Happy Thanks Giving and What I’m Thankful For Part 3

by Chelsey Zumpano

I’m writing this while the delicious smell of turkey fills my house. Here’s another list of what I’m thankful for.

1 I’m surrounded by a loving family. My family is all healthy and happy.

2 My animals may drive us all crazy sometimes, but I love them anyway.

4 That I have a ruth over my head and food to eat.

5 I’m thankful for this Blog and YouTube and that I’m able to educate and help people with every new post.

6 I’m thankful for every new follower, like, subscriber, comment, and share.

7 I’m thankful for my vision and the fact that being legally blind means I get to help others in our community.

8 My cane helps me get around and for people to recognize me as blind.

9 My coping skills for my anxiety is something I’m extremely grateful for.

10 The fact I will be applying for a guide dog very soon.

Tell me what your thankful for in the comments.

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:


Books Bring Joy!

by Chelsey Zumpano

Everyone knows I’m a major bookworm, but did you know that November is Family literacy Month! In addition to reading us stories my mom told us stories like ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ but with us as the characters. I was so into stories that I use to talk to myself about what I did that day to help myself fall asleep.

Some books that stick out to me from when we were little are this one about to little cats who were expecting a little sibling and my mom read this to me and my twin brother before my sister was born. There were more like ‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie,’ ‘If You Give A Pig A Pancake,’ ‘The Old Woman Who swallowed A Fly,’ ‘the Little Woman Who Lived In A Shoe,’ ‘Ramona Quinby,’ ‘Junie B Jones,’ and much more! One of the first ever Audio books I’ve read was ‘Sarah Plain and Tall’ and from there I was hooked on Audible! I grew to fall in love with reading and eventually I read ‘Harry Potter’ in braille. In seventh grade my mom read me ‘Twilight’ and I fell in love with Stephenie Meyer’s world. ‘Twilight’ helped me through my eye surgery I had that year by giving me a chance to get out of my head and into Bella’s for awhile.

After that I read ‘The House of Night series’ ‘percy Jackson and The Olympians,’ leading me to fall in love with the rest of Rick Riordan’s books.

Books have shaped me so much that I’ve written some of my own that you will hopefully see soon. So read to your kids and you’ll never know how it could shape their life.

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:


Meet the Blind Month: Amanda’s Life.

By Amanda Gene 

I was asked by Chelsey, who runs the blog, VIBlindResources, to join in her project meet the blind month.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Amanda Gene. I’m 30 years old, I have a Bachelors of Arts in Print Journalism with a minor in Professional Education. My blog, www.amandagene.com has been going strong for nine years and it covers a variety of disability topics, day in the life, ect.

I have an eye condition called Congenital Nystagmus which I have had since birth. My vision is like looking through a piece of Saran Wrap. My vision is at its strongest in the morning, and it deteriorates through the day. I have Night Blindness and was diagnosed with it in 2011. I noticed my Night Blindness in the spring on 2008 on my senior trip to Disney World, but I was not sure if it was stress or something else. So, the next time I saw my eye doctor I asked about my symptoms and was told I had Night Blindness. My Night Blindness has been fluctuating recently. Sometimes I can see just fine, sometimes I can see just light and shadows and on really bad night’s I can’t see anything at all. 

I use some assistive technology aids to help me live as a normal life as I possibly can. I use a screen reader called ZoomText to help me see my computer. Kurzweil 3000, to help read books, emails, and other printed material. I have a talking book player and I’m signed up with BookShare.org to access books in audio format. I have my Apple Iphone 6 S plus with voice over and speak tool to access my emails, text messages, ect. Lastly, I have the Amazon Echo to help me with looking up recipes, to check the time, to check my spelling of words when I am writing, and the list to keep up with my To-Do lists and my shopping lists.

In the kitchen I have a talking thermometer, a black/white cutting board and long oven mittens. 


Places you can find me:

www.AmandaGene.com  Blog

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7ecLXRimvYFUZJ9WYYXXw/featured?view_as=subscriber -YouTube

https://www.pinterest.com/amandagenenelso/ Pinterest  

https://twitter.com/AmandaGeneN Twitter 

https://www.instagram.com/amandanelson88/ Instagram 

amanda@amandagene.com Email 

https://www.facebook.com/AmandaGeneN/ Facebook 

If you would like to be apart of meet the blind month, please email either a blog post of five minute video to Chelsey by October 13.






