Read Dana Corbett's blog below. She has a nice message: "Every week, I learn more and believe it or not, some of my progress is even faster by distance than in Apeldoorn because I have the tools and I can work on it when I want.”
"I spent the first 39 years of my life with better than average vision. In August of 2019, I lost a significant portion of my vision, namely the entirety of my left eye went dark and I had only 70% vision in my right eye. Thanks to my prolific eye disease, I have lost profoundly more vision. I, now, sit with only 20% sharpness and 7% field of vision, if I am in low-light, in my right eye. As soon as I started losing vision, I thought, “Right, now I have to do something to be able to find myself again.” My family doctor pointed me toward Visio, and I was referred to the intense rehabilitation center known as Visio het Visio Het Loo Erf .
My journey with Visio Het Loo Erf began in the 2nd week of January 2020. The rehabilitation is intense at the center. Every day from 8:30 until 17:00, I had classes to help me learn how to live my life with freedom, independence, and self-assurance. I was finding me again! Yay! Progress was going quite well, I was learning Braille, how to navigate and get where I wanted to be, how to utilize narration programs (Jaws/Fusion), the Dutch language (that’s a whole new experience learning a language when you can’t see), and much more.
This is quarantine, not a vacation
Then, Corona happened. My last day at Visio Het Loo Erf , before quarantine, was 13 March. I remember thinking that we would be quarantined for a while, so, I made sure to bring home my learning materials. I wanted to be able to self-study. My first week of quarantine was spent using the same roster that I had already been given, but just doing it myself. I had a call from my coordinator asking if I was interested in distance learning. I said, “Absolutely! I am already doing it myself, to a degree. This is quarantine, not a vacation. Rehabilitation isn’t something I’m required to do for work or school; it is something I’m doing to find me again.”
I used what I had already learned from my time at Visio Het Loo Erf to download a demo of the Jaws software on my computer. Thanks to LSBS and their generosity, I quickly received a laptop and an iPhone so that I could easily navigate distance learning. My trainers sent instruction manuals and books digitally, which I was able to follow through Jaws narration. By the end of the first week, I already had homework done that I sent to my trainers.
At the start of the 3rd week, my trainers began giving normal lessons via Zoom, whatsapp, or phone. I get a new roster every week and the majority of my goals are achievable through distance learning. I am quite impressed how easily and quickly Visio has adapted, in this strange time. Every week, I learn more and believe it or not, some of my progress is even faster by distance than in Apeldoorn because I have the tools and I can work on it when I want.
My coordinator and my trainers are all very accessible and have found ways to give instruction and advice despite not being physically in the same vicinity. There are of course topics that are impossible during quarantine, such as the goal of going to Utrecht Central and navigating to get a coffee then returning. However, most things are not just doable, they are successfully achievable.
What do you have to lose?
Maybe, because I achieved my doctorate via distance learning, it is a bit easier for me. Yet, I find that most of my friends from Visio Het Loo Erf are also saying that they find the distance learning quite good and are happy with their own progress. Don’t be afraid to try distance learning, even if you aren’t quick with computers or feel insecure. What do you have to lose? Worst case scenario, you get frustrated. Best case scenario, you make progress and feel proud of yourself. Of course, I look forward to going back to Apeldoorn, but for now, this way of doing things is also working."