At NFB -National Convention at six years old. Raveena, telling jokes and describing the BELL program. 

The NFB BELL Academy—which stands for NFB Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning®—is a nationwide summer program offered by the National Federation of the Blind that prepares blind and low-vision children, ages four through twelve, to grow into confident and independent blind people who live the lives they want.

Raveena Speaking at National ConventionRaveena Speaking at National Convention at 6 years old-Watch this video of an incredible young lady who is now entering High School due to learning Assistive Technology, Braille and Cane skills.

Tasha and Denise smiling
Tasha and Denise smiling

My name is Tasha and I was born in Ukraine. As a child I came to the United States at the age of eight with my family. I was born with an eye condition called “Morning Glory”, in one of my eyes, leaving me with only one functioning eye. At the age of 15, I lost sight in my good eye. It happened overnight and was caused by a brain tumor called an Optic Nerve Glioma. Life took on a different meaning. I was devastated but I was also determined that life had to go on. This meant I had to learn to adapt to a new lifestyle as a blind person.

My teacher of the blind, Dr. Denise Robinson, taught me many skills.  She helped me to learn to navigate technology as a blind person.  I have her to thank for the skills I have today and even in this challenging time my life began to expand. With these skills I could complete the same tasks as my classmates using a lap-top computer. Dr. Robinson taught me how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook and so much more.

Tasha listening to work on computer with Jaws screen reader
Tasha listening to work on computer with Jaws screen reader

The world of the Internet also had a major impact on my life. Through various social media platforms, I could connect with friends and family. After school I took the skills I had acquired and utilized them at my job. I ran a small spa business in Everett, Washington, for eight years. With the help of my computer I could keep inventory, shop for products online, write invoices, keep track of SOAP charts for each client. I could even keep up with my continuing education requirements by completing classes online.

An I-Phone has been another essential tool for my everyday life. With the help of Voiceover, I make phone calls, check bank statements, emails and most importantly keep up with Facebook (lol). Technology empowers me to live a successful life as a blind person. I cannot imagine my life without technology.  Many thanks again to Dr. Denise Robinson, a fantastic teacher and a great friend.  Love Always, Natalya Budnik

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Michael running in a race with a  big smile

My name is Michael and I am from Beijing China; but now I live in the United States, and I am blind. I have been using mainstream technologies for almost 10 years now. With specialized adaptive technology I’m able complete the same tasks as my sighted peers in school. These tasks include reading and editing documents in word; downloading books from Bookshare; creating PowerPoint presentations; plotting points on graphs in Excel and so much more.

Without access to this technology and instruction in the technology, people like me are unable to perform these tasks. Technology has played a tremendous role in my life. If this technology did not exist, I would not be able to keep up with my peers with any efficiency.

 

Accessing his Life in all ways