Change Makers: A Podcast from APH

Low Vision Resources

January 28, 2021 American Printing House Episode 22
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
Low Vision Resources
Chapters
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
Low Vision Resources
Jan 28, 2021 Episode 22
American Printing House

Change Makers celebrates Low Vision Awareness Month and Black History Month. Hear what low vision resources are available to those who are experiencing vision loss and what loved ones can do to be a source of support. Our new segment, Partners with Paul, will spotlight the Braille Trail Reader. Afterward, we will talk to former EOT, Mr. Louis Tutt, about integrating segregated schools for the blind.

Special Guests

  • Dr. Emily Gorski, Assistant Clinical Professor at University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry
  • Pris Rogers, Special Advisor on Aging and Vision Loss
  • Heather Spence, APH Press Director
  • Mr. Louis Tutt, former EOT who has represented three different schools for the blind

Links, Email and Phone Numbers

Show Notes Transcript

Change Makers celebrates Low Vision Awareness Month and Black History Month. Hear what low vision resources are available to those who are experiencing vision loss and what loved ones can do to be a source of support. Our new segment, Partners with Paul, will spotlight the Braille Trail Reader. Afterward, we will talk to former EOT, Mr. Louis Tutt, about integrating segregated schools for the blind.

Special Guests

  • Dr. Emily Gorski, Assistant Clinical Professor at University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry
  • Pris Rogers, Special Advisor on Aging and Vision Loss
  • Heather Spence, APH Press Director
  • Mr. Louis Tutt, former EOT who has represented three different schools for the blind

Links, Email and Phone Numbers

Speaker 1:

Welcome to change makers, a podcast from APH. We're talking to people from around the world who are creating positive change in the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. Here's your host.

Sara:

Welcome to change makers. I'm your host, Sara. And we are just days away from February, which is low vision awareness month and black history month. So today this podcast we'll talk about low vision resources that help those who are experiencing vision loss with experts will discuss the most common eye diseases that impact older adults and what books and online resources are available. After that we'll celebrate black history month. First up let's learn about eye diseases, what they are, how they should be treated and what people should know about age-related vision loss. We have Dr. Emily Gorski, Assistant clinical professor at UC Berkeley school of optometry here to tell us more, Dr. Gorski , thank you so much for joining us today on Change Makers.

Dr. Gorski:

Thank you so much for having me great. So ,

Sara:

Uh , a couple of different age-related vision loss, eye diseases. Can you tell us more about them? There's macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts , diabetic retinopathy. What can you tell us what they are and how would one know if they think they have them?

Dr. Gorski:

Yeah, absolutely. So I'll try to keep it simple. I could talk for, you know , an hour on each of these, but I promise I won't. Um, so age-related macular degeneration. Usually we abbreviate it and we just say, AMD , um , is the number one vision cause of visual impairment in this country for older adults. So it's very common. Usually we break it down into two forms. There's most people would call it the dry and the wet. So a lot of times, if you ask somebody about AMD, they'll say, Oh, I have the dry form. Oh, my doctor says I have the wet form. Uh, most people start off with the dry and that's basically just damaging changes that happen in an area of the eye called the macula. So if we think about the eye as like an old timey camera, I have to say old timey now. So not a digital camera, but like, you know, a film camera we can think about the retina as the film in the camera. So light comes in, it's focused and the image gets focused onto the film or the retina. The macula is the central part of the retina. So it gives us our central vision. So with macular degeneration, that's damaged to that area of central vision. So in the dry form, it's usually little deposits of waste products that build up or atrophy or thinning of that tissue. And if somebody converts to the wet form, they have leaking of blood or fluid that causes vision loss in the eye. Oh, okay. So that's AMD , uh, symptoms of that, you know, with many of these diseases, what I really want to stress is that in early stages, you may not have any symptoms. So it's really important to get your eyes examined or have your loved ones, get a regular eye exam, because you may not know that this is starting to develop, but early symptoms of AMD can be blurred central vision. Things can look distorted. So something that's like a straight line could look kind of wavy in one eye , uh , loss of color vision, or in more extreme cases, people can start to develop blind spots. So kind of dark areas of their central vision. Oh yeah. So,

Sara:

Oh, go ahead. No, I was going to ask, so what about glaucoma and cataract ?

