photo of Catalina

After being diagnosed with legal blindness at the age of 19, Catalina was first registered with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) in 1984. Struggling with her vision loss, she did not feel the need for services.

Fast forward to 2010, at the age of 45, Catalina inquired about services and met with a MCB Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor. In April of 2013, Catalina contacted her Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor at MCB and expressed that she finally felt ready to begin learning the use of the white cane. She decided as a recently single mom of two active boys who would be moving to a new school, coupled with her declining vision, she needed to learn to get around and “not to depend on them so much as they get older.” Throughout 2013, Catalina worked on visual and nonvisual travel techniques, with MCB’s Orientation and Mobility instructors, and now takes the city bus regularly. She is also taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes twice a week and volunteering in the school library.

Within her home, Catalina is now able to read the school notices as a result of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) that was provided by the MCB Assistive Technology department. Tactile markings, a low-vision kitchen timer, measuring cups and spoons allow her to prepare meals for her family. Bold-line paper enables her to write down grocery lists and manage her personal finances independently. These changes were made with the help of a Rehabilitation Teacher from MCB.

As a result, Catalina’s confidence level has increased significantly. Perhaps the best part is that Catalina is no longer feeling ashamed of being legally blind. She now feels empowered and is taking on the world with determination and enjoyment.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.