I am visually impaired and i can still work!
When you are diagnosed with an eye disease that happens to be degenerative like Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) its important I think to understand that although you will progressively lose your sight, that doesn’t mean you will lose the ability to work but you will find talents inside of you that were unknown to us that will help us adjust to the new reality you face until there is a cure for your eye disease.
There will be a way to earn a living as you used to do before you were told you were visually impaired/had low vision. Let me put an example of something I have witnessed myself, Some visually impaired people that have worked as sales people all of their lives can at some point be told they no longer can sell services to clients in the same way they used to when they had better eyesight but they still can sell services in a different way.
I have heard of bosses saying we, the visually impaired who need a cane to walk and go places are no longer a good asset to a company because when a visually impaired sales person goes to see a new potential client the client may feel the services the sales person is offering are weak and not powerful enough because the sales person cant even see much so how can he know or show the product or service?
Other bosses say the visually impaired person may give the idea to customers that he or she is not going to be able to help them as much as a sighted person can and even some say that being visually impaired adds you some age in the eye of the customer your serving.
However the visually impaired have abilities and talents like any sighted person and our disability doesn’t stop us from achieving any goals the company that hired us needs.
Definitely not everyone reacts in the same way to something like “You cant sell our service/product door to door ANYMORE” and furthermore some people have some skills and others have different ones. So some blind and low vision people can develop easily ways to learn to be very confident and self-sufficient and learn technical skills to show something even if they cant see it much and still convince the other party to buy the product or service.
Some visually impaired people will prefer to avoid dealing with this situation and ask the boss to send them to a different position like telephone Marketing, Online Marketing including Social Networks where they can show excellent skills and they only need a computer with either a screen magnifying software or a screen reader and a good Operative System such as MAC or WINDOWS SEVEN that are helpful for the blind.
And other people with low vision may go into being a spokesman/spokeswoman for a cause they care such as working for an organization that raises money and awareness to find cures for eye diseases. Also other low vision people or blind individuals choose to become a writer, teachers or motivational speakers where their skills are best served.
We, the visually impaired can go into those jobs or any other job, we can do most tasks any sighted person can just in a different way, sometimes in a very creative way.
Sighted people often say we are wonderful workers because not only we are used to sacrificing a lot and never taking anything for granted but we also realize we don’t have too many options when it comes to finding a job so we work extremely hard and we appreciate every day we can serve the company that hired us.
So next time you have a blind or visually impaired job candidate infront of you, please give us the same chance that you give to others, analyze our Curriculum and our skills and abilities and choose the best candidate for your organization based on merits ONLY.
We all deserve the same opportunities and we all have the same rights and as a visually impaired person I just want to remind everyone of that fact.
I hope many companies and organizations in the United States and everywhere else in the world will take note and start hiring more and more and more of us without pre-judging us and our abilities only because we happen to have a disability.
We all human beings have a lot of abilities just let us show them to you, that’s all we are asking for…
Alvaro Gutierrez Castillo.
Founder, Low Vision Bureau
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