Learning To Cope

It’s been nearly two weeks since I arrived at the School for the Blind for my week of training and support.  I’d meant to write up a post earlier than this, but I’ve been a busy body all this past week.

A good thing really!

I have people asking me what kinds of things visually impaired adults do at the School for the Blind. This post, I hope, will answer some of their questions.

The School for the Blind in Grand Forks (North Dakota) is mostly geared for school-aged kids but the ND Vision Services offers quarterly week-long training sessions for adults at the school each year.

Awesome’s my humble opinion.

What types of training do they offer for adults?

Well, when you first express interest in attending, you have the option of selecting any of (or all) the following six types of training/support:

Adjustment (coping skills, therapy, etc.)

Daily Living Skills (cooking, housekeeping, organization, etc.)

Technology (learn about all types of accessibility options with computers, phones/cells, etc.)

Orientation/Mobility (cane training, learning skills of getting around at home or in the community, etc.)

Braille

Vocation/Career (what’s out there for a visually impaired person, job training, career preparation, etc.)

 

The week began at 8:30am Monday; but first, I arrived there Sunday evening where I was greeted by the House Parent, Amy.  My “room” for the week was actually an “apartment.”

My “room” at the School

The School has two “apartments” reserved for teens where they can learn Independent Living Skills. They are equipped with a full kitchen, one bedroom, full bath, living/dining room which has an extra bed and TV w/ cable. I lucked out and was assigned to one of these rooms.

Awesome.

During the week, there’s a House Parent on duty between 3 and 11pm, and then another one for the overnight hours until the instructors arrive usually around 7am.

Each week day began with breakfast at 8am held in the large kitchen/dining area where in order to get there from your room is by maneuvering through a series of thinly carpeted hallways (in my mind have always been a sort of maze with strange series of tiled, checkered-style blocks at certain sections throughout each hallway).  But this time I learned their purpose! For an individual who’s completely/mostly blind, as he/she walks with the White Cane, each block signifies there is an office or room located at that area. And in order to know which room was which is by counting the blocks. Block #3 is the Technology room, or Block #4 is where the kitchen’s at.  When you cross an extremely large block, that means you’re at an intersection where two hallways meet.

You get the idea (I hope).

At the first/initial breakfast, you’d receive your scheduled classes for the week. For this day (Monday), you’d have an instructor aiding you to each class so you’d know where it’s located.  For the rest of the week, the help to each class gradually decreased until you are independently getting around to each class, meal, and your room.

This is the ultimate goal for all the training at the School…to enable a visually impaired person to become as independent and self-reliant as possible.

There are generally three classes in the morning, and three classes in the afternoon (each session is one hour long where you meet one-on-one with the instructor) running from 8:30am until 4pm with a lunch-break at 11:45.

My schedule was as followed:

8:30 Daily Living Skills

9:30 Technology

10:45 Mobility

11:45 Lunch

1pm Adjustment

2pm Daily Living Skills

3pm Technology

I opted out of the rest while the other attendees participated in all areas.

Dinner (set up by the House Parent) usually began around 5:45pm. The rest of the evening was your own time.

The classes were great, but for me, I absolutely enjoyed the interaction with the people (both the instructors and peers).

The first time I attended here was in June 2016 where there were seven of us total. This time there were just 3 of us.

Harley was the youngest at age 26. She completely lost her vision two years prior due to diabetes. This was her first time here.

Jewel was the oldest at 53, and as local, she’s a frequent visitor. She’s in the process of losing her sight also due to diabetes.

And of course, there was me, right smacked in the middle.

The camaraderie between the three of us was awesome and inspiring.

Just what I sorely needed.

The days were intense but fast. When Friday came, I found I wasn’t really ready to head home.

I felt safe here. I felt like I mattered. And the people I hung with truly get me whereas my family struggled to do just that.

But, I’ve learned new skills, and have been introduced to new possibilities that I’m truly excited about and hope to bring to fruition soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Write: Contest Winner Interview

coffee-and-writing

Why I Write

 

(*From late August through end of October, I ran a contest over at WritersCafe.Org called “Why I Write.”  The premise of the contest was to write a 250-word essay (or a poem) on why you write. For the next three Mondays, I will be presenting the winners’ interviews or posting their winning work.  Enjoy!)

 

Our 3rd place winner of the contest is known as WriterGirl247247 for her essay, Saved by Words.  You can check out her profile/other writings here.

