What is one thing that you have been told that you could not do with your vision that you have overcome and did anyway?

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"What is one thing that you have been told that you could not do with your vision that you have overcome and did anyway?"

When I was 13 years old I was told that I should plan on a career where I did not need my eyesight to be successful.

After lettering in field hockey in high school, I went to college, became an industrial engineer and have worked for a major automotive company for 35 years.

Yes, my vision has gotten worse, and I cannot do many things that I used to do (at least not as fast). But technology has made it possible for me to continue to work.

And the experiences that I have had in my career have been beneficial to everything that I do today.

This is truly an intriguing question. Aside from what the law states, I have really never been told I couldn't do something but yet was able to.

I credit my parents for NEVER limiting me from doing things. It was always, "Well, give it a try and if you can do it, GREAT!"

I played all four years of high school football and I continue to play basketball despite my vision loss and I am 49 now. Does this question apply to me? Probably not. I continue to do what I love to do and that's enjoy life to its fullest.

I am registered severely sight impaired with Retinitis Pigmentosa and -20 myopia with 5/60 acuity in both eyes. After many years in the IT industry I wanted a change so that I didn't have to work with computers for 60 hours a week, which was making my eyes even worse. I told people, friends, family and work colleagues that I was thinking of leaving IT, training as a hypnotherapist and starting my own private hypnotherapy practice. Most people laughed and said I wouldn't be able to do that. In 2008 I proved them wrong. I am a qualified hypnotherapist and have my own private practice (http://www.clarityandwellbeing.co.uk/). I now help people make all sorts of wonderful positive changes in their lives. The satisfaction I get from working with and helping people is amazing!

Thank You

Hello, my name is Brittany Swedelius McKinsey and I was born in Wyoming in November of 1981. After two weeks of being born my parents became concerned about me while my eyes did not seem right. My eyes never grew color as color takes some time to show. So my parents took me back to the doctors and they said it maybe a condition called Anridia. The doctors sent my family and I to Denver, CO to the Children’s Hospital to get a definite diagnosis. I could only imagine what my parents were going through at this time.

The doctors in Denver confirmed my eye condition as Anirida. Anirida means no irises in Greek. But, Anidria comes with other issues. I was lucky to be born with only congenital cataracts and low vision. The other bad news that the doctors told my parents was that I would be blind and never go to public school let a long graduate high school. As a parent, you would be devastated to know that there was something wrong with your child, even blindness and I knew my parents felt that.

As I got older and started school and I knew I was different, but not until about second grade. My parents split apart and my sister and I went with our mother to Montana. My parents knew I would have a better opportunity with education in Montana than Wyoming at that time.

From when I was two years old, a doctor in Salt Lake City who specialized in Aniridia followed me. My parents took me to SLC every six months to a year for an eye check up. My first eye surgery was when I was 17 years old. The doctors extracted my cataracts from both eyes.

School was a challenge for me as the print of books got smaller and kids became meaner. But I made it through. I graduated with a 3.9 GPA and high honors. I continued to go to school knowing I wanted to work with blind individuals. I enrolled into Montana State University-Billings in 2000. I started out being an education major and switching it to Human Services. Four years later, I graduated with a B.S degree in Human Services with a 3.8 GPA and Magna Cum Lade. During my college years, I traveled to New York City to work with special needs children.

Spring of 2004, my senior year of college, my vision was decreasing and I knew I needed help. My mom and I contacted my eye doctor in SLC and NYC and they both told us to go to Cincinnati Eye Institute. At this time, I saw my dreams falling to a stop as I was accepted to go to Hunter College in NYC to gain my master’s degree in Blindness and Low Vision Studies. I decided to take off a year, as I knew I had a long road ahead of me.

Dr. Edward Holland in Cincinnati, Ohio from the CEI told me that I had corneal scaring caused by Aniridic Fibrosis. He said that I needed a Keratolimbal Allograft (KLAL). This means that I became deficient of my own limbal stem cells that caused corneal scarring. The KLAL is a limbal stem cell transplant, which the stem cells come from a donor cornea. The doctors take each little stem cell off the donor cornea and place it onto a graft. Then, this graft was implanted onto my cornea.

I received my first KLAL in June of 2004 at the CEI. This was a miracle! I could see things that I have not been able to see for a long time. This surgery took a toll on me as I was on a lot of medications and steroids. Three months later, I was back in surgery for secondary glaucoma. Throughout that year, I had a lot of eye surgeries, maybe one surgery every six weeks. My family and I would travel back and forth from Montana/Wyoming to Cincinnati OH. I got my second KLAL on my other eye in February 2005.

Looking back at that year, I was not sure if I was going to make it. But I had to have faith in knowing that everything was going to be ok and I would be ok. I started to appreciate having my vision and knowing that I could see one more day.

In the spring of 2005, I decided that I was getting anxious about going back to school. But I knew NYC was too far away from my family and Cincinnati. So I applied and enrolled into Western Michigan Fall of 2005. My surgeries started to become less as I was getting back on track. I completed two master’s degrees in Blindness and Low Vision Studies and graduated from WMU in 2007.

To complete my master’s degrees, I had to do three internships. I was sent to Ohio and worked at the Cleveland Sight Center, Ohio State School for the Blind, and The Vision Center in Columbus. During graduate school and my internships, I continue to have glaucoma surgeries and partial rejections on my KLAL in each eye.

Looking back on my early school years, it was very difficult for me, as I did not use any accessible format (I refused all of them) other than large print and note takers. But, I knew I did not want to be seen as different! As I learned that college was very difficult without accessibility like ZoomText, a CCTV, and other magnifying devices to help me see I started to implement all of devices in my activities of daily living!

To this day! I can say that I have two Master’s degrees in Orientation & Mobility (O&M) and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)! Along with my two degrees, I am tripled certified in Low Vision Therapy (LVT), O&M, and VRT. I am currently working at the Veterans Affair Medical Center (VA) as a Supervisor at a New Blind Rehab Center.

