TRAVEL

Life with a Visual Impairment

Blindness or Visual Impairment

Kate Riordan

My story: "Katecantsee" but who cares

My name is Kate. I am a twenty year old college student from Cork in Ireland. I was born with Nystagmus, which is a visual impairment in which the eye moves uncontrollably leaving me legally blind. Doctors have told me I will never drive and school was an absolute nightmare.   

School was always difficult, especially when I was a child because I didn't understand why the other kids didn't have to walk up to the board to see what the teacher had written. As a result of my doing this I was teased quite a bit at school and was called things like "google" because of the eye movement. When I went on to further education the thought of having to use equipment at school was terrifying to me and I refused to use it for the first four years of my six year education. I have always been a very independant person and I believe that people with disabilities are helped the most by allowing them to choose when they are helped. Despite my disability my results in secondary school were the second highest in my year.

My Visual Impairment Doesn't Stop Me

Now, I am going into my third year at college and I am still stubbornly independent. I pride myself most on my independence as well as on my style despite being severely visually impaired. The only thing I will accept a great deal of help with is walking on uneven surfaces. Its a very scary thought to me to walk on uneven ground or to hike anywhere, it sends me into an irrational panic. This June myself, my boyfriend and friends went traveling around Europe (which as you can imagine is scary enough for the girl who trips up stairs that aren't there!) and we went to Zurich in Switzerland as one of our destinations.    When we were in Zurich we decided to get a cable car up one of the mountains. The whole time I was telling myself we would get the cable car back down too and I would not have to do the hike. That is not what happened when we got up!! I somehow decided that if I didn't do the hike now I would regret it for the rest of my life so, we hiked back down! It was probably one of the proudest moments of my life when I ran down the bottom of the hill having only tripped around four or five times (which is really good for the blind kid who can't walk through a normal field!). I now hope to do many more things like this in the future!

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