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Interview with Chris Vandeford, December 11, 2018

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:27 - Losing vision

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Partial Transcript: Awesome. Thank you for having me, Stephanie. Okay. My name, obviously you've heard is Chris Vandeford.

Segment Synopsis: Vandeford describes gradually losing his vision due to diabetic retinopathy, a condition caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels. He talks about having eleven eye surgeries to improve his vision but that none were successful. He mentions becoming depressed because he no longer had the ability to drive or read books.

Keywords: Emory University Hospital; Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS); anesthesia; blindness; comic books; diabetes; laser surgery

00:10:31 - Learning from others

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Partial Transcript: Another bit of advice I can have for somebody that may be listening to this that, yeah, I may be sounding a little bit down now telling you this, but it's also to tell you it may not be--it may not be the easiest thing in the world...

Segment Synopsis: Vandeford describes the importance of finding reliable friends and becoming involved in organizations for the visually-impaired or blind like the National Federation of the Blind.

Keywords: blindness; community; connection; involvement; motivation

00:13:02 - Search for employment

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Partial Transcript: But getting back to what I was saying is I went through everything and basically after finishing up my last surgery, giving up my driving, starting to get used to how people are going treat you...

Segment Synopsis: Vandeford describes going through vocational rehabilitation in order to find work. He talks about working with Adam Hinchliffe at the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. He discusses learning braille, cane skills, and computer skills at the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) of Atlanta. He describes his current internship where he teaches people how to use Android phones, and he talks about his plans to attend Georgia State University to become a certified rehabilitation counselor.

Keywords: Anna Trotman; Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS); Greg Akins; Lynn Miller; National Federation of the Blind; family; keyboarding

00:19:01 - Importance of self-care and community involvement

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Partial Transcript: Also, what's been rewarding for me too, is the National Federation for the Blind--or, excuse--of the Blind; Anna would correct me on that one.

Segment Synopsis: Vandeford discusses his involvement with the National Federation of the Blind where he works to pass better legislation for the visually impaired and blind. He describes being motivated by others in the disability community. He emphasizes the importance of self-care, both in terms of physical health by monitoring his blood sugar levels and emotional health by becoming involved in the community.

Keywords: Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI); Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS); advocacy; friends