In conclusion, Ignorance is Bliss! The doctors who told my parents 30 years ago that I would never graduate from public school were definitely wrong. Not all blind and visually impaired individuals are the same and they see and function differently. Never assume that a blind or VI person cannot do anything just because of their physical disability. They will surprise you!!!!

One thing that I was told that I couldn't do, but am able to in spite of my vision issues, is to continue to maintain a driver’s license and drive myself to and from work.

I did lose my CDL, but not personal driver’s license and I am very thankful for this.

Getting a job with the Government of the United States. I was told my vision would keep me from learning the material. That I would not be able to handle the workload. After one decade I still have the privilege of serving my country. It is technologies such as these which have allowed the visually impaired to unlock their potential for greatness and to reach heights they them self never thought possible. Thank you.

I'm replying for all of our libraries who have a copy of ZoomText on at least one of their computers.

Customers who cannot afford this software, and are not eligible for assistance to purchase it, are relieved to find out that their library can continue to offer self-service access to the catalog and internet. ZoomText acts like the eyes they used to have, enlarging anything they wish to see on a computer. And with the attached scanner they can bring in letters, bills, and other documents and read them as well. All by themselves. Extending their sense of independence a few more years.

Here is one comment we have heard from a customer using ZoomText.

My family and friends think they are helping me, but they are really taking away my independence by offering to get library materials for me.

They don't believe I can visit the library and use the computers like I always did. I use the computer with ZoomText on it and have no problems.

I was told I wouldn't live as fulfilling a life with my vision impairment. Fortunately, the experts were wrong.c:\users\rwhite\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\temporary internet files\content.outlook\bs76ajti\dsc00872.jpg

I lost most of my vision beginning at age 17 due to Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). Since that time I graduated from high school, earned two college degrees from the University of Texas, married and am raising three children. I have a fulfilling job managing our state's accessibility implementation for the five Health and Human Services agencies in Texas. It hasn't been an easy life but anything worthwhile comes through persistence and hard work. The use of assistive technology was just starting to make a difference in the early to mid 80s. I didn't have a computer for my college education but used a CCTV to write all of my college papers with pen and notebook paper. I paid to have all my papers typed since I didn't have access to a computer. After college, tools like ZoomText have always been with me during my 22-year professional career and have made it possible for me to be as productive as anyone else.

In my free time I have adapted and learned to lead an active outdoor life by volunteering with my two sons Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack. Attached is a photograph I took two weeks ago at my son's Boy Scout summer camp in west Texas that illustrates the point that persistence and hard work pays off. I got up at 4:30 AM to climb a mountain in the dark to watch the sunrise. The climb was very strenuous  and many scouts and adult leaders stopped before making it to the summit. I was rewarded for my efforts with a beautiful sunrise. The pictures and sunrise turned out better than I expected and so has my life.

The one thing that I was told that I could not do when I became blind and did it was travel to another state ALONE.

I was told photography would be out of the question, but I’m happy to say that I can manage a tolerable picture –autofocus is a wonderful thing!

When I lived in Chicago and in the 3rd grade at LaSalle School the teachers realized I was not able to see the black board unless I sat right up front my mother was informed regarding this problem. My parents took me to see an optometrist but he told my parents he could see nothing wrong with my vision and told them I was just faking this problem.

My parents then took me to see a well-known ophthalmologist who after many tests determined I had a serious problem with my retina but he wasn’t quite sure what was causing the problem. Later we found out that my brother, who was 3 years younger, had the same problem with his vision. Apparently it is hereditary.

After the doctor examined me I left the examining room and I overheard the doctor tell my mother there was nothing they could do for me and to be on the safe side they should move out to the country where my brother and I would be safer. He suggested living on a farm.

When I heard this I was then determined to get an education no matter what.

My parents learned there was a special school in Chicago that helped kids with vision problems. It was called a sight saving class and it was at the Lincoln School.

I started attending Lincoln school in the 5th grade and there we had only about 6 kids in this special class.

Here the teacher read stories to us and helped us with class assignments from the normal classes I attended. I also started learning how to type and these machines had a larger type size which made it easier to read. I liked mechanical things so the teacher had me taking care of the 3 typewriters we had, cleaning them and changing the ribbons.

After graduating from Lincoln School I went to Senn High School, also in Chicago, which also had a special sight saving Class. They also had the home room with a special teacher to help us out after attending regular classes.

After graduating from Senn High School I went on to The University of Illinois and became an electrical engineer.

My dad was a mechanical engineer designing machines to make envelopes so I worked with him designing the electrical components to make the machines run.

Around the age of 48 I had to quit working due to my vision getting too bad to work any longer.

In my days working there were no computers that were accessible to people with vision loss. It wasn’t til around 1994 when they started making computers for the visually impaired.

My first computer with screen reading and magnification capabilities cost me around $7000. Shortly after receiving this computer I learned of ZoomText and purchased this program. I fell in love with it and have been using it ever since. I don’t know what I would have done without ZoomText. I wish I had a computer and ZoomText while I was going to school.

For about the last 12 years I have been refurbishing computers I receive as donation from large companies and working with a local senior center who teaches computer classes we donate computers to seniors who can’t afford to purchase one.

Thanks to the version of ZoomText that allows two monitors I can use the one monitor which is magnified and the other monitor with a normal screen is used by the student.

Thanks Ai Squared for helping me with this wonderful program and making my life so much better.

I especially like the version of ZoomText on the USB drive since I can take this with me to someone’s house and help them with their computer problems.

Many of my friends are amazed that I have extensively travelled internationally and lived overseas with my limited vision.  I’m legally blind with myopic macular degeneration.  Since I became legally blind I have travelled through China, Mexico, Australia, Korea, Hong Kong and many other places.   I have lived in China for five years and now live in Guatemala and have for over 3 years.  Once I had thought that I might not be able to travel again, but not so.

