A day in the life of a visually impaired teen

My name is Da'Nyah and I'm visually impaired. I know what you’re thinking: how do I get through my day, and how do I live my life? Well, I'm going to take you through a typical school day, complete with all of its ups and downs.
I start my day by waking up at 6 a.m. My mom double checks my outfit to make sure it matches because the night before, my sister helped me to put out my clothes. I can see shadows of colors, so I can tell the difference between, say, a white and black polo shirt, but I can’t tell the difference between a navy blue shirt and a black one.

Before I leave the house, I pick out my shoes. I keep them in specific areas of a shoe rack so I know which pair is which one. Since I wear the same type of shoes (Nikes), they all feel the same, so it’s important that I keep them in specific spots so I don’t pick the wrong ones.

Next, I take my morning medicine. Since some of my meds are the same shape, I keep them in a specific order and bottles. Some bottles are taller than others, so that’s another way I can keep track.

My mom drops me off at school. On this particular day, I got to school early so I could attend a National Honors Society meeting, where I signed up to run for office.

After the meeting, I went to my first class of the day, which was college journalism.  This class is particularly easy for me because I enjoy writing and I can do most of my work in braille. I complete my assignments on an electronic tablet called a BrailleNote. The tablet has a refreshable braille display, meaning that as I type, the characters move on the screen.

Once my assignment is typed, I can print it to a dropbox, where my Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Mrs. Biddle, can copy the writing into the correct format and submit it to my teacher.

My next class is Senior Life. In this class, we discussed financial aid for college. I'm currently planning on attending college, but I'm having a difficult time deciding which college I want to go to and which would have great accessibility services. 

After that is a study hall period, where I spoke to my Business Professionals of America advisor about officer screening. I really enjoy this organization and the fact that I am showing everyone that despite my visual impairment, I'm more than capable of holding a leadership position.

Some of my proudest accomplishments in BPA are holding the office of president for two years and the two inventions I have created to help the visually impaired. I hope to take one of them, Color Tags, to production in the next year.

After this, I went to A Capella choir, of which I'm vice president. We practiced all of our songs to perfect them for our concert to be held that night. When it comes to singing, I listen to the words and notes a few times and then I am able to sing each song. All of my music is learned using just my ears to listen and memorize the notes.

Next, I went to math class. This is probably one of my harder classes because I learn everything auditorily. I then have a scribe write the answers I give them on my paper. My one-on-one aide used to scribe for me, but since I’m trying to be more independent, I now work with another student in class, and she scribes for me.

For the next class period, I just relax because I have College Credit Plus (CCP) classes online. Any other day, I am working on my BrailleNote to complete assignments that are then sent to Mrs. Biddle. She then formats, spell checks, and uploads them to be graded.

For seventh period, my Vision Specialist comes and we work on assistive technology, mobility, accessibility of class assignments, and Braille. She comes four days a week to work on these things with me. 

For my last period of the day, I might be working on various assignments, but on this particular day,  I went to Great Lakes Visual & Performing Arts Academy choir. We also practiced and ran through our song for that night’s concert.

After school I then attended drama club rehearsal. I'm a part of the costume crew in which I use my visualization skills to help pick out costumes. I have my other costumers describe the costume that they have put together for each actor and then I tell them anything I think might look better or anything they can add to it.

Lastly, I went to help set up for my choir concert. I worked with my other officers to set up and warmup. 

Although I'm visually impaired, my day looks much like others’ days, except with some modifications. I work hard to not let my disability limit me and my abilities and in day to day life. I strive to represent differences and show that anyone can do and overcome anything as long as they set their mind to it. 

Da’Nyah Porter is eighteen and a senior in high school. After graduation, she plans to attend college and major in psychology. She loves to help others and loves spending time with her family. Da’Nyah strives to be the best version of herself and not let her blindness hinder her or hold her back.