Home > College of Education, STE, Students > Visual Disabilities students making a difference in the lives of veterans

Visual Disabilities students making a difference in the lives of veterans

Kailey and Elizabeth

Kailey Case & Elizabeth Stevens

The Visual Disabilities program at the FSU College of Education prepares students who have a personal and professional commitment to improving the opportunities for individuals who are blind or have low vision. Two current graduate students have recently been praised for epitomizing this commitment.

Kailey Case and Elizabeth Stevens are currently interning with the Biloxi Veterans Administration Blind Rehabilitation Center where they work with a wide range of individuals with visual impairments teaching them to travel with independence using a long white cane. The majority of the clients at the center range in age from 70 to 90, with the oldest being a 94-year-old World War II veteran.

“Orientation and Mobility specialists give the gift of independence and dignity back to people who’ve lost their vision, and it’s clear that our students are doing this at the Veterans Administration in Biloxi, MS,” said Mickey Damelio, teaching faculty and orientation and mobility coordinator in FSU’s Visual Disabilities program. “We’re happy to be able to do our part here to help veterans regain their independence. It’s great to give back to folks that gave so much for our country.”

During their time, the students worked with retired Master Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force Tracy P. Ferro who praised the two for their positive energy, high spirit, and devotion.

“Not only did they work with us to learn or improve our orientation and mobility skills,” began Ferro, “but they would listen to our advice on how to help them with their jobs, which benefits the visually impaired student to have less frustrations when learning a new task.”

Throughout the Visual Disabilities program, students learn to provide meaningful, experiential, hands-on activities in natural, flexible learning environments. These activities promote access to opportunities for maximum independent functioning and ultimate inclusion as adults in society.

“When people initially lose their vision, the ability to move with independence is often the most sorely grieved,” explained Damelio “This loss of freedom has direct impact on a person’s emotional well-being and quality of life.”

Case and Stevens will finish their internship this semester, graduating from FSU with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the FSU College of Education. They will go on to work as Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialists working in schools with children who are blind or visually impaired.

“Miss Case and Miss Stevens’ education, willingness to help, and cheerfulness reflect great credit upon themselves and Florida State University,” remarked Ferro.

Want to be a part of this inspiring program? Visit education.fsu.edu/vis-dis or contact Mickey Damelio to learn more.

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