I am able to adventure into the world and make my way.  Dealing with language and cultural differences can be frustrating or exciting and your attitude is what makes all the difference.  It’s the same with limited vision, your attitude makes all the difference.  Trying to figure out some of the food in Chinese markets is daunting for any westerner, but when you can’t see much, it’s a real adventure.  You can only laugh and hope for the best.  Living in another country is hard no matter what your vision is, but it’s tough living in countries that don’t make many allowances for disabilities.  But with all the recent advances in tech, a wonderfully supportive husband and a lot of work and creative problem solving my life have continued to be a big adventure.

Realizing that I could no longer do so many things that I’d enjoyed was overwhelming, but losing the ability to drive or read a book was the worst.  And still today I miss those things and regret their loss, but what is, is.  I could have let my vision problems keep me tied down and fearful of doing new things, but I guess that’s not me.  I do as much as I can and don’t let my vision be an excuse for saying no.  I ask for help with I need it and am always looking for the next thing that can open my world up more.    

ZoomText has been a godsend.  My previous work was in IT consulting and I really like tech and computers, so losing the ability to use the computer would have been devastating, but ZoomText to the rescue!  Because of ZoomText I can stay in contact with all my family and friends no matter what country they are in.  I can keep up on the latest tech, the latest news, the latest everything…   and do a million (well hundreds at least) other things big and small that make life fun and productive.  I can read / listen to almost anything on the internet, I can use this great camera tool in ZoomText 10 to see documents, forms, books, articles, can labels etc.  I can’t afford all those expensive and impossible to travel with pieces of equipment that many visually impaired people have.   I have relied on ZoomText to keep me connected to the world. Thanks.

I have partial site and when I went to join my family in lawn darts they all told me that I would not be able to do it. You should have seen their faces when I beat them all. My 13 year old grandson exclaimed “wow, beaten by a blind old lady”.

Nothing is impossible!

My answer to the survey question for this month is that I was told I would not be able to do computer programming with my vision, but I overcame the difficulties to do it anyway.

Work with children. I am now working at a daycare.

I can certainly say that I’ve had this gauntlet thrown at my feet several times in my life. I have always accepted and conquered this challenge!!! The first time was during my divorce with my first wife.

My first wife, also the mother of my children, decided she wanted out of our marriage since I couldn’t drive. I’m not really sure why my driving was such an issue as I was the only one who worked and gave her pretty much everything she wanted. In any event she actually had the gall to tell me not to contest her demand for full custody of the kids because I was blind and couldn’t be a good parent.

Well it’s been a long 10 years, but I must say that being a single father is hard but being able to see or not has no real bearing on it. In fact I think that not being able to see my children roll their eyes is probably a good thing for all of us.

In an ironic side note, my relationships since then have always ended up in a break up blamed on my vision until I met my current girlfriend who is probably the most compassionate and sincerely caring person I have ever met. I felt compelled to put that in because it’s never a problem with our vision, but other people’s vision can easily be skewed by greed, pride and vanity – so don’t listen to negativity just keep going forward!

I was also told I would have to find a different field of work after some time as computers demand quite a bit of visual attention. Of course at this time the CD-ROM was a rather new invention and my Apple II-e Clone had less memory in it than my iPhone 3 had in it, or my HTC Tilt for that matter. Come to think of it most scientific calculators now a days have more memory. Back to the point I was making, I actually stumbled upon ZoomText when it was a brand new software. I downloaded that amazing little square magnifier that followed my mouse pointer around on a Windows NT 4.0 workstation and realized that I could keep working in programming for a long time with this new and amazing software!

I even got my insurance license just to shut my employer’s brat kid up. That is a great fact, he truly believed that he was better than me because he had a professional license. It took me a bit to get the testing ironed out, but I traveled 200 miles (thanks to my best buddy Chad), went into the California Department of Insurance Headquarters, took and passed my test. The kid really doesn’t like me (now more than ever) but he has really changed his tune about me and I hope anyone with any “disability”.

I think the only thing I have not yet figured out how to overcome is the first few days of rearranging my furniture. I just moved my desk in my room the other day and on my way back from refilling my coffee I stubbed my toe….. I don’t think I will ever figure that one out, but if that’s the worst it gets I can handle it with no problem. After all I am a single father who does web and graphic design, I handle several small business networks and now I sell insurance too.

Thanks to the folks at Zoom Text and I can’t wait to see what others stories are!!!

Fourteen years ago when I developed wet macular degeneration, I was told I would have to give up my computer.   Then I learned about ZoomText and after installing it, I said ‘I am not handicapped, I can still do the same things I have been used to.’   In some things, I am slowed down a bit, but I still am perfectly capable of communicating with the rest of the World.  I AM NOT HANDICAPPED!

One thing I was told I couldnt do and then didnt do for 10.5 years was drive a car....Then my low vision guy talked me into trying out the bioptic lens driving program...NOW when someone I know needs a ride somewhere....It brings a whole new meaning to the request...and I am happy to clear my schedule to do it!!:)

I was told that I could not use a treadmill.

I am a choir master and an interpreter/translator.

I was told that it was going to be difficult, if not impossible for me to work efficiently in these two areas. Thank God almighty for ZoomText magnifier and reader, I have been able to scan my scores and read them with ZoomText, then input them into my midi sequencer keyboard. Hence, it has become possible for me to prepare music for my choir, and conducting is simply from memory.

As for my day job, that is Interpreter/Translator, I use ZoomText as the main adaptive technology program to allow me to work on my translations. And now with the background reader feature, it has become much more possible to proof-read my work. Besides, I can convert my source text into audio, and have Windows Media Player reads it to me, while I do my translation. As an interpreter, I take note using ZoomText to see on the screen, and have it read it back to me, so that I may interpret the message.

