Independence. You hear this word in your early years of elementary school when a teacher mentions independent work. Of course this work probably develops a negative connotation in your head because when you were in second grade the teacher told you that you could not work with your friends. For someone struggling with some type of blindness, independence is the goal. Anyone who is blind strives to become partially or totally independent.
Independence to someone who is visually impaired means they have the ability to conquer the surroundings around them by themselves. It means that they are set free into the world without someone constantly following them around. I have worked to gain what my vision specialist called “independence” since the age of 11. Now being 17, I am on my way to getting a guide dog and although it took over 5 years to get to my level of “independence”, it is all worth it when I think of what is to come in the long run.
From crossing the street, to going to lunch with a friend to even exploring new and interesting places, these are all examples of independence for a blind person. When people usually hear of crossing the street, they think “no big deal”. If you want to go into what I am thinking when I cross the street, go check out my previous posts. But, as previously mentioned independence for someone who has a vision deficit is earned not given. No one with loss of vision is just given independence, they have to work everyday to achieve that level of independence that all you sightees achieve in no time. When someone sees me being nervous about crossing the street, I know they are staring at me thinking that I am crazy, but I have accepted that into my life.
Being independent is something I have worked extremely hard to achieve, so I am tired of being unhappy with not having more independence. I am going to learn to be happy with the amount of independence that I can achieve that this time. Later in life I may be capable of more, but for now the level of independence that I have is working for me. I will now share some picture from this past summer and my journey to becoming a young adult traveling with my mobility device.