Our Mission

Just got a comment via email. It was enough to make me blush and puff with pride…then wonder how the hell I am going to live up to all that!!! My heavens! Thank you!

Then I started wondering about ‘mission’. Ever been part of a committee writing a mission statement? Don’t be! They are killers. Still, every endeavor should have some goals; right?

Today I was waiting for sixth grade to come in from recess. One of ‘my’ kids, a lovely young lady, stopped to tell me she had seen me in my glasses. She meant the telescopic ones I use to do classroom observations.

I started to think what my being in school was doing for – or maybe to! – our kids. What I came up with is I am helping them to be comfortable with the visually impaired. I am helping them to normalize vision loss.

In sociology normalization process theory relates to the social processes by which new ways of thinking, working and organizing become routinely incorporated in everyday life. In my case it does not mean to make the different into ‘normal’ people (in my case, I believe that may not be possible!?) but instead to allow others to see us as just part of normal life.

I get a kick out of the acceptance and ‘ownership’ the students have of my vision loss. The other week a new student asked if I had virtual reality glasses! Not hardly. I stopped to give him the Cliff Notes version of the talk on my assistive technology. A couple of his classmates joined in and helped me explain the situation! For them, it is pretty routine.

If I had to define our ‘mission’ here, I would have to say part of it needs to be normalization of vision loss. Acceptance. Not complacency with avoidable blindness or an attitude of throwing up your hands in the face of unavoidable blindness. We cannot stop fighting vision loss and say it is inevitable. Instead I would like to see us work towards a more generalized acceptance and understanding that there are millions of us and we can and should be part of the community. The more we get out there, the more we will be part of the social landscape. As we adjust to our vision loss within our society, society can adjust to us.

So that is my thought on one destination for this journey we are on. Normalization of low vision in a community. How can we get low vision out of the closet?

The person who wrote that lovely email talked about being more open with people about her vision loss. She also talked about starting a local support group! I am thrilled! One person can make a difference.

And if one person can make a difference, what can an online community – physically spread out across the globe (I still find that a wild concept to wrap my head around!) – do together/separately?

What is your mission?

Next: Kvetch, Kvetch, Kvetch

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