I was meeting with my teachers and parents for my final IEP before I graduated from high school. I told everyone that I was going to major in English and write books for my career. I stepped out of the room for a second, and later, my mom informed me that the second I left the room, my high school English teacher said there was no way I was going to be able to endure all of the reading with limited vision. He also didn't think that my writing was strong enough to major in English, but obviously, that had nothing to do with my visual impairment. Today, not only have I graduated with an English: Writing major, but I have published three books: 2007's Beyond the Fury, 2008's St. Croix Chronicles, and 2011's The Promise.

In 2002 my eye doctor told me that I could not work or do the work I was doing any more but I decided yes I can and I now own my Mobil tire service business and my goal is to grow my business despite my vision loss.

"Called to the First Row"

When I was about 11 I was mainstreamed. I'd left the Maryland School for the Blind--my vision had not deteriorated--and subsequent schools linked with the sight savings class. I was mainstreamed to my home elementary school whose principal thought that if I was visually impaired I must be also intellectually impaired, I was placed in the 'next to the dumbest' class--the one that didn't have the electricity and magnetism unit when the winning word for me in the school Spelling Bee would have been 'kilowatt.' That dumb little blind girl had come in second place.

What didn't kill me made me stronger. Sensing this stratification, I was still blissfully unaware of its consequences. I heard the announcement to join the band. I wanted to play clarinet. No one told me I couldn't because I was legally blind: How could I read those little dots? I persisted despite the squeaks and my parents' struggle to find the money for the rental of my 'school grade' clarinet. As I continued in Junior High, in the next-to-the smartest class, I still stayed in the last position 3rd clarinet. Band members had to challenge to move up a seat and I saw people moving ahead of me. Somewhere the mindset had become internalized about what I could and could not do. At the end of 8th grade-- with no magnifiers, CCTVs or other devices-- I was still last position 3rd clarinet. The music teacher, a fabulous role model not just for musicians but for women, especially a poor nearsighted brainy but clueless woman-child, was having a tantrum about the first clarinets missing a passage. "Bonnie, get up here," she yelled. Who? Me? "Go on, she's calling you to the first section first clarinets." I made my way up there to the First Row in a daze. I barely had the tone to play the high notes, but I'd been fingering all the parts, and I played that passage. Somehow the richer girls managed to accept if not welcome me, and there I stayed, through high school, I don't know to this day whether Miss Reiner's sudden jumping me over just about all the clarinets was deliberate or an inspiration of the moment. She gave me a "yes I can" push whose influence was incalculable, I who couldn't figure out if I was the smartest of the dumb girls or the dumbest of the smart girls, stayed in the front row, played in Miss Reiner's women's jazz band, when women didn't do much of anything I could do, I had who had wanted to hide, the little blind girl who played clarinet, now in the First Row which in the classroom had been that conspicuous place I had to sit to see the blackboard.

And now, having gone on to be a first chair in the county orchestra, somehow getting an amazing tone out of my 'school grade' clarinet, many music and academic awards and degrees later, I wonder what would have happened to that little girl without that first cluelessness and the big push to the First Row, reading those high little dots, and hearing someone say to me, "You wouldn't be up here if you didn't deserve it." The next step was reading those little accent marks in French and going on to graduate school. So, no skydiving or other big extraordinary adventures, just one small step up to the First Row.

Bonnie Odiorne, PhD
Grateful ZoomText user

One thing I've been told that I couldn't do that i overcame among other things is I was told that I couldn't create things in 3DMax. 3DMax is this 3d modeling program. It's not exactly the most, screen reader and magnifier accessible program. Which with a combination of the screen reader on my computer at school and my classmate's help I was able to get all my assignments done in the program and in record time for the entire class.

I did outdoor patio chair for my Deck and also build box for my raised bed garden.

People said with vision prob, I could not be an EMT

I was told 3 years ago (a week after my 40th birthday) that I had to give up my custom cabinetry/countertop business and find something else to provide for my family of seven.  My optometrist for some reason didn’t feel that a legally blind person could continue to make cabinetry and run a business.  I am happy to say that with the help of the department of the blind, my family and ZoomText, I am still at it.  I have hired installers, my children work in the shop and drive me to customers houses, my wife sprays cabinetry, and I continue to design, build and do all I can to continue to do what I love.  We are currently doing a huge commercial job and I am blessed to be in my own shoes.

Before losing my vision, I was an avid runner participating in my collegiate cross country team. After losing my vision, I was told that running wasn’t safe for me and I would have to leave the team. I disagreed with them highly, but my education was the most important thing. After much pleading, I was allowed to run Track, but not cross country. 12 years since I lost my vision, I have completed 7 marathons. I completed Boston twice finishing 2nd and 3nd place in the visually impaired division. I just started training for # 8. I have proven I can still be a runner.

I was born with Glaucoma. As a result, I lost sight in my right eye at age 2. I was always told that it would difficult for me to complete high school, drive a car, or have a career. I want to let you know that I have done all three! I not only completed high school but I went on to earn an Associate in Arts, and a Bachelor's in Legal Studies. I know that my faith in Jesus has given me strength. I also believe that companies like ZoomText help to make the once impossible possible. I am also a happily married mother of 5 beautiful children.

I was told that I was too old to go back to school.  I was told I couldn't get a job working with computers because I typed too slow and I couldn't read the screen because of my visual impairment.

I started slow at first with Windows 3.1 and Window Eyes for speech and later Zoom Text 5.1 for enlarging the screen.  I was laid off from my job, so I started with a computer class at my local community college.  I got back into college 3/4 class load, and soon I had my AS in Computer Information Science.  I decided to continue into the university level and got my BS in Management Information Systems. I tried other programs like JAWS and Magic, but none have compared to ZoomText.  To make a long story short, I was hired eight months after graduation and I work with the State of California.  I use ZoomText 10 at work and ZoomText 9 at home. I wouldn't have made it without ZoomText and the great improvements they have made in the software.

