May 28, 2012
The following story is about Lisa Peters, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Lisa is part of the Adult Learners Group that is available to any adult that wants to attend. The group typically consists of 10 adults and 2 dogs. These two dogs are extra special as they are guide dogs for the blind. Their owners have been participating in the Adult Learners Group for about 4 years.
At the age of 17, Lisa’s vision started to deteriorate and she had to start learning how to live in an ever darkening world. She has learned that color blindness and Retinitis Pigmentosa are hereditary conditions that will stay with her for the rest of her life. The story below was written about Lisa, by her tutor.
Amanda Ehlert was born in Watson, SK and moved to Prince Albert in 1993. She had partial sight up until about 3 years ago. She learned early on to accept help from others as she couldn’t see well enough to do many things on her own. Amanda is “smart as a whip” and is always ready to learn something new. Without her vision, Amanda has learned to use her other senses to help her. She has amazing hearing which tells her when the streets are clear to cross, when people are coming, or when the bus or elevator is arriving. She also has a very good sense of direction that helps her find her way around the city. Her memory is exceptional. Amanda has learned skills that many seeing people haven’t developed like playing the piano, writing songs, poems and short stories, and reading everything she can get in braille.
Amanda had dreams for a career, but had to put most of them out of mind. She wants to be an author and still writes when her computer is working. Amanda was a telemarketer for a while, but now spends most of her time volunteering at the hospital and in two schools. She listens to students read books, helps with spelling, sharpens pencils, answers the phones, makes classroom presentations, and visits with parents that come into the school. Freedom has blessed Amanda with the independence that she desired. Freedom is a Golden Retriever guide dog that came into Amanda’s life about 4 ½ years ago.
Prince Albert has an Adult Learners Group that is available to any adult that wants to attend. The group typically consists of 10 adults and 2 dogs. These two dogs are extra special as they are guide dogs for the blind. Their owners have been participating in the Adult Learners Group for about 4 years.
Lisa Peters was born in Prince Albert. At the age of 17, Lisa’s vision started to deteriorate and she had to start learning how to live in an ever darkening world. She has learned that color blindness and Retinitis Pigmentosa are hereditary conditions that will stay with her for the rest of her life.
Lisa experienced many ups and downs learning to live her life in the dark. She found it frustrating to have to rely on someone else to help her with the most basic things like cooking, cleaning, and getting around. She was used to her independence and didn’t like to be restricted or have to rely on others to do what she had been able to do. Lisa has a hard time understanding people who speak with accents, but her memory is extraordinary, especially with numbers.
Lisa had many goals for her future; she wanted to be a professional cook, work in homecare, and be a massage therapist. Instead, she formed new goals. Edo became a blessing to Lisa about 4 ½ years ago. Edo is a Black Lab guide dog. He gave her the guidance that she needed to get out on her own and start doing things like attending classes and workshops, volunteering, and making presentations to groups. Lisa married her best friend, Kevin, in June 2009 and they had a beautiful baby girl, Seneca, in July 2010. She has learned to make adjustments in her life and has found that things are working out just fine.
Amanda has taught us what we need to know about guide dogs. This would include not talking to, petting, or distracting the dog while she’s on duty, and not interfering in the discipline between owner and guide dog. Amanda explained how the guide dogs and their owners go through a vigorous training schedule together when they are matched up. She is grateful for the blessings that she has received and the opportunities that have come to her since receiving her dog. She’s able to get around and get involved in many more community events and activities.Part 1
[This story was taken with permission, from Learner Journeys, Fall 2010, a newsletter published by the Saskatchewan Literacy Network (SLN).]