Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
V. L. F. S. A. D. I. = Hermit Syndrome:
Vision loss fosters fear, sadness, anger, depression and isolation developing the hermit syndrome.
Education and knowledge:
My process began when my eye doctor said, there is nothing more I can do. I fell into the progression of V. L. F. S. A. D. I. = the hermit syndrome. I acknowledged my vision loss with the fear of living as a blind person. I became sad then angry followed by depression. I started isolating from society. I became a hermit seldom leaving my one bedroom apartment. I call this pattern the hermit syndrome. I realized after 2 years of isolating I did not want to live in this manner anymore. I decided to become educated and knowledgeable about living with vision loss.
My life was not over. I had a choice of facing and dealing with my life or continuing to live a very lonely and depressing existence. I discovered I was not alone and other people found ways of living very productive and happy lives with vision loss. I wanted the same for my life.
Support and Therapy:
I soon understood I needed to develop a strategy for dealing with the emotions of vision loss. I needed someone to talk too. I needed my family, friends and possibly therapy.
Training and Self help:
My particular situation required extensive training. I knew I needed to attend a training center to learn the techniques needed to live independently. I have always had a very independent determination and knew I would benefit from self-help programs.
How can you discover your path to a more productive life?
A good place to start developing a life plan is the website called vision aware. The Partners for Sight foundation designed a one-stop website, which provides a comprehensive list of topics called Vision Aware. The vision aware site is sponsored by Readers Digest Partners for Sight Foundation. The foundation was founded to address issues for people facing partial or low vision conditions. The Vision Aware site has become a popular web and social networking site for all individuals dealing with vision issues and others affected by their situation.
Here is a list of the topics discussed on the site along with an explanation of each topic.
1. Finding help and resources provides links to rehab departments for each state, a list of organizations for training and vendors for visually impaired/blind technology/equipment
2. Coping with a vision challenge provides information for dealing with the emotions of coping with vision loss, family and friends, a list of personal success stories and support in the form of a list of support groups and blogs from people dealing with every aspect of vision. I enjoyed reviewing the list of blogs on the site, especially the one of a young journalism student attending the University of Illinois in my town of Urbana.
3. Learning about vision conditions and illnesses provides information concerning all areas of vision from learning the parts of the eye to vision illnesses.
4. Accessibility to training and technology provides links to different organizations, groups and state resources offering assistance for obtaining training for the visually disabled.
5. Managing the bodies other senses provides tips, techniques and practical exercises for learning to overcome vision loss using the bodies other senses.
6. Self help programs this section included a host of practical methods for dealing with vision issues that people can do to help themselves. I thought the information about orienting yourself with the rooms in your home was very well designed and helpful.
7. Help for family members, friends, and others offered great information for the visually affected person as well as other people influenced by their visual condition/illness. Topics like how to talk to family members who are over protective and try to do too much for you without hurting their feelings.
I also found information concerning legal rights, transportation issues, employment, eye doctors, sports and leisure ideas posted on the site.
The site is up to date, links work well and the pages load quickly. The website is designed to work with screen reader programs. I had no problems using my JAWS program to access information on the site. I am impressed with the vision aware site and recommend the site to anyone affected by a vision issue.