‘Blindness Doesn’t Mean Impossible:’ Support Group Helps People With Sight Loss Cope and Thrive | NanaimoNewsNOW
Leung said CNIB’s peer support programs helped him realize that losing his sight doesn’t mean losing his place in society.
“They talked to me about going back to school and meeting people who have done this stuff. It gave me a glimpse of hope showing me that it is possible.
Thanks to support groups that matched him with a “vision companion” to be his eyes while navigating his new life, and a new support dog, Leung was able to complete his education with a degree in counseling and started volunteering with CNIB.
“It was kind of a 180 degree turn, because I come from the Southeast Asian community where any type of disability…you don’t have much of a future, and that’s sort of so that’s where my beliefs came in. And then I was like, ‘Oh actually, that’s not true,’ and I wanted to preach the gospel to people in my community and tell them that’s not really the case.
Not being a CNIB Peer Supporter, Leung, along with his golden lab guide dog Elk, wanted to help people who were in a situation similar to the one he was in when he lost his sight for the first time.
“We live in a world where not everything is accessible, or where things need to be improved for people with vision loss, so a lot of time which can become a barrier. That’s where I come in and their let them know that they can learn things to improve their lives.They don’t have to feel so alone or isolated.
Shoko Kitano is CNIB’s Provincial Director for Western Canada and is herself legally blind, using a white cane to navigate.
She said they were thrilled to be back in person, as doing sessions like these were hardly of much benefit to those still adjusting to life without their vision.
“It’s mostly quality of life programs…we talk about accessible technology, we have peer support that’s mostly for people who are new to vision loss. People can meet other people who are in the same boat losing their sight and feel like they are not alone. »
She talked about their Come to Work program, where they reach out to employers to try to break down barriers and reduce the stigma around vision loss, so their participants can be ready for gainful employment.
“Meet other people in a community who also have sight loss, because it’s a very isolating experience to lose sight. And also to learn something that they can be independent… We really try to inspire and encourage everyone. Blindness does not mean impossible.
She said advances in technology have come a long way to help people with vision loss, with things like answering features on cellphones helping to level the playing field.
CNIB’s mobile center will be in Comox on Tuesday, October 4 and will be heading to Campbell River the following day.
For more information on CNIB programs and services, visit cnib.ca.
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