Raised by Visionally Impaired Parents: An Interview with Glin from Well Eye Never!

by Chelsey Zumpano

Glin is a fellow Blogger and YouTuber, he’s also visionally impaired, but unlike me he has been raised by parents who also happend to be visionally impaired. So I asked him some questions about what it was like growing up.

1 Do you have the same visual impairment as your parents and either way what is the name/names of it?

I have the same conditions as my mother – aniridia and nystagmus. Aniridia means I don’t have an iris (the coloured circle) in my eye, so my eyes don’t adjust to changes in light properly. As a result, I’m very sensitive to glare and I find it hard to adjust in the dark. Nystagmus means my eyes shake and wobble all the time. This makes it harder for me to focus on things, unless they’re close up or enlarged.

My mother’s sight got a lot worse over time, so it’s possible mine could too. But so far it’s been quite stable and I can still see reasonably well.

My father’s visual impairment was caused by a rare condition called Behcets disease, which also affected his blood flow and immune system. But I didn’t inherit that. His sight was a bit better than my mum’s, although still not great.

2 Did your parents have different techniques for raising you (particularly when you were a baby and toddler)?

Not really, they raised me like any parent would, as far as I remember. They were very independent and able to look after themselves and me very well, so we were quite a normal family. We did have support from social services in terms of getting help with any equipment or adaptations we might need, but for general child-raising my parents were no different to any others at the end of the day. They were loving and supportive and encouraging like all parents should be.

3 Do you have any siblings and if not do you wish you did?

No, I’m an only child. It meant I got all the attention, as my parents looked after me well, so I was happy with that! It still could have been nice to have a brother or sister to play with, especially when I was struggling to make friends at school to begin with. But I got used to being an only child and was comfortable with it. And once I did start to make friends at school and gradually become more confident, the lack of a sibling didn’t matter.

4 Did your parents visual impairments help you to accept that part of yourself more easier?

It helped a lot, yes. The very first school I went to was a mainstream school, so I was around kids who weren’t disabled. I was bullied there because of my visual impairment, and the teachers didn’t know how to help. So going back home to my parents was a great comfort, because they knew what it was like for me, and I felt safe and happy with them. If they had been normal sighted and not understood, it could have been even more difficult for me, as I didn’t know any other visually impaired people at that stage. So I was glad and grateful that they did understand and knew how to support me.

And as soon as they saw I was being bullied, they moved me to a new school as quickly as they could. They found a special school for children with visual impairments, which proved to be much better for me. It still took me a while to build up my confidence, but whenever things were tough I always knew my parents would be there for me. And as I grew up they were able to show me how to do things independently despite my sight loss. So they helped me a great deal.

5 What’s your favorite memory growing up with your parents?

Family holidays. We would visit London a few times each year, to stay with my grandparents and see my aunt and uncle, and go out and about in the city. We’d go to museums, have walks by the Thames, explore the shops, go to musicals at the theatre, enjoy pantomimes at Christmas, etc, and we even did a few day trips to the coast of France as well. Where we used to live there wasn’t much to do, so coming to London was always a wonderful treat, as there’s so much going on here.

These days, my mother and I now live in London, in the house we inherited from my nan. Moving in felt very natural, because I’d already spent so much time here growing up, so it already felt like a second home. Being here brings back a lot of fond memories.

6 What are some different ways you traveled as a family?

My parents couldn’t drive, so in our local area we used buses to get around, or taxis if it was more convenient. And when we travelled longer distances, especially to London, we used the train. We would get a train that went straight through if possible, so we didn’t have to get off and change trains along the way. In London itself we mainly used the Underground trains (the Tube) to get around, but occasionally we would use the buses, or my aunt and uncle would drive us to places.

7 Did you ever think that there was anything different about your parents?

I knew my parents found it harder to do some things than other people did, and I understood that, because I was the same as them. And I also knew we weren’t ‘normal’ compared to most other people, because of all the normally sighted children I saw at my first school, and normal sighted adults I’d met as well. I just couldn’t understand why people like the bullies had a problem with it, until I got older and realised they simply didn’t understand and had issues of their own that they needed help for.

8 Did seeing your parents do things independently help you to be confident in doing those things yourself?

Yes. It was comforting to know that they were able to do things, because that meant I would also be able to, and they could help me if I needed it. They always found a way of doing the things they needed to do, so they were able to show me how to be independent, and they helped me to understand that most things are possible, even if you have to do them a bit differently to other people. And I still have that attitude today. If something seems hard, I always take a step back and try to think if there are better ways of achieving it, because there often is.

