As a young, shy girl with a visual impairment, I felt isolated and alone in crowded school hallways. I questioned my worth and was surrounded by self-doubt.
There are so many stories of blind people not only succeeding at life, but thriving – yet I felt ostracized, incapable, unaccepted and lost.
I grew up with aniridia syndrome alongside my sister, father and grandmother – all of whom also had this hereditary condition. My brother was totally deaf, though fully sighted. My mom was the only one without a disability. I also had aunts, uncles and cousins who were blind or visually impaired.
My father, who is totally blind, was incredibly influential in my upbringing. He took care of three children with disabilities, developed software in his earlier years and does carpentry, plumbing, and some electrical work. He never let us use our disability as an excuse.
Neither did my aunt who is also totally blind and served as a teacher, businesswoman, public speaker and writer.
How did they do it? How could I do it?
Getting to Work, Gaining Confidence
It all changed for me when I moved to North Carolina and started my first job at an optical lab, manufacturing glasses. Think of that – blind people making glasses!
There, no one had any biases against me and no one judged me because of my disability. I felt accepted.
Slowly, with overwhelming examples all around me, I internalized something I never quite could grasp growing up: I am capable. I can accept myself as I am, blindness and all.
Later, I moved to working in the company’s Low Vision Center, surrounded by technology and gadgets – which I’ve always loved. I helped others in their vision loss journeys, worked with a low-vision ophthalmologist, and provided free resources for children with visual impairments.
Then I met my (then-future) husband, Pablo. He worked in the same company in HR, doing both training and accessibility coordination. He challenged me in so many ways and helped me gain the confidence I needed.
Together, we created Live Accessible. We wanted to share that blindness or low vision doesn’t have to define or limit people. We wanted to share the technology, products, and resources that have helped us and encourage the blind community. We wanted to share our experience to the world so that all can know that blindness doesn’t stop us – all of us – from living the life we want.
In the end, being visually impaired definitely shaped my life – but I refuse to let it limit me.
About the Author
Carrie Morales is a visually impaired homeschooling mom and creator of the YouTube channel Live Accessible. She’s passionate about sharing technology, resources, encouragement and awareness and helping those in the blind and visually impaired community live accessible!