Renaldo is almost totally blind. He’s 11 years old, and he is so smart and funny that it is easy for him to explain all about what it is like to be blind.
Renaldo attends his neighborhood school, Woodburn Elementary School. Renaldo’s blindness is the result of a premature birth. He explains, “I have been blind since I was born. I was supposed to born around Christmas or Chanukah time but instead I was born around Halloween. My parents said I was the best treat they ever had! But it’s important to know that not all babies born too early become blind. The doctors aren’t really sure why it happens to some babies and not to others. But it’s OK ’cause being blind is just a small part of who I am,”
Renaldo wears glasses to help him to see the outline of very large shapes and shadows. He also carries a white cane which is useful for getting around in unfamiliar places. He learned how to use it at mobility school. Often, people ask if he has a seeing eye dog. Renaldo says, “You know what? I get around really well with my cane so I am not sure I want a guide dog. But I do know that I want a pet dog. And I want a really big dog that can catch a frisbee and bring it back to me. I tried to get my cat to do that but the only place she’d run to was her litter box!”
Renaldo, like any other 11 year old, has likes and dislikes. He loves sports, especially baseball, and beating his brother Josue (pronounced Ho sway) at checkers. He dislikes when people treat him differently just because he can’t see. Renaldo is quick to explain that he can do the same things sighted people do but sometimes he does them in a different way. His classmates and teachers are just beginning to realize how skilled Renaldo really is. They had already known about his great sense of humour and healthy positive attitude. Renaldo says, “I’m really proud to be me, Renaldo Rodriguez. I’m a really good person and being blind is no big deal.”
Another web site to visit:
Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)