Thank you Ai Squared.


I was told that I could not Sky Dive, because I would not be able to see the instructor’s signals.

Well for my 50th birthday I jumped out of a plane, and it was the best 5 minutes of my life.

My name is Kenny I was told I would never be able to use a power wheelchair.

Play Golf

In June 2006, I became the first visually impaired certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor in the United States. It was a great accomplishment and I felt that I had broken some barriers so that I could help others with disabilities. Believe me, there were many skeptics, but with a sense of purpose and a will to help others, it was a challenge to overcome and the next step in my own sense of personal growth towards leading an active and productive life.

It all started in 2005 when I went to see my nephew, Ryan, who has autism, take lessons at a therapeutic horseback riding program. I had not heard of therapeutic riding and was extremely interested in the program, having been an avid rider during my youth. I wanted to see how it was helping him. I observed one of his lessons and met his instructor, Alison Kelly. When she heard that I used to ride, she got me right back up on a horse and didn’t even pay attention to my vision. I had lost my vision in 1994 due to complications of Type 1 diabetes. It also had been a long journey through kidney failure and a kidney-pancreas transplant. So when this opportunity presented itself to me, I was eager to get working. I began helping her around the barn and the horses and started helping her with lessons. The riding came back to me, just like they say, you never forget how to ride a bicycle. Well, you never forget how to ride a horse.

I seemed to have a natural empathy with working with the others who had a variety of disabilities from autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, or multiple sclerosis. I think my own disability gave an inspiration to others. My teaching partner whose name is Alison also, worked with me letting me know what a rider was doing just in case I couldn’t see exactly due to my vision. We made a great team and focused on abilities and not on one’s disability, that was our message.

I started taking lessons again and even reconnected with one of my previous riding instructors, Lee Ann Green, from my early days of riding. The goal now was to obtain my certification as an instructor. We had to write to the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, formerly known as NARHA and based in Colorado, to receive permission to take the certification class. It would be the first time that a person with a visual impairment would take the tests.

I received the go ahead and I worked very hard and took the necessary written tests online. Then I traveled from New York to Florida to attend one of the certification workshops. I went to a therapeutic riding program where my teaching partner knew it would be a supportive environment. There I would have to teach a class and ride a test so that the evaluators could judge my ability to teach and to ride. It was at this facility where I met Betty Gray, who became an integral member of my new support system and also got me back into competition.

I was a nervous wreck waiting to meet with the evaluators and hear their results. I sat down with them and the first words were pointing out that I had the potential to compete as a Para equestrian on an international basis. I was overwhelmed with a sense of true accomplishment. The bottomed line was that I passed the test and was able to receive my certification. Alison and I moved on together teaching therapeutic riding lessons and even forming our own therapeutic riding program. Our motto is “Ride with Purpose. It is a lesson I have learned to live my life with, “Live with Purpose” and you can accomplish anything.

As crazy as this sounds………

Scuba Diving!

I was the first hearing-impaired, visually-impaired student at Mt. Hood Community College to take the Scuba course as part of my Phys. Education requirement towards my degree.

I utilized both, a sign language interpreter and my mask was made to prescription. It was interesting as to how my ASL interpreter went into the water with me and signed when the instructor was talking. The diving instructor owned a local dive shop and provided my interpreter with a wetsuit, fins and a mask. It was an experience to behold.

I got an A in the class.

What is one thing that you have been told that you could not do with your vision that you have overcome and did anyway?

I was told that I would not be able to work a “real” job, but with the help, in part, of ZoomText, I have held several fulfilling jobs. 

I have been able to read fine print.

Good News! I was never told Bay an ophthalmologist I couldn't do something because of my vision loss due to Retinitis Pigmentosa at age 21.

I've had difficulties with colleagues in the rehabilitation field who have said I couldn't work for them or with patients. However, I have successfully completed 40 years of working with children who are learning disabled, adults who have suffered a stroke and now with adults who are living with low vision in Oklahoma City as a certified vision rehabilitation therapist in private practice.

Having retired, I was desperately looking for something to keep me busy. I have always been addicted to sports, playing when I could and following my various favorite teams in many different sports.

I had heard of Fantasy sports and began to ask around as to how to get involved. I was gently, but firmly warned that it would require a lot of computer work and even though I had some beneficial software, it would be difficult if not impossible for me to do what is necessary to really compete. Now, I play in three different sports with multiple teams in multiple leagues, and due to diligent effort and some luck have to date won over $500 in prizes. Thank you ZoomText.

I was told that I could not work in radio because of my vision because if storms came up, I "would misinform the public".   I went on to get a radio job at a station in another market and worked there about 4 years with no kind of accommodations and they were happy with my work.  Now I'm back in radio, have been for about 3 months now, in a bigger city.  With the help of ZoomText this time and I love it!

Several years ago when I was in my late 60s I traveled to Machu Picchu and hiked throughout the lost city. No one thought I would be able to do that because I am blind.

When I first began losing my sight to macular degeneration I searched for aids to help me and luckily found ZoomText. For practice and a sort of self-therapy, I recorded my experiences with the disease. Gradually learning to handle commands and text I was able to assemble a book and at age 87 have it published.

I was told that I could not use the iPhone especially the touch motion

I used it right from the start.

I am a Paralegal Specialist for the federal government, and the position requires a lot of reading. Because of the vision problem I have, ZoomText makes words large enough that I see and able to read. By having ZoomText I am able to maintain my job as a Paralegal Specialist. It has been blessing for me.

THANKS Zoom Text.

When I was growing up, my eye doctors told me I would not be able to work because I could not see well enough to work in an office setting, mow lawns, cook, or even clean homes.  Four years ago, I retired after working in an office doing paperwork, interviewing applicants for public assistance, and helping to secure child support for children whose parent was not in their home.  I did these jobs for nearly 40 years and now I prepare meals for myself and my wife while she continues to work.  I have also done all of the other things which I previously stated the doctors told me I could not do. The only thing I cannot do which I did not mention is drive a car.

