As I continue working my way through a graduate program to become a teacher of the visually impaired I often ask, “What would I be doing if it weren’t for Eddie?” Here I am pursuing a career I didn’t even know existed until Eddie was born. When I received a secondary teaching certificate nine years ago, there was no way I would have ever gone into special education. I thought I didn’t have enough patience, enough experience, or enough understanding of disabilities to work with children in special education regularly.
Here I am, three kids and a few years later, heavily involved in this field. What I think happened, is that Eddie took away my “fear factor.” I didn’t know any children with disabilities, had never interacted with any, and really didn’t understand that they are just kids. Isn’t that the truth? They are just kids and it takes really knowing one to grasp that knowledge. Now I’m so excited to spend my days working with children that have become so endearing to me.
On top of my schooling, I also find myself blogging to people like me for Family Connect (which I feel SO lucky to be doing) and I am often given opportunities to attend events that constantly keep me connected to the field of educating those with visual impairments. Probably 90% of my time spent not with my children is spent thinking about or learning more about visual impairments and blindness. Really, what would I be doing without Eddie?
I think I would ultimately be unfulfilled. I have developed such a fondness for this field, and for the people I’ve met through it, that I cannot imagine being without it. From experience, I can say that parents of children with visual impairments are so blessed. They are surrounded by a population of highly educated professionals that are passionate about their children and really care about improving their futures.
For those of you that haven’t had an opportunity to meet any of the leaders in the field of visual impairments; know that you are in good hands. I find comfort in the fact that even if I hadn’t been pursuing this education, many others spend their time looking out for Eddie. They don’t know him personally, and they often work behind the scenes, but their continuous research and support will assure that all students with visual impairments are not overlooked and that they deserve the same opportunities as all children.