stage the low vision person has had time to be exposed to many different
low vision options and tools. They may not have been the most "hard-working
patient" up to this point, but now they seemed to have turned a
corner. They seem to at least listen to what is being said and even
glanced down and made eye contact with the different devices being described.
Yes, they may even ask a question or two as if this process was "as
easy as pie" to them.
let this fool you, this person is still not ready and they have only
just begun to slice the watermelon and sample a few bite size pieces.
stage, some persons often regress to behaviors that were seen in stage
1 and stage 2 as if they were going backwards. Full outright denial
coupled with anger is a characteristic of "sliding back",
yet we know that this sort of behavior is actually normal. That is,
persons must be given a chance to go at the speed they are most comfortable
with and some of us are much slower than others.
had persons reach this stage and fully reject everything that has been
said at the end of a low vision appointment and not return for services
for six months, then at the end of 6 months they tell me "I just
wasn't ready then, but can I come back now and see what is available
to help me to read?".
may not have as difficult of a time during this stage but explore using
several items, some may even use the items several times a day as they
get used to the awkward experience of using low vision aids.
who are at this stage can seem as though they are well adjusted and
would be glad to show you the six or seven pairs of glasses that they
have which help them. These persons "make up their own rules"
and often try to "prove" to others that they are doing fine
because "Look at how many visual aids I use!" What they are
really saying is that they are not open to professional guidance and
by accumulating many types of glasses and lenses, this shows that they
are doing just fine.
task of this stage is coming to terms with the underlying feeling that
you are different. It is coming to terms with the reality that using
these aids makes you look different, feel different, and can no longer
escape the fact that you are living with a disability even though it
may not be as obvious as a person who is using a wheel chair. This new
disability is not a part of one's self image, nor is it something that
they have chosen, nor is it something they thought would happen to them.
realities take time to sink in and are different for each person. People
who have a strong support system and who can talk out their problems
often come to a quicker resolution than those who do not. People who
isolate themselves always do much worse than those who can talk about
what they are experiencing, even if they have to force themselves to
seem to do the best are those who take advantage of the many low vision
support groups or self help groups that offer an opportunity to "normalize"
and "validate" a persons feelings by sitting in a room with
others who experience the exact same feelings. Often, not even the most
supportive family member can relate to some of the feelings that a support
group (the person's "new family") can relate to.
It is important
to know, however, that some people use a lot of "emotional energy"
to come to grips with their situation which can sometimes cause depression
or a feeling of despair. Some depressions are actually known as "friendly
depression". It lets a person know that they are indeed working
hard towards a solution and simply feel tired. Many people feel this
type of depression very strongly just before a huge breakthrough or
change they are about to make. For others, however, research of people
with low vision shows that a more severe form of depression is common,
even more common than for persons diagnosed with cancer. People should
not feel bad if they have to seek professional help at this point.