9 Did your parents use a cane or guide dog and do you have any favorite memories of that?

They didn’t use either. For quite a while my dad could just see well enough to navigate without an aid, so Mum would go out with him and be guided by him, instead of going out alone. And then as I got older, I became a guide for my mum and dad as and when necessary, because I have the best sight of all of us. And I still take my mum out now, she doesn’t go out on her own.

10 Did your parents use any assistive technology?

Yes. They had a big CCTV magnifier for reading things, a monocular (a little telescope) for looking at things when out and about (e.g. signs, bus numbers, train information, etc), and they used gadgets like talking scales in the kitchen, talking watches and talking clocks, a talking calculator, a talking tape measure, etc. And they loved listening to audiobooks too.

Another gadget they had was a Penfriend, which was a device shaped like a fat pen. It came with small labels that you could stick on things. You would record a message for each label, to describe the object that it was attached to, and then scanning the label with the pen would play the message back. It came in useful for Dad to identify his DVDs for instance, as we could stick a label on to each of the cases and make a short recording saying what it was.

So my parents did find talking technology very useful, and indeed my mother still does, as she has a Victor Stream Player for listening to audiobooks and the radio, and we have Amazon Echo machines that we can talk to. But we also use simple solutions like Bump ons, which are small raised dots that you can stick things. They’re useful on appliances like the cooker and washing machine where you have to turn dials, as you can put these dots on the numbers you most commonly use, and then you can feel when you’ve turned the dial to the number you want.

11 What’s your favorite advice your parents gave you about your visual impairment?

It was their general attitude rather than a particular piece of advice that stuck with me and inspired me. They had a very positive outlook on life and always encouraged me to try the things I wanted to do, because there’s always a way of achieving what you want to achieve. So I’ve had that mindset for a long time, particularly as my confidence has grown. I don’t let things get me down too much, I try my best at things, and I grasp opportunities when they arise. You only live once, so enjoy it and make the most of it as best you can.

12 What advice do you have to kids of parents with disabilities and to parents who have disabilities?

To the children I would say don’t worry that your parents are disabled. They are still normal people, they just have to do things a bit differently sometimes. It doesn’t mean they can’t look after you and care for you, and they can still enjoy themselves. They will still love you and support you and do everything they can for you, so that you can be happy and have fun and be successful. And you’ll learn a lot from them too, about how to be independent and make the most of what you have, which will be very important for later life. So you’ll be fine. Many of my visually impaired friends had visually impaired parents, and they’ve been very happy and successful, it’s not held them back.

Likewise to the parents I would also say don’t worry. Being disabled doesn’t stop you from being good parents and helping your child to live a fulfilling life. If you need help and advice along the way, then there’s lots of information and support out there. You may have social services and disability groups in your local area that can help you, there will be national charities that can advise and assist you, and you may be able to get funding for certain items of equipment or assistive services if you need it. And of course there is a wealth of information on the internet, from blogs and Youtube videos where people post about their experiences and give useful tips and advice, to Facebook groups where you can join in with community discussions and ask questions. So you’re definitely not alone. It may be tough sometimes, of course, but the support is out there, so make sure you seek it out and use it.

Blog and social media links:

Blog – https://welleyenever.com

Youtube – https://youtube.com/c/WellEyeNever

Twitter – https://twitter.com/well_eye_never

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/welleyenever/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/welleyenever/

Email – welleyenever@icloud.com

If you would like to contribute to this blog or YouTube channel, please email: viblindresources@gmail.com

My True Story Growing Up Being Visionally Impaired

By Chelsey Zumpano

This post is in response to an article that was supposedly talking about 15 amazing facts about blind people, but it was very negative and generalized us! I hate when people generalize a group of people! Just because we are blind or visually impaired doesn’t mean we are all the same! Instead of going off on a rant on how bad this article was, I’m going to tell you about my experience being visually impaired

Chelsey and Clint in the hospital hooked up to IVs and breathing tubes.

My eye condition is called retinopathy of prematurity, (ROP). Me and my twin brother, (Clint), were born at 25 weeks, so we were micro preemies. I was 1 lb. 6 oz. and my brother was 1 lb. 12 oz. ROP has to do with your Retina and I have a fully detached retina in my right eye and a partially detached retina in my left eye. This means I have low vision in my left eye and zero vision in my right. To learn more about my vision watch my video ‘WHAT CAN I SEE/WHY DO I WEAR GLASSES?‘ I also have a fake eye that is on top of my right eye because it is tiny and didn’t develop, so the eye is there that way my eye stays open, it’s also there to keep my face from drooping and so I can still use my facial muscles on that side.