Dr. Gorski:

Yeah . So glaucoma is a real sneaky disease and it can be confusing for people because it actually describes a couple of different disorders that are all sort of labeled as a type of glaucoma, but all of those have to do with damage to the optic nerve. So the optic nerve basically is the cable that connects the eye to the brain. It's what sends the vision information from your eye to your brain. So it knows what you're seeing. So with glaucoma, you've got damage to that optic nerve. It starts to become thinner, more damaged, and that causes this loss of peripheral vision or side vision. And ultimately that's not controlled. Glaucoma can cause somebody to lose all of their vision, unfortunately, but it's very sneaky because the most common form of glaucoma, when it first starts, no symptoms, no pain, nothing. You don't notice the changes until it's much more advanced. There are other forms of glaucoma where one can have really acute symptoms. So a sudden red, painful eye, headache, nausea, sometimes vomiting. You can see halos around lights, blurry, vision. You know, that's the form of glaucoma that most people will come in. They know they have a problem. Uh , but the most common form is called primary open angle glaucoma. And that is this very slow, sneaky, progressing disease that, like I said, it doesn't cause any changes until it's too late.

Sara:

Wow. And how are those issues treated ?

Dr. Gorski:

So age-related macular degeneration. Unfortunately there's no cure for the disease and there's really no treatment for the dry form. But if somebody converts to the wet form and has more sudden changes from fluid linkage, they can get injections in the eyes to help reduce that vision loss.

Sara:

Now, is there anything that can be done to prevent the macular degeneration? The glaucoma, the diabetic retinopathy?

Dr. Gorski:

Yeah. So yeah, I guess I'll focus on AMD first. So, you know, well, what I tell all my patients is what's good for the body is good for the eyes they're connected to your, your body. They're Hey, they're inside your body. Yeah . So eating a good diet, exercise, controlling any medical conditions you have, like diabetes or even high blood pressure. All of that is going to be good for your eye health as well as just your overall wellbeing . Not smoking is huge. There's a huge connection between smoking and progression of AMD. So if you're a smoker, one more reason to quit. You know, it's been shown that a good diet is beneficial for all of your eye health, but specifically with AMD, the , uh, nutrients found in leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens have been shown to kind of bolster the pigment of that macula area. So eat your spinach salads, make a cow smoothie. It will be good for your eyes. And lastly, using sunglasses, it sounds really simple, but UV light, well progress diseases like AMD cataracts, all those kinds of things. So it doesn't have to be a super fancy Ray-Ban, you know, it can be anything that blocks UV light is good to wear when you're outside.

Sara:

Wow. Okay. Last question. What do you want people to know about age-related vision loss?

Dr. Gorski:

So if you are somebody who has good vision and you don't need glasses and you're not going to your eye doctor regularly, make sure you're going to your eye doctor still for a comprehensive eye health exam. I really want to stress that a lot of these conditions don't have symptoms early on. So it's super important that we detect them early so we can try to prevent them. Uh , and if you're somebody who is new to vision loss or newly diagnosed with one of these diseases know that you're not alone. This affects so many people in this country. And there are so many people who are ready and willing to help you, not just your retinal doctor or your glaucoma doctor, but seeing somebody who is a low vision specialist, who can actually examine the functional vision, this type of eye exam looks at how you're using and maximizing the vision that you do have. And so often it can be, we can prescribe magnifiers or other kinds of devices to help you use the vision that you have. And we can direct you to other resources, other trainings, even support groups, you know, vision loss is scary and there's a lot of really complex emotions with it. And it really helps to connect with other people and talk about it.

Sara:

Dr. Gorski , thank you so much for joining us today on Change Makers. Next we'll turn our attention to books, but first let's hear from our special segment partners with Paul.

Paul:

Hello everyone. My name is Paul Ferrara communications accessibility editor for APH. And this is Partners with Paul partners. As Paul is a segment that's going to highlight products and services from APH partners. Stay tuned at the end. We're going to tell you how you can win a copy of Yue-Ting Siu's book on Access Technology for Blind and Low Vision Accessibility. With us today, Peter Tucic, brand ambassador for blindness products with HumanWare. How are you doing today, Peter and living the dream. Paul, thank you so much for the opportunity. And I'm glad to be the very first guest. And we're going to talk today about the braille trail reader. So I've got a few questions for you about it. Can you tell us a little bit about the braille trail reader, some of the specs and general features? Absolutely. So the braille reader is a very small device that has 14 braille cells. Um, it also has very basic scratch pad on the device. Has your typical braille input keyboard. Uh, it does have cursor routing ability. So there are cursor routing sensor buttons that exist on the device and the Braille Trail Reader. Ellie also has the ability to synchronize with the notes app on your iOS device. So there is a specific application that allows you to do that and we can connect to five simultaneous Bluetooth connections. The braille trail reader also has HumanWare signature thumb keys. So across the front of the device, you have four thumb keys. Great. What about features that are especially helpful for emerging braille readers?

