An Interview with Joy
Well, I’m 12. I go to Thoreau Middle School. I’m in seventh grade. I have two brothers, two dogs. My favorite color is purple, and I like horses.
What do you do for fun?
I like to ride horses, and I like to go to the beach. And I like to swim and listen to music, and I really like to hang out with my friends and do things together.
What do you feel you are good at and why? And how did you learn these skills?
Well, I play the piano and flute, and I’ve been taking flute and piano lessons for awhile. Well, piano and flute, in the beginning they were kinda hard to learn because I would have to memorize everything, but now, it’s kinda just—I’m used to it. That’s just my way of learning, and I guess I’m pretty good at playing those instruments.
What does it mean to you to have good literacy skills? Are you an avid reader and how did you get to be?
Well, having good literacy skills means just to be able to read and write on your level and just not letting blindness or anything stop you from doing that. And ya, I’m a very avid reader. I’ve loved to read for a long time, even though in the beginning I hated reading, but I really like it now, and I’m—I just—I read a lot, and I think it’s really fun.
An important goal is to travel independently. What goals are you and your instructor using this year to improve your travel skills and why?
Well, we have a lot of self-exploration lessons where I just go to somewhere unfamiliar and just try to explore and to figure things out and also to advocate for myself if I need help or if I’m getting too much help that I don’t need. For example, our last mobility lesson, we went on the bus to the Fairfax Circle and went to A C Moore, and I had to locate customer service and ask them for help to find what I needed, and we just—we’re still working on just exploring and getting the help I need.
What has made the most impact to help you have success academically?
Well, my family has always been really supportive, giving me help when I needed it or just going away when I didn’t need it. But also, I’ve always liked to learn so school never really seemed boring for me. It’s always kind of exciting to learn new things, and I know I set very high expectations on myself, so I wouldn’t ever say,”Oh, a B’s just good enough because I’m blind, and I’m not going to try any harder.” I’ve always tried to do the best I could at everything.
Tell us about the chores and responsibilities you have at home to help your family.
Well, I attended the Buddy Camp in Louisiana, and they taught me a lot, like I—I learned how to vacuum and mop and, well, clean the bathroom and wash dishes just—they just taught me a lot. Doing laundry, so right now at home, I do basically everything my brothers do, and even though it’s annoying, I guess I would rather be treated the same and have the same rights and responsibilities than having to do nothing just because I was blind. I really appreciated going to that camp.
What summer camp experiences have you had?
Well, I’ve been to a lot of Girl Scout Camps. There was one on horseback riding, and I participated in that. It was really fun because I could just ride and people would just tell me if I needed to turn or not. Also, our Girl Scout Troop has been camping, and we went to Camp High Roads, and there was a zip line and it was really high and it was really fun. And even when some of the guides who were there kind of doubted that I could do it, me and my friends were always like doing everything everybody else was. So I was participating and even if my friends weren’t there, I would have told them that I could have done it, and I also went to this camp where we did archery and canoeing, and it was really fun because canoeing we got really wet, and we got to just splash and have a lot of fun. And then archery, my friends just told me what to do, like aim and I could shoot it and so—there were just a lot of activities that—that were really fun and I really liked doing them.