You ask, what was the one thing they told me I could not do with my limited vision.  Wow, as you know, there are so many things that can come to mind.  However, the one thing I was told that I could not do with my vision is go to college. (Please remember this was in the mid 1960’s and no one considered the endless possibilities to come.  Earlier, in the mid to late 1950’s I was told that I could not go to public school; I was doomed to ‘schools for the blind.  (Now I want to make it clear, I have nothing against schools f/t blind but, to my mind, I was (and am) a normal person (who just happens to have a visual impairment) and I did not want to be singled out solely in terms of my lack of vision.)

I did go to public school and I did go to college and I became a social worker working in the fields of foster care and elder abuse.  Now, that I’m retired, I can look back on the countless hundreds of children I was able to successfully place in loving homes and give them opportunities for better lives.  Along with this, I wouldn’t even want to try and count the number of elderly couples I was able to help stay in their homes and enjoy better lives during their later years.

One thing I do know, is that I made a generous contribution to this world in spite of my limited vision.

I was told in high school that I would probably never be able to become an engineer because of being legally blind. Examples of things that I supposedly would have trouble with were Chemistry labs, the amount of reading, and complex mathematical equations. In spite of this, my attitude was that I was going to give it my best try and not let other people put artificial limitations on me. This was in about 1981. In 1987, I received a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and have worked in the engineering field for almost 25 years now.

Play ping pong. Plus, I am a good player. I have learned to compensate. However, if a very poor player plays slow and hits the ball high I can easily be beaten. But I have learned to judge where to hit low fast balls.

I retired from corporate life and volunteered to work in a para church organization dedicated to assist leaders in their outreach, teaching mentoring responsibilities. Four years ago, my macular degeneration had progressed to the point where I became legally blind. I have the privilege of calling and speaking to pastors. I maintain contact with over a hundred pastors and it would be impossible for me to recall the details of each conversation. Without ZoomText, it would be impossible accomplish the very thing that makes my life meaningful.

I am able to do accounting and finance work. The use of spreadsheets is important to doing these.


Many years ago I was told by a case worker at an agency that helps visually impaired people find employment that a visually impaired person could never be an artist. At first I let their opinion defer my dream and I did choose another career. However, I was unhappy without painting and drawing in my life. Consequently, I began taking classes at a community arts center and rediscovered art as a necessary form of self-expression. I have since sold two paintings and plan to display my work at the Midland Building next year.

Since my experience, I have found a group that supports blind artists, The Blind Artist Society. On their webpage, they feature work by visually impaired artists. I also found a website featuring blind artists called the Blind Artist Society http://www.blindartistssociety.com/artists.html. The ACB National Convention also featured an exhibition by blind artists. Opportunities continue to grow for visually impaired artists to express their talent.

Good question: I take care of children - run a dayhome/out of school care service - I have been doing "the impossible" for 10 years now :)

Restore antique radios, televisions, and, phonographs.

Doctors convinced my mother I could never do these things, and, could not be trusted.

I proved them all wrong.

I restore tube type radios, televisions, record players, and, wind up Edison cylinder phonographs.

That includes refinishing, mechanical work, and all electronic restorations.

I've been doing it now for over 40 years.

Of course have less than 4% of usable vision, I’ve been told that I cannot drive.

I drove a stock car in a race last year and loved it. Here is the video story.


When I lost my sight I was told that I would not be able to grasps the use of computers. For the first couple of years I believed this but was then introduced to screen reading software and opted for ZoomText. I now use the computer routinely in my job as a Disability Equality Officer at a local Centre for Integrated living. I use my laptop for training purposes with PowerPoint Presentation’s/ ZoomText opened up whole new world for me.

Overcoming barriers. I was able to get a lot of my independence back. With the help of therapy in the home, computer training, orientation and mobility outside of the home I am now able to help others OVERCOME. 

I was told by the education department head at a prestigious university in Utah that I probably would be a go candidate to teach the blind.

Ask the Director at the Braille Institute of America In La Jolla Ca.  San Diego If he agrees with that assessment.

The one thing I was told I would never be able to do is enjoy reading my favorite books, which tend to be among the out-of-print and out-of-copyright books including my favorites that tend to be Outdated American & British authored books.

Thanks to the Gutenberg Project online and my AI Squared Software (albeit it is out of date and I can’t find my original disk after well-meaning friends, family, and church-members came out to help with putting the house in order, cleaning – including the cobwebs and dust I can’t see in the corners of the ceiling, I manage to keep Zoom-Text working as frequently as I can in order to allow me to peruse the books I grew to love as a child, teenager, and again in my college years before losing my sight thanks to the hard-working individuals who have created an online library known as The Gutenberg Project.

I heard a quote once that said, “Characters from old books are like old friends; every now and again you need to stop in to see how they are doing.”

That is what reading or rather hearing these stories read to me is how I beat those who claim I would never read a book I enjoyed again because they were too old, few were in print, and those that are available are not available in audio books because they are so old and nobody wants to read them. I beg to differ and the software Zoom-Text, even as quirky as mine behaves on this computer with Windows 7, that was a gift from family members when my previous computer broke beyond repair from sheer overuse, I managed to disprove their claims. It makes me extremely proud as well as lights the fires of what other things they claim I can’t do that I have or will even though my sight is practically gone with exception of some light perception, which waxes and wanes from corneal inflammation from Sjogren’s Disease, compounded by Lupus (SLE), and had the entire process started by a retinal disease that caused the initial blindness.

Warmest regards and best wishes to everyone at AI Squared.

