Age Is Just A Number | Learning After Vision Loss

After becoming legally blind at the feisty and fabulous age of 50, I thought there was no way in hell that I would be able to learn how to use my phone and computer in a different way – nor did I want to.

I was an old, I mean, mature dog, and I did not want to learn any new technology tricks! Nope, Nope, Nope. The terms voiceover, gestures, zoom, screen curtain, three finger triple tap, double tap, speaking rate, reader, invert color, smiling face with wide eyes and sweat drop, and many more, were confusing and overwhelming. Through a lot of turmoil and tears, and picking up my new iPad 1000 different times to give voiceover another try, I realized I had two choices.

One, I could just get comfortable with the fact that I can’t use my computer, iPhone, or new iPad and possibly become so pissed off at that “Siri” woman, that I would eventually track that bish down and strangle her. Or two, I could get uncomfortable and fight through the frustration and fear of learning – so I could stay connected to the world I knew. Obviously, I chose to get uncomfortable and fight.

I am now comfortable and proficient, well, proficient enough to do almost anything via the accessibility features and apps on my iPhone and iPad. I use the zoom and text to speech features on my desktop computer. Sure, I still get frustrated, but I am grateful for all that is available to learn and use, at any age, at any stage of vision loss.

The article below was originally published on Ophthalmic Edge and it really hit home for me as someone who lost her vision at a later age. If you are having a hard time adjusting and learning new technology tricks, you are not alone. Just know that life will be more enjoyable if you have the desire to pull up your big kid panties and commit to learning.

Because age is just a number. This I know.

LEARNING AT ANY AGE WITH VISION LOSS by Dorrie Rush

The path of least resistance is rarely the best route anywhere. There are untold rewards awaiting right outside the comfort zone. This is true for everyone, particularly as we age, and especially as we adjust to a visual impairment or legal blindness.

There is ample proof that physical fitness rewards us with multiple long-term benefits. Learning new skills is in fact, critical exercise for the brain. Just like weight training or cardio workouts, you will love how good it makes you feel.

Learning something new is a process we each have many personal references for. It is similar to our earliest learning experiences: learning to ride a bicycle, to swim, to skate or to play an instrument. At first, the prospect seems daunting.  You are inexperienced, wobbly and unsure. But the more you do it, the better you get. At some point, after a fair amount of practice, it becomes ingrained in your muscle memory. You can now do it without really even thinking about it too much. It has become second nature.

The way you approach learning can be applied to learning anything. For the purpose of adjusting to vision loss, let’s look at it as it pertains to technology. There is no good reason to give up the use of a computer, smartphone, or tablet because of a visual impairment. It means it’s time to learn a new way to use it, employing their built-in accessibility features.

Many people succeed in learning new things, and many don’t. There are 5 necessary elements to getting the job done and they do not require an inherent skill or aptitude. That means, saying you are not good with technology, for example, is not a valid excuse.

Here are the 5 key elements that converge in successful learners:

1. DESIRE

They possess a strong personal desire to learn something specific. They are not doing it because someone else wants them to. Learning to use an iPad is very broad and feels overwhelming. Learning to use an iPad for email, to read a book or a newspaper, is specific and manageable. It’s fine to want to learn more than one specific skill or application, but it is best to learn one thing at a time.

2. INSTRUCTION

They find tutorials or training. The options for instruction do not have to be structured or formal, they can be accessed by phone, online or in person.

3. COMMITMENT

They COMMIT to doing the work and get in for the longterm, determined to succeed.

4. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

They are willing to PRACTICE every day for 1-hour, minimum. No excuses. Repetition is pivotal to the process.

5. RESULTS

They get RESULTS.  Successful results are the foundation for more of the same.That’s the simple but winning strategy. Do not forget you have an impressive portfolio of successful learning to draw from.

 

The article written by Dorrie Rush (and featured image) was originally published on April 12, 2018 on Ophthalmic Edge.

2 Comments on “Age Is Just A Number | Learning After Vision Loss

  1. I’m definitely inspired at 78. I am not ready to give up.This article was most inspiring. More pleassse. 👍Thank you so much. Just what I needed tonite.😀

    Like

  2. Indeed. The day I stop learning is the day I die. I hope this finds you well, my friend! 😘🧡✨😘

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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