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The Student News Site of Segerstrom High School

Visually impaired student answers FAQs about blindness

Sparking conversations about blindness spreads awareness and makes the world a more accessible place.
Image courtesy of Kathya Dorantes
Sparking conversations about blindness spreads awareness and makes the world a more accessible place.

Most Segerstrom students have spotted me navigating campus with my white cane. Sometimes, they nearly collide with me and stammer a horrified apology. On occasion, they later approach my friends with questions about my disability. The questions vary; some ask about braille, others about how I navigate independently. These questions do not offend me. I admire that individuals are attempting to grasp a broader understanding of blindness.

I complete my schoolwork in braille, a six-dot code used for reading and writing. Teachers send schoolwork to a transcriber several weeks in advance. The assignments are then transcribed and embossed in time for me to complete them along with my peers. I have access to a device called a Braille Note with which I can submit my work through email.

Most blind students must meet with an orientation and mobility specialist for an allotted time each month. In these sessions, we learn to navigate our surroundings independently. Through these lessons, I’ve learned to cross streets by analyzing traffic patterns, planning and executing bus routes, and using my cane to the best of my abilities.

There are many misconceptions about the blind. For example, blind people do not have super-hearing. Because we rely on our hearing, we’ve trained ourselves to recognize sounds that the average sighted person wouldn’t notice. Additionally, most blind people do not feel faces to identify individuals. Another incorrect assumption about blindness is that every person who is blind has completely lost their vision. Nine in ten blind people, including myself, have remaining sight. Blindness encompasses a spectrum of vision loss.

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I may be the only blind student at Segerstrom, but I am far from the only disabled student in the nation. There are thousands of us, and we are everywhere. Although our experiences vary, we share the hope to one day live in a world that is more inclusive and accepting. Awareness is the first step toward that future.  

However, most people are afraid to ask questions about blindness due to the negative stigma surrounding disability. Going out of one’s way to avoid broaching a subject doesn’t satisfy one’s curiosity, and it is often isolating to be on the receiving end of this behavior. This is one of the reasons disability remains an unspoken horror to able-bodied individuals. In reality, blindness is not my defining characteristic, but rather a small facet of my life.

I don’t spend hours a day grieving over my lack of sight, and neither do any of my blind friends. We play sports, study for exams, and enjoy movies and television shows. Blindness rarely holds prominence in our day-to-day lives. So the next time you see me around school, don’t be hesitant; ask a question.

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About the Contributor
Sofia Nevarez, Staff Writer

Comments (13)

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  • Y

    Yazmin NeriFeb 7, 2024 at 8:12 am

    Sofia,
    Thank you for introducing me to the blind community. You are truly an exceptional and intelligent young woman. Recently, I had the opportunity to watch “All the Light We Cannot See” on Netflix, which tells the story of a blind girl. I was captivated by this film and couldn’t help but admire the actress who portrayed the blind girl with such authenticity and talent. Intrigued, I decided to delve deeper into the actress’s background and discovered that she is actually blind in real life. This revelation made me appreciate even more the remarkable abilities and beautiful qualities that blind individuals possess. They contribute so much to our world.

    Reply
  • S

    Scott WernerJan 29, 2024 at 10:37 am

    Sofia, thank you for sharing. Your article is well written and breaks down barriers. I am a person with many questions and appreciate that you are open for discussion. My level of respect for you deepens after reading. Please continue to develop as a writer and focus on your passions. 🙂

    Reply
  • J

    Jonathan SandovalDec 21, 2023 at 9:03 am

    I think this is really cool that you face your challenges to live your everyday life. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  • M

    Max contrerasDec 21, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Very inspiring and open article. I love it

    Reply
  • K

    Kimberly CastroDec 21, 2023 at 8:52 am

    I think we should learn more about the visually impaired. I have learned that a lot of people dismiss the fact that a lot of people are visually impaired.

    Reply
  • A

    Alondra CifuentesDec 20, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Wow great article Sophia

    Reply
  • A

    Ana SantanaDec 20, 2023 at 11:20 am

    Hello Sophia! I love how informative your story is. I honestly had assumptions as well similar to all these. I always see you in Journalism typing on your device and I always wondered how you were able to understand it and work with it. This has answered many of my questions about blindness so thank you for answering!

    Reply
  • L

    Laurie BloisDec 15, 2023 at 10:27 am

    Thank you for sharing, Sophia! This article is very well written. I enjoyed reading it and learning more about you. 🙂

    Reply
  • E

    EspinosaDec 12, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    Amazing job Sophia! This was very well written. Miss having you in class!

    Reply
  • A

    Alicia LopezDec 12, 2023 at 12:37 pm

    Sophia, thank you for sharing a little bit of your life with all of us. I have crossed paths with you a couple of times, while presenting or walking around campus. Although curios, I have never had the time to ask you questions. I think it is beautiful that you have written something to make us all more knowledgeable. You are inspirational. I hope you know that! 🙂

    Reply
  • S

    Stephanie PeckDec 12, 2023 at 10:29 am

    Thank you Sophia for sharing and explaining what your abilities are. You are a promising writer!

    Reply
  • A

    Amy MillerDec 12, 2023 at 10:28 am

    As someone who has worked in special education for 20 year, I really appreciate your insight and candor! Well done. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Reply
  • S

    Sherri ConfertiNov 1, 2023 at 2:11 pm

    Sophia, this is such a great article. Thank you for sharing this with us. I feel like I understand you better. Great work!

    Reply