Imagine a world where doing simple things like checking Facebook or tying your shoes is hard.

This life is a reality for some students on campus who are blind.

Students attending BYU-Idaho that are visually impaired find a way to succeed in an ever-changing world.

Some things, like construction, can be a new obstacle that some students can take for granted.

“Sometimes it can be an interesting experience to get around with all the construction … because I have to find a new route,” said Brigitte Dassler, a senior studying business, was born with severe visual impairment which led to total blindness at a young age.

Dassler uses a cane to get around campus and navigate the obstacles.

Dassler said when she was younger, she learned the reality of her lack of sight when she ran into a tree during her school’s recess.

Her parents then knew she needed a cane.

She said she was taught many cane techniques throughout primary education that she uses today.

Similar to Dassler, John Raat, a senior studying math education, became totally blind at a young age.

However, instead of using a cane, Raat has a guide dog. He said walking with the dog is a little different than walking with a cane.

Raat and Dassler explained how they both learn differently than normal students. They both use screen readers, a voice reader for words on a screen, for their phones and computers.

Dassler said she does most of her homework on a computer with a screen reader.

 

She said she can listen to things at a very fast speed.

“We’re not helpless; we have just as much capability of doing stuff as you do,” Raat said. “Just give us time and the material that we need, so then we can succeed.”

Raat said BYU-I has a great learning environment which has allowed him to be successful.

He said he struggled at the other school he went to, but here he has great resources like Services for Students with Disability and the Information Technology office.

Raat said he would like to be a math teacher for people like himself. He wants to show people that they do not need to cut themselves short.

Dassler said she does not go out too much. She said she enjoys writing stories in her free time.

She said that she has to research what objects look like. This process is something common for blind writers.

Dassler does not let adversity get to her; she said she has written two novels for competitions.

Raat said he has achieved many accomplishments, such as going to college and receiving his Eagle Scout Award.

Dassler said she really likes playing video games just like anyone else.

Raat said he enjoys things such as playing Dungeons and Dragons, making puzzles and putting together Legos.

“Don’t cut yourself short when you have an issue; just work with what you have and find ways to accomplish what is set before you,” Raat said. “Anything’s possible.”