It is the start of September which means two things: 1) summer is almost over, and 2) it’s officially back-to-school season. It’s the time of year when millions of students across the nation are returning to elementary, middle, and high schools. It’s also the perfect time of the year for me to introduce you to a former student of mine, Michelle. Michelle graduated from high school in June and is now attending a local community college as a freshman. She knows firsthand what the journey from kindergarten through high school can be like for students who are blind or visually impaired. Michelle understands the journey can include academic challenges, awkward social situations, apprehension, frustrating experiences, and overwhelming decisions. She also realizes school experiences can even cause feelings of loneliness, denial, and disappointment.
As a high school graduate, Michelle recognizes that beyond the frustrations and challenges that students might have in school lie accomplishments and exciting moments for those students who persevere, are motivated and self-determined. Michelle credits her thirteen years of experience in school for shaping her into the person she is today. “The challenges I had were instrumental in helping me learn how to advocate for my needs, strive for what I want and to become more accepting of my disability”.
As Michelle embarks on her new journey into college, she took time to reflect on her earlier school career to share her story with AFB’s readership of parents of children who are blind or visually impaired, students who are blind or visually impaired, teachers of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialists, etc. Michelle’s hope is the parents, instructors, counselors, etc. who read her story will learn from her personal experiences and find something positive to impart on a student who is blind or visually impaired. Her greatest hope is students reading her story will aspire to learn from and not be defeated by their own personal challenges in school as a student who is blind or visually impaired. Michelle knows that students like her who choose to learn from their experiences will achieve greatness this school year and beyond.
Read more about Michelle’s journey from kindergarten through high school.
Be sure to visit the FamilyConnect website again later this fall to learn about Michelle’s experiences as a freshman in college.