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Vision for the Future

Bosma Enterprises - 12/14/2018 2:18:20 PM

Join us as we follow Jeff's journey through the Bosma Enterprises rehabilitation program.

Venturing into the unknown can be scary, especially if you cannot see. Going blind is something that can
happen to anyone at any time, but what do you do once you receive that diagnosis? Jeff Conner was
forced to ask himself that question when he began going blind.

For the next few months, we will follow the progress of Jeff Conner, a current rehabilitation client. Jeff
will take us through his thoughts and emotions as he goes through Bosma’s rehabilitation program. You
will get to see a man who once felt hopeless regain the skills, training and confidence needed to survive
in a sighted world.

Ten years of being at home was enough for Jeff Connor. However, accepting the fact he was
going blind was difficult. Born with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a genetic eye condition that causes gradual
vision loss over time, Jeff knew he would lose his sight one day. RP is prevalent on his mother’s side of
the family. Many of his family members have the condition, with most of them eventually going blind.

In 2006, Jeff's vision began to worsen, so he decided to make an appointment with his low vision
specialist, who recommended he contact Bosma Enterprises. Despite his doctor’s recommendation, Jeff
waited. He believed he still could see well enough to work and get himself around town. In 2010 his
vision reached a point where he could not perform his job duties and had to resign.

Leaving his job was difficult; however, Jeff needed to stay busy, so he started gardening and doing things
around his home. Being a stay-at-home-dad kept him occupied, but once his children entered high
school, he started thinking about his future.
Jeff never realized how much he missed interacting with people. "I wanted to make a change before I
fell into a deep depression,” said Jeff Conner.

He decided it was time to give Bosma Enterprises a call, and with the support of his wife and children,
Jeff began his rehabilitation journey on October 29, 2018, at the Bosma Enterprises Center for Visionary
Solutions for the Blind.

On his first day, Jeff admits he was anxious, but with the help of the rehab staff, they help put Jeff at
ease. Jeff spent his first week getting to know his instructors and telling them about him and his
interests. Having this dialog made Jeff more comfortable, and he knew he had made the right decision
on coming to Bosma.

In the five weeks since Jeff started his rehabilitation, he has been learning how to use a white cane to
travel safely. "I did not want to depend on people to get around, I wanted my independence,” Jeff said.
Jeff is also taking advantage of our adaptive technology lab, working closely with instructors on how to
use screen readers and other adaptive equipment. One highlight of his rehab is learning how to use an
iPhone with voiceover, an accessibility feature that every smartphone comes equipped with which reads
the information on the screen aloud. He is now able to text, check emails and navigate the web.

For only five weeks of training, Jeff Conner has come a long way. He feels more confident and is looking
forward to the rest of his training.

Stay tuned to see what other goals Jeff accomplishes in the next two weeks.

Jeff-Conner_ManualSkills_Shop_750X500.jpgJeff stands holding his white cane in front of a wood coat rack that reads, "John's Shop"