I have been able to continue working in the IT field, in large part due to ZoomText. I have no vision in my right eye, and have 20-400 vision in my left eye with blind spots and skewed vision due to diabetic retinopathy and related surgeries. I have been able to work for the past five years because of the flexibility of my employer and because of the amazing technology that ZoomText provides. Without it, I would not be able to continue working in this field.

Use and work on computers!

Triathlons: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXyVRhb_0Ek

Get my Master’s Degree in Human Services Counseling and be on the National Dean’s Honors List.

It is difficult to narrow this down to just one. I have been blind since the 5th grade and it has not kept me from many things, short of driving. I have been a track and field athlete and still hold my high school long jump record [after 38 years] and at college, we won an NCAA National Championship, in 1976. However, I think my most significant accomplishment is earning my Ph.D. at Duke University. With all of the technical reading, mathematics, statistics, and later; computer work necessary to do the research in a scientific discipline, it was difficult to do the work. On many occasions, from high school on, I was told that I should consider some other career choice, "something easier." I mostly shed those comments off, figuring that they were coming from people who could not do what I was trying to do and therefore, couldn't imagine a "blind guy" doing them.

It is all about diligence and perseverance. Most of all, it is about believing in yourself, even if others do not.

No one ever told me directly that I would never be able to get married and start a family but I think the voice inside my head told me this. Yet here I am with a beautiful wife and two adorable daughters. It did take me a while to get started. I got married at age 36 and was 39 when my first child was born. I struggled for years with dating. Primarily it was a lack of dating experience. I think I lacked the self-confidence for a long time to even approach women. One major change for me was when I finally started using my white cane full time. It just made me more confident and relaxed in social settings. I no longer had to pretend to see better than I did and inevitably cause myself more embarrassment when I say fell off a curb or stair step that just came out of nowhere. I was actually able to talk to a few women in social situations and even got a couple of them to go out with me. I feel like if I hadn’t made the decision to use the cane I would probably still be alone and living with my parents.

In response to the survey question: "What is one thing that you have been told that you could not do with your vision that you have overcome and did anyway?""

Not only did I study Japanese, but I lived, worked, and studied in Japan.

There were people who told me that it was not a good idea, or that it would end in failure and disappointment. This was fuel for the fire, and I was able to put in the extra time and effort it took for me to succeed.

I was told by several doctors that I would not be able to return to work, due to brain bleed which caused a vision deficit.

It took 8 months, lots of therapy & ZoomText adaptability software, but I was able to return to work, part-time, as a business analyst for a major University.

I use my computer 99% of the time for work – ZoomText has been an invaluable tool with regards to allowing me to work again.

Computer repair. I’ve been able to through experience and the use of a handheld video magnifier. ZoomText has been essential for software issues.

Live alone.

I bet everyone who enters this contest by answering the question, “is there one thing that someone told you that you would not be able to do (due to vision loss), will have an answer. What will be interesting is in noting the ages of the people who were told they could not do something. I was diagnosed with my vision issues in 1963 and it is amazing to me that my ophthalmologist told my father that I would be able to be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up except for a truck driver and surgeon. I was ten years old at the time but I remember his words well.

It was not the medical field that had such grim hopes for me but rather the towns people in my hometown in northern New York. Why the ladies of the town were all full of predictions for me. They shook their heads in shame that I would never graduate from high school, let alone go to college. And, the prospects of me meeting a man who would want to marry me was certainly out of the question unless I got pregnant on purpose. But, how could that be possible? How could I possibly care for and raise children? Why, I even had two marketing directors from the school for the blind telling my parents that I would not even succeed in getting through elementary school and should be sent to a special school for the blind four hours plus away from my family and friends.

Well, I sure showed them. I am here to tell you that I did manage to get through elementary school, high school, college with a master’s degree got married and had two sons. Every time I think about this, I think of those nosey ladies who thought they knew it all. Why, I even managed to marry twice. I not only found one man willing to marry a disabled women but two men. Isn’t that a hoot?

When I divorced and went back to finish up my college degree, I was told that I would never cut it in the field of psychology. I didn’t and it was not due to vision loss. It was more to do with not wanting to go to school like forever. When I decided to enter the Master’s degree program, I was told that I would never make it through the program. Not surprising since some people with normal vision can never comprehend what we can do when we put our minds to it. However, the shocking part was that the lady who told me I would never make it through the master’s program was a psychologist/counselor. I am sure glad I was never in need of her services. Especially for motivation.

I really do not recall anyone telling me that I could not golf, bowl, ski, skate, ride a bike, cross a street sew cook etc. I just did it all and never thought twice about whether I could or could not.

But, will end with a somewhat funny story. When I first moved to Pittsburgh, I met this lady with whom I became friends. Shortly after meeting her and getting to know her, she invited me to go along shopping to the mall. As we were walking through the mall, she was pointing out all the columns in the mall so that I would not run into them. It was unnecessary for me at the time to need assistance in walking through the mall and shops. She was aware of my visual impairment and was well intentioned so I did not say anything to the effect that it was not necessary to point out these things to me. As we drove home, I almost fell out of the car in muffled hysterics when she asked me why I did not have a driver’s license. Now this was around 1988 and am sure by then more people were aware of all disabilities and visual impairments etc. And, this lady friend was in her mid 30’s. Not some young air head. I almost died laughing when I got home and was out of ear shot from her as she drove up the road.

Ok, this brings me to a good question for any future contest. What do you say to people who are well intentioned such as this friend? It is uncomfortable sometimes in telling someone that you do not require their assistance. They seem hurt or unappreciated in their attempts to aid you when you do not need it. Do you feel badly about hurting their feelings? Do they feel embarrassed or ashamed? And what do you do when they are willing to help you with things you do not need help with, but when you do need help and they ignore you then what?

I say this question will have some interesting answers. The younger Zoom Text users were fortunate to have been raised during a time of enlightenment and awareness in open or integrated classrooms. But for those of us raised back in the 60’s, were subject to more of the attitude that we should be burned at the stake or institutionalized. I am anxious to hear the answers.

