Doing Things for Herself: The Occupational Therapy Journey of Areli Duran
“With everything else that has been going on with me medically, losing my vision in one eye was the last thing I needed!” said Areli Duran Twyman of Mt. Joy. Areli has battled diabetes and two brain tumors among other medical challenges. But she remains optimistic and resilient. “I pray a lot and it gives me the endurance to get through things. My mom, dad, and sisters have been very supportive and encouraging. And VisionCorps has helped me a lot! They’re a great organization!”
Areli found herself losing confidence in her ability to do things for herself. At VisionCorps, she was greeted with understanding, patience, and training. “I was having trouble identifying money,” she said. “My occupational therapist suggested I look at the big numbers at the corners of bills. I was always getting quarters and nickels mixed up until she taught me to feel for the ridges. She put tabs on the ‘bake’ and ‘on’ buttons of my stove, so I can use my stove again. She taught me how to use the accessibility features on my laptop and phone. She also gave me glare shields to wear when I’m out in the sun. I’m very happy with the results that I got.”
One device, called PenFriend, is a pocket-sized voice-labeling system. By using the pen-like device to record her voice onto self-adhesive labels attached to an object, she can then play the recording back by holding the PenFriend near the label. This is just one of the helpful devices Areli never knew existed before she came to VisionCorps. “I use it to label my clothes – I’m becoming colorblind. And to label spices – I was always saying: ‘Is this spice Italian? Oregano?’ It’s a tremendous help.
Expecting her vision to continue to decline, Areli is becoming more proactive. “I plan to begin learning braille soon. And my sister helped me fill out a Life Enhancement Award Application (see back page). Of course, I’ll always have eye problems. But now, I feel like I have a place to go where I can learn the techniques to do things for myself,” she said.