 

  1. So, tell us a little bit about the piece you wrote, Saved by Words, for this contest.

My piece, Saved by Words, is the story of how I became a writer. I love nothing more than to create stories. But somewhere along the line my own story slipped through the cracks. So I decided to tell it, because I believe what I express in Saved by Words is felt by many writers.

 

  1. What else do you generally write?

I write mostly young adult adventure, suspense, spy thrillers, and science fiction. And when I can I like to throw in some humor and romance.

 

  1. How long have you been writing? What inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing since I was thirteen. Initially I channeled my creative side through drawing, but never saw myself becoming an artist. I always had stories inside my head since I was I kid and would use them when I drew. Then one day after school, a new idea hit me. Drawing wasn’t working, so I wrote. And I’ve been writing ever since.

 

  1. Tell us a little bit about your hopes and dreams as a creative.

Ideally I’d be a New York Times bestseller, and my books heading to the big screen. But most importantly, I want to create someone’s favorite character. To create someone’s favorite book. I want people to love my worlds as much as I do.

 

  1. Where else can we find you and your work?

I’m currently finishing the first book of a five book series, the idea that drove me to write. Most of my other work can be found under my Writers Cafe profile. I’m also working on the first of another series, Phantoms: The Lost One, which is also under my profile and contemplating publishing it.

 

3 Ways Blogging Helps Keep Your Dream Alive

  1. Blogging allows you to share your hopes and dreams with readers.  By sharing them with others, in essence, you are keeping your dreams alive.  It can also allow your readers to reciprocate by sharing theirs with you.  This brings me to the next point…
  2. Blogging helps build a support system.  When you connect with other like-minded individuals who are also struggling to realize their dreams, you form a support system to help encourage one another in hope of achieving them.  Isn’t it nice knowing that you’re not alone?  
  3. Blogging can help keep you accountable.  When you announce a particular goal to your readers,  don’t be surprised if they hold you accountable to fulfilling it!

 

Blogging and dreams

 

What about you?  Can you think of other ways blogging can help keep dreams alive?

 

A Call for Guest Posts (Do you have an inspiring story to share with others?)

guest blog

Are you in the Creative Arts industry (or you know someone who is) and have overcome difficult challenges (due to disability/disease/hardships) to achieve a specific dream?   I’d love to hear your story!  Go to the Contact page and send an overview of what you like to share with readers who may be struggling themselves to give them hope in that they too can achieve their dreams.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Juke Pop Serials and Chronicles of the Claus (making a case for writing web serials)

f9c7728f3768ec3aaf8e6cc0bd8edce5

JukePop

For those who write web serials, you’re probably familiar with Juke Pope Serials.   If not, read on.

“Reinventing the Book Publishing Model” (taken directly from the Juke Pop’s website:

“JukePop was formed to help publishers better locate new emerging talent by nurturing talented writers that are often uneconomical for major publishing houses to handle. JukePop serves as a content incubator, allowing publishers, to glean the “right” books from its trove. The platform pro-actively and constantly tests readers of a specific demographic to gauge the acceptance (or not) of individual books. JukePop also provides the individual writer with access to publishing channels for his/her work. Unlike conventional and other ePublishers, JukePop’s distribution begins as soon as a writer completes his first chapter. In terms of literary content, JukePop is rejuvenating the lost art of the serial pioneered at the dawn of publishing, when authors such Charles Dickens reached mass audiences by serializing novels a chapter at a time in newspapers that nearly everyone could afford.”

To read more on how Juke Pop Serials work, check out the link: How It Works

Writing web serials isn’t for every writer.  I write them as a way of creating a book one chapter at a time while receiving feedback from readers as to what works or what doesn’t work.  It’s also a good way of testing certain ideas or story-lines  ahead of  time to gauge the readers’ readiness to embrace them.  There are several formats to have your web serial presented to the public (aka readers).  You can post the chapters on a blog, or go through sites such as Wattpad.  You can submit to Web Fiction Guide to have your serial listed to make it easier for readers to find your story.  You can also use Juke Pop Serials which I’ve decided to give it a try with my current web serial, Chronicles of the Claus.

The challenge?  Like televised series, a serial on Juke Pop needs to receive enough votes from the readers in order for it to continue.  And for those serials whose stories are hot, Juke Pop will reward the authors.

I submitted the first chapter for Chronicles of the Claus to Juke Pop a few weeks ago, and it was accepted.  The first two chapters have been published on their website and I’m looking for readers’ votes to help keep my serial alive 🙂

To read the first chapter, here’s the link: The Last Normal Day

If you’re a writer and would like to give this a try: About Juke Pop Serials

Spread the word!

 

//