieve things that I thought I wouldn’t be able to…

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  7. Setting my Sights on Medicine – Insight from a Deafblind Medic

    It has always been the case where, if someone told me I couldn’t do something, I would go out of my way to prove that I, in fact, could. Despite going to a residential school geared toward supporting students with visual impairments, nearly all the teachers discouraged me from following my dreams of studying medicine at university, saying that it simply wasn’t possible for visually impaired people like myself to do.  So when I dismissed this advice, and finally got accepted into medical school following my interview, I was elated….

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  8. Don’t Be the Bird in the Box

    Let’s face it, the world will end someday. Zombies and nuclear energy compete for the top method of human demise – but Netflix’s Bird Box has other ideas. In a world overrun by creatures that cause insanity upon first glimpse, it’s only natural that whoever hasn’t seen these beings would attempt to survive by using their vision as little as possible. The story follows one woman as she survives against all odds in order to get herself and her children to safety, training the kids to listen for danger and…

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  9. A Look Back at 2018: These Are the Stories of the #BlindNewWorld

    2018 has been another incredible year in the BlindNewWorld. We love hearing – and sharing – your stories of adventure, triumph, love, family, learning and so much more. These stories are what keep us going – and what keep our community strong. And we don’t want you to miss a single one of them. So to close out the year, we’re bringing together the full collection of 2018 #MyBlindStory posts. Get to know each and every one of the people who have shared their stories with us this year. And…

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  10. Roll Forever

    My name is Dan Mancina, I am from Michigan outside of Detroit. I was born with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a disease that has deteriorated my vision throughout my life. I have lost about 95 percent of my vision so far. I have been skating since I was about seven years old and am now 31. When I had lost the majority of my functional vision about six years ago, I stopped skating all together, and would not even leave my house without a human guide. I felt very lost and…

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