2021 is a year of celebration! Seeing is Believing, our program dedicated to helping children with vision loss throughout the state of Illinois be successful in school, is turning 30. The program’s unparalleled success is in a large part due to the support provided by Vision Itinerants. Pam Duda has been an amazing partner to Seeing is Believing.

Pam was part of the very first clinics offered by Seeing is Believing. Dr. Williams came with Leah Gerlach and they would work with the children, Pam recalls. The time they spent explaining each child’s diagnosis was so impactful. Many of the families had never had a doctor take that time with them and give our students hope for the future.

“One of the biggest benefits of Seeing is Believing is the hand-off to the teachers,” says Pam. Dr. Williams and now Dr. Jordan, have been able to provide the training to the teachers that carries on after the clinic is over. The education that the teachers get enables them to help the students use their devices to be successful. It isn’t just another thing that gets left behind and forgotten; it becomes a useful tool.

Of course, the fact that the students own their devices and not the school has been a real benefit during the pandemic. As schools have struggled to get tools to all students, the fact that our low-vision students have their devices at home has really helped them be able to keep up.

Pam tells a story about one student that was a braille reader. With everything going online, he was struggling to keep up. The resources provided by Seeing is Believing and the creativity of vision teachers like Pam helped this student be able to visually access his lessons. “We used a desktop magnifier to magnify the text on his chromebook. It was a real game-changer,” says Pam. We agree!
Things have changed and the student’s needs have become more complicated. It has become harder to test student’s vision and their global needs have become more complex. We are dealing with more barriers to success for students with low vision. The need for programs like Seeing is Believing is greater than it has ever been.

“My birthday wish for Seeing is Believing,” laughs Pam, “is for them to be able to see all the students with vision issues, not just the ones with low vision.”

The Seeing is Believing program continues to be able to provide resources, support and hope to students with vision loss. Teachers like Pam are the cornerstone of the program, and we would like to take a minute to thank each and every one of you for your
dedication to students with vision loss.