Image Description: Employee Paul Ducharme, sitting at a desk inside, using both hands to fold a piece of material in front of him.

Sometimes it takes a pandemic to give us a feel for the world in someone else’s shoes. Adjusting to the new normal hasn’t been easy for anyone, but people who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the challenges created by COVID-19. Perhaps we could all learn something from each other in these unique times.

David Fair, an employee at our Spokane facility says, “Now people understand what we’re dealing with as people who are blind. A friend of mine was complaining about how difficult it was to get groceries. I suggested he have his groceries delivered, like I do. People who do not have a disability in their lives have a taste of what limitations can feel like during this time.”

Erin Fitzpatrick, an Orientation and Mobility specialist at the Seattle location says, “many of our clients (and us instructors!) are pretty worried about catching the virus – when you depend on public transit you have no choice but to risk exposure to travel anywhere. Having a private vehicle is more than just a convenience, it’s a privilege that not everyone realizes they have.”

Paul Ducharme, at our Seattle facility says, “Right now, since I am DeafBlind, I have no idea what it looks like out there! I refuse to go out at all. I guess my cooking skills have improved since I’ve stayed at home.”

John Koigi, 2019 Employee of the Year at our Seattle location, when we asked if he would be available to answer a few questions about his experience over the last few months responded, “Sorry, for now I am super busy at work and at home because of home school work for my kids. I am looking forward to joining you next time.”

From the Lighthouse family to yours, we hope you are staying safe and healthy. As a community, despite our differences in ability, we often face similar struggles, especially in response to new problems.