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Accepting her new normal

26-year-old Jismy Paul was born sighted in the Ernakulum district of Kerala. After finishing her graduation in Commerce, Jismy was all geared up to become a Chartered Accountant (CA). She was in the midst of preparation when she developed some nerve disorder that led to sight loss. For the last two years, she and her family have been recklessly pursuing ophthalmologists hoping to regain her vision.

Unfortunately her eye condition is irreversible. When she visited the doctors at the Little Flower Hospital in Kochi recently, she was directed to the Eyeway counselor stationed at their Low Vision Center, for further guidance.

In his initial interactions, the counselor realized that Jismy was suffering from depression. She wasn’t very receptive to the information being handed out to her, about assistive technology, disability certificate or employment options. She thought there was no hope in life and struggled to accept her late blindness. 

The Eyeway counselor patiently dealt with her, narrating inspirational accounts of blind people who’ve made it big, including the first visually impaired IAS officer, Pranjal Patil. He also shared his personal experience of losing sight at a later age and then adapting to the new ways, finally securing a job as a counselor to help others. 

Jismy’s mother and her brother were also advised to help her become independent. The brother, who works as an IT professional, was taken through a quick demo of using the laptop with a screen reader so he could assist Jismy at home. 

Due to the pandemic and rising cases in Kerala, mobility and computer training centers are not functional at present. So Jismy will need to rely on family support for now. That’s why the counselor has been consistently following up with them so she doesn’t lose out on life opportunities. 

As an immediate solution, our counselor also plans to train Jismy in using her smartphone with the talkback feature. This will make her independent and confident, leading to a first step out of a grim existence. 

After repeated interactions, Jismy has finally started to open up a bit and displayed curiosity in knowing more about ways to function with the vision loss. Eyeway will continue sharing life stories of CAs who are blind and also other students like her, who found an alternate route to achieve their dreams. 

Team Eyeway

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