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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. Look Forward and Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

    I’m Daniel. I live in the UK and was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 8. A few years ago, I was featured on the BBC’s Saints and Scroungers talking about my experiences and the traumatic bullying I faced at school. Whilst at mainstream secondary school, when asked if I was blind I would reply, “Not me – I think you’ve got the wrong person” as I didn’t want to admit my eye condition to myself, let alone anyone else. I got angry with teaching assistants who would follow me…

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  6. 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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  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. Blind Hockey and a Burger-hunting Guide Dog (Or, “How I Came Back to Life After Vision Loss”)

    I started to notice my vision going when I was an undergraduate student at the age of 19. I didn’t really know how to deal with it and didn’t know what support was out there, so I tried to ignore it and keep moving on with my life. I was diagnosed with cone-rod dystrophy, a degenerative condition that I was assured there was no treatment for and it was unknown how it would affect my vision loss going forward. When I was 28, I went into a depression, becoming convinced…

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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. Coffee, Community and Overcoming Challenges

    I have been legally blind since birth with my most recent diagnosis being photoreceptor disorder. From my understanding, this is a catch-all, because they cannot determine a specific disease. The number one question I am most often asked is what I can see. This is a very difficult question since I have always seen this way. I can see extremely vague details within five to ten feet. This means I can usually tell where people are, but I cannot pick up on facial expressions or other nonverbal communications. Beyond ten…

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