Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

Client Spotlight: Aracely Finds Her Confidence and Independence

Aracely speaking at CVI's Henderson Society Dinner 2019

At the age of three, retinal cancer claimed Aracely Rosillo’s eyesight. Her parents, who did not speak English, learned about the Center for the Visually Impaired’s BEGIN early intervention program and enrolled their shy toddler. Through the support and training from CVI’s highly trained staff, Aracely learned to walk, read and play and her parents learned to how to help her thrive in a sighted world.

Aracely continued with CVI’s programs through her teen years. She was active in STARS, a program for students in K-12 grades, where she learned independent living and social skills along with assistive technology, music and art. The once timid toddler grew into a self-assured teenager who loved swimming, talking on the phone and hanging out with her friends. Aracely credits STARS with helping her come out of her shell.

Aracely instructing a CVI client on how to operate an iron

“STARS has taught me to be active,” says Aracely. “I never wanted to sit in my room every day after school. Being social and having friends is much more fun than being the blind girl.”

Aracely has, literally, grown up with technology. Lessons in the STARS Technology Training Lab gave her the skills to efficiently and effectively use an array of technology tools at school and at work. She reads textbooks and takes notes using a refreshable braille display wirelessly connected to her smartphone. That same smartphone connects her to friends and family via social media, email and telephone and has apps that enable her to navigate and travel, shop, manage money and accomplish a wide range of other daily tasks independently.

Sadly, high schools students who are blind are twice as likely as their sighted peers to drop out of school. Even more troubling, only 9% of high school students with disabilities attend college. Because of CVI, Aracely’s story is different. Today, she is a sophomore at Georgia State University and works part-time in the STARS program and as an instructor of Activities of Daily Living for both the STARS students and adult clients. Her positive, outgoing attitude is contagious as she guides her students to live active and independent lives.