Nisha was born with Cone-rod dystrophy. In her 20s, her vision became worse but she was still able to pursue her educational and career goals. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice from SUNY Albany and a law degree from Pace University. Upon graduation from law school, she worked as a clerk for a judge, practiced criminal law for several years, after which she worked for corporations.
In her 50s, her vision seriously deteriorated, making it impossible for her to drive, so she decided to give up her home in the suburbs and move back to New York City, which would be more manageable for a person with a visual impairment.
To be able to function independently, Nisha learned new technology, including the electronic magnifying glass called the RUBY Reader, which she was introduced to at a Massachusetts hospital, and the Seeing AI app and VoiceOver, a screen reader for Apple computers.
Key to Nisha’s progress have been Lighthouse Guild’s assistive technology experts Ed Plumacher and Cheryl Chung. Ed has been helping Nisha to relearn how to use the computer. “I was continuing to try to use the laptop as if I were a fully sighted person and I was caught between these two strange worlds. It was not working for me at all,” Nisha said. Ed introduced Nisha to the widely used JAWS [Job Access With Speech] Windows Screen Reader. “I now realize I should have started working with [it] earlier on during my vision loss. I am looking forward to Ed teaching me how to use other apps and devices that will be helpful to me.”
Nisha also had high praise for Dr. Bruce Rosenthal: “Right away, he understood what my diagnosis meant, knew how the retina functions and what could possibly help me with my vision.”
Technology aside, Lighthouse Guild has made an impression: “I noticed that all the doctors’ business cards are in large print, which I have never seen at any other doctor’s office I have visited. These little things let me know the organization really knows who their clients are.”
“I think an organization like Lighthouse Guild truly understands who is walking through its doors and that is the one thing that distinguishes Lighthouse Guild from so many other organizations. And the fact that they employ people who have walked in the shoes of their patients and clients gives an added level of empathy and understanding. Everything about the organization tells me they understand what I am going through and can help me adapt to this new world.”
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