I read an article yesterday about a blind engineer who works for Apple. She was born prematurely and has been blind since birth due to her prematurity (my guess is that she has ROP). In the article she stated, “You aren’t going to know unless you try. You aren’t going to know unless you talk to them … so go.” This resonated with me as it remind me a lot of myself. There have been so many times in my life where I have reached out to others to investigate something I wanted to do, not knowing the answer. Whether this was completing my OT fieldwork at Minnesota Children’s Hospital where I spent many months in the NICU, working as Dr. Temple Grandin’s teaching assistant for the school year, or being accepted for Guide Dog training. You don’t know until you ask and you will never know if you don’t ask. The most they can say is no, but at least you took the leap and found out.
You can check out the article here: http://mashable.com/2016/07/10/apple-innovation-blind-engineer/#W7PbKGCXEOqq
The article inspired me to think about where I am at with my occupational therapy career. Don’t get me wrong, there are aspects of my school OT job that I like, but there are aspects that are challenging and are not ideal for me. I have been thinking about where I want to go with my career. I have so many interests in the field – NICU, animal-assisted therapy, low vision, pediatrics, guide dogs…
I have recently started to explore a specialty in low vision rehabilitation, but it is requiring me to put myself out there and ask a lot of questions. In order to be successful in this practice area, I would need to get my Certified Low Vision Therqpist (CLVT) certification and find a job in the area. Not easy tasks to accomplish, but I know I can do it if I just put the time in and ask the right questions and make the right connections. There are also a few Graduate Certificate programs for occupational therapists to specialize in Low Vision Rehabilitation. I may explore those as well. I am starting out by doing a continuing education course through AOTA. It is providing me with really good knowledge! Low Vision Rehabilitation is such a small subset of the field and there are not many jobs that specialize in low vision rehab.
Who knows where this OT career journey will take me. All I know is that I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I feel like working in low vision rehabilitation is an area of high interest and would allow me to share my own personal experiences as an individual with a visual impairment.
On an unrelated topic, I was book shopping this weekend at Powell’s Books in Portland, and I found myself getting really frustrated. Usually I read through the use of audio books, but the specific series I was interested in reading was not available through my BARD NLS account. I was reading the book jackets and the first few pages and the print is so small!!! I got exhausted just from reading the book jackets! There is no way I can read standard print anymore! Sometimes, it is nice to just sit down with a real book and flip pages though. The large print selection of books seems to be getting smaller and smaller. I resorted to downloading the book on my iPad so that I can change the font size. I haven’t gotten too far into it, but it seems to be ok. Maybe this is just the new way of reading.
I guess that is all for now. I hope that I can start writing a bit more as I enjoy this blog and sharing my experiences as an OT and an individual with a visual impairment.