I can be a real smart ass as you know and tell you my attitudes now. My attitude now is when asked to do something unpleasant such as cook dinner, clean the toilet, mop the floor, I simply say I cannot see to do it. I have gone full circle as they say. Ha.

Well, there you go, my contest entry. I hope I win.

No one thought I could or should ride horses and care for them.  I have worked in public stables doing every aspect of horse care and being a trail guide.  I now own and manage a 13 acre horse farm including much of the maintenance.  It took years to prove myself but have finally gotten the respect I deserve.

I never thought I would drive. At my first visit with my low vision specialist, he asked me if I had ever thought or driving. I said yes but did not consider it possible. He told me about bioptic driving. You wear a pair of glasses with a telescope mounted on top which you use to see things like stop lights and signs. You also go through an extensive training program. I've been driving for four years now. Not all states have a bioptic driving program. A low vision doctor could tell you if yours does. He has to certify you to do it, plus prescribe the telescopic aid you should have, anyway.

I was told it would be nearly impossible for me to learn how to knit or crochet.  One needs to see the yarn and formation of the stitches in able to make anything.  However, I have accomplished both knitting and crocheting.  I now spend my evenings knitting away.  Dish clothes, towels, napkins, hats, a scarf or even a wrap or shawl.  Whatever strikes my mood or someone requests.  I can now sit in one spot for hours, instead of constantly getting up and down all evening.  It is quite enjoyable and relaxing.  But I must admit, knitting is definitely easier than crocheting, in my opinion.  Patience and determination are a necessity in conquering this leisure activity. However, it is well worth it.  There were many times I wanted to throw my knitting needles in the trash and give up!  At these moments, I'd call my partner in crime, who was also visually impaired.  She would give me a pep talk and away we would go again. 

I go to work, and just started a new job after being unemployed for 15-months. Back in the early 1990’s I was told by a retina doctor that I should not work. His opinion was that given my vision it just was not worth the effort to work. Needless to say, I did not go back to this doctor. I was upset with him and with vigor I expanded my world of adaptive technology and visited my Low Vision Specialist and added a hand held monocular, and several hand held magnifiers. As computers developed I tried various screen magnifiers and text to speech products. Currently I use ZoomText both at work and at home. I also have a desktop and portable CCTV and have an IPhone 4S with Read2Go. Accessibility is something I spend a lot of time researching. I believe my life is much better because of the advancements and am more than willing to use those products that add value to my daily experience.

I was told that I couldn't play golf without sight. Challenge accepted!  Joined the USBGA (US Blind Golf Association) and began competing in Regional Tournaments.  Found out the USGA (US Golf Association) created 3 rules modifications for blind and visually impaired players to compete by the same rules of golf as everyone else.  Joined a local group of seniors who didn't mind taking turns to line me up and tell me distances.  I credit them with the improvement of my play to where I won the USBGA National Championship!

run, two marathons and many half later I am still standing!

I think my hiking on a glacier was an unexpected activity when you consider my vision loss.

Here’s a picture of myself making a consumer run with ZoomText. I am wearing my “driving” glasses.c:\users\rwhite\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\temporary internet files\content.outlook\bs76ajti\061512lkugzt02edit.jpg

I was born in Miami Florida in 1960. I was diagnosed with Nystagmus (rapid eye movement due to low eye muscles) and nearsightedness in both eyes when I was three years old. I began wearing glasses at age four. An Ophthalmologist told my mother that my vision would not measure up to driving and live a normal life.

I was married in 1985. She accepted me as who I am instead of judging me of my impairments. We also brought a son into the world. She continues to bring such joy into my life.

Between jobs, I was recommended to participate in a low vision exam at the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The ophthalmologist made a recommendation on something that I thought would never happen, an opportunity to drive.

After passing a battery of exams at Ohio State University in February 2003, I participated in low vision driving training at the Vision Center of Central Ohio (now called Vision & Vocational Services) in May 2003, I became a licensed driver in October 2003. I wear a special pair of driving glasses (since 2004) that allows me to see objects such as street signs, traffic signals, and addresses. Most individuals who notice my glasses think I’m a jeweler.

When I lost most of my vision on 8th grade I didn't think I would be able to play my favorite sport any longer, last season as a sophomore I went out for the High School team and made it on my own merit as the coach did not know about my very low vision. My perseverance and listening skills have made my favorite game still possible.

I was told that I could not drive. However, at age 38, I obtained my Virginia driver’s license with the use of Bi-optic Telescopic Lenses. Granted my driving is mostly local, but it has been a real lifesaver for the past 20 years.

I learned how to drive a car.

I have been told that I would never be able to take care of myself for example I would not be able to cook for myself or to get around the city alone. Well I can cook not great but I do a good enough job for myself and I do get around town just fine. Being blind doesn't mean we can't live alone and take care of ourselves.

Thank you for the newsletter, these are always great reads.  I can't say enough on how much ZoomText has helped me in my job that requires using a computer all day.  

Here is a response to the question "What is one thing that you have been told that you could not do with your vision that you have overcome and did anyway?"

Since having Stephen's Johnson Syndrome as a 2-year old, I was always told my vision issues would prevent me from playing competitive sports.  I proved this wrong by playing 8 years of competitive travel soccer, 4 years of high school soccer, and the best was making my college varsity team and playing 2 years of college soccer.

My doctors said that I should not do close work, then they "knew I would not be able to use the computer," SURPRISE!  I am now retired and still using the computer.

My parents were indirectly told through the pity of their friends that I wouldn’t be able to have a normal life (i.e. get married, hold down a job, and be happy). Thankfully, my parents didn’t listen to them, and they treated me as much like a normally sighted child as possible, insisting that I go to college, pursue a career, and develop social skills. Yay for parents who believe in you! 

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