Chelsey is on the left and Clint is on the right. They are both bald.(Picture when we first came home from the hospital).

Clint came home at three months, while I came home at six months because I had more health problems.

Chelsey and Clint wearing birthday hats and sitting in high chairs.

(pictures from our first birthday).

I grew up and went to school like everyone else because that’s the thing I am like everyone else, but I just happen to have a disability. I never felt like I stood out or was invisible because of my visual impairment and I was never bullied. I learned how to ride a bike, a dirt bike, how to drive a go cart, and skateboard just like my twin brother Clint. I made friends, although I was never the most social person around.

Clint and Chelsey wearing tiny graduation hats.

(Picture from preschool graduation).

I went to mainstream school through my entire schooling: I had aids to help me out in class where I needed it. I started to learned braille when I was in first grade, so when the other students were learning grammar and writing I got taken out to learn Braille. I took regular classes like everyone else, I just had extra time on tests, shortened math assignments because I read that in large print and that straines my eyes, I took tests in another room that way could be read aloud to me because I learned better this way. I was able to do all this because I had an IEP, (individualized education plan), which helps kids with disabilities get accommodations for school.

I started learning how to use a cane when I was in fourth or fifth grade and first I only used it when I went on orientation and mobility, (which is when I went out into the community to learn how to find my way around, learn walking routes, learn how to ask for shopping asistants), It wasn’t until six grade when I started at a new school that I started using my cane at school, then it wasn’t until I was in high school that I started using my cane all the time.

I was embarrassed because I felt like everybody was staring at me, but my aid helped me realize that the cane was there to help me and that most people recognized a cane for what it is.

I was able to navigate school by practicing the route to my classes on the brakes before the semester’s begin again. I knew of certain landmarks, I counted the doors, and I always went the same way to my class.

In fifth grade I ran for student council, I made a speech and presented it in front of our school. I was pretty good at memorizing it, (still am). Talking in front of people was nerve-racking. But I did it and became Vice President.

In seventh grade my lens ahered to my iris, it actually happend twice… The first time it happen: we had just gone to the eye doctor before and the next day, I woke up with extreamly fuzzy vision and we went to the eye doctor and she dilated my eye and it was back to my normal. We thought it was because we use different drops to dilate my eye.

Fast forward to a month later and it happend again! This time my vision was fuzzy, blurry, and dim. It was sort of how my vision is now at twilight, (the time following sunset), where I can see silhouettes, but more defined because that day it was more like shadows. I was able to see more laying down and less when I sat up. We went to the eye doctor and again she dilated my eye back to my normal. Then she told us my lens ahered to my iris and I’d have to have surgery to correct it.

In the weeks leading up to the surgery, I had my eye dilated all the time and had to have the pressure in my eye checked. I didn’t go to school during this time, so me and my mom started reading ‘Twilight’ by Stephanie Meyer because books are a great way to get out of your head and into someone else’s for a while. I’ve mentioned in my video ‘Tips to Help Manage Anxiety‘ that reading is one my coping skills for my anxiety and this probly when it became a thing.

I had the surgery and everything went great. Afterwords I had to get use to a new normal: like my eye have trouble adjusting to light when I go inside and this is when twilight became my worst time a day.

In eighth grade I went to my eighth grade dance and danced with some friends, even though the lighting was dim.

In high school I took art classes all four years and was able to take the art AP test. At first I had my aid help me out in the class and then as the years went on I was able to work in that class independently and this was because I had one amazing art teacher!

In 11th grade we went to the ‘Crocker Art Museum’ and I was able to touch some of the statues and get up closer to look at the artwork. This was all thanks to my amazing art teacher!

Back then my favorite medium was acrylic paint, but now it’s a tie between oil pastels or graphite.

A collage of three pictures: on the left Chelsey and Clint are together and then there a picture of each of them by themselves. They are wearing a cap and gown.

I graduated high school in 2014 and since then I have created this website, YouTube channel and various social media’s for VIBlindResources. I want to one day become a guide dog trainer, but for the moment I’m going to take creative writing classes and take classes to become an occupational therapist.

I want you to know that you are never alone and that you can do anything you set your mind to! Don’t let negative people stop you from doing what you want to do in life!

If you would like to tell us your story email: viblindresourcesgmail.com