Peter:

Sure. So for a young, as a young Brill learners, if you will, or those who are being introduced to the device, it's a perfect starting device because we will use it to reinforce that braille sort of reinforcement for what we're getting from audio. Uh, we'll use the device to read what our screen reader is saying. So if we're connected to an iOS device, if we're connected to a screen reader, we're going to be able to read what is spoken. And we're also going to use the device to practice and work on cursor placement , uh, panning and editing. So being able again, to familiarize yourself with those basic concepts, that can be a challenge for somebody who is coming from a manual braille writer. And what about braille tables? Uh , I almost forgot braille table supported. So we will support UVB for those of you that have students learning the UVB braille code that is both contracted and uncontracted braille

Paul:

And what tasks can be performed by middle and high school students that are going to help them as they transition to college or career.

Peter:

We think about that school environment. We think a lot about note-taking . Um , we oftentimes will be quickly writing notes. We want to do that in a kind of a silent way. We're going to be able to take notes in a basic scratch pad sort of form. Those notes can be synchronized with iOS or with a windows device. If you're using something like exchange through outlook, but you're able to synchronize notes for future you're referring to them in the future. Alternatively, you can also use the device for reading books or text files, so you can use, there is a transfer application available on windows that will allow you to send files to your braille trail reader. Ellie , it will let you take those files, whether they are BRF or TXT. So a great use case would be to take something like a , a news article, save it in HTML on your computer, use braille blaster to convert that to BRF or, you know, a braille document, and then use that file transfer application to get it right over to the device. So it can be a great workflow again, getting that reading going. And then also of course, pairing with your preferred screen reader , be it voiceover, be it jaws or NBDA, and use that to, to work with and kind of read what is going on on your screen as well.

Paul:

And finally, what makes this device especially useful for adults?

Peter:

For adults? We really focus a lot on portability. Um, it's a , it's a wonderful device in terms of its size will easily fit in your purse can fit in your jacket pockets . Uh, I definitely have one with me at all times sort of floating around in my bag. It will allow you to also keep it in your phone in your pocket because you're able to wake up your iOS device with the Braille Trail Reader. So you're able to use it to get the device going. Uh, you, you know, are going to have that note synchronization and the where that comes in handy as you can synchronize notes for future reference, but also you can use multiple accounts. So if you have a Gmail account, if you're using exchange, you can synchronize those notes. Cross-platform if you will, and take notes in a meeting and later refer to them on your tablet or computer. So we're again, it's also perfect for spot reading, quickly, responding to text messages, sort of working with that two way communication side of things, instant messaging, text message , uh , being able to efficiently and effectively move through that. So from that adult or working professional side, it's a perfect device and will allow you to sort of move through your day , uh , with that braille literacy that we always promote.

Paul:

Fantastic. Thanks for joining us today on this episode, Peter Paul,

Peter:

Thank you so much. I'm happy to come back any

Paul:

Time. Thank you for joining us. Check the show description and you'll see a link for a survey. Please take that survey. Someone who does is going to win a copy of a book on excess technology for blind and low vision accessibility.

Sara:

Thanks Paul. Now we have APH press director, Heather spins here to tell us what resources are available for those experiencing age-related vision loss or know someone experiencing this condition. Heather, thanks so much for joining us today on Change Makers. Thank you for having me. So what books are available to the public that discuss and explain age-related vision loss? APH press has several titles pertaining to age-related vision loss. We have aging and vision loss, a handbook for families which offers reassuring and helpful information on meeting the needs of a family member who is losing their vision. And it also includes supports and resources for family caregivers. We also have making life more livable, simple adaptations for living at home after vision loss that provides practical tips and modifications that improve the safety and security of the home and gives older adults with vision loss solutions to continue living independent and productive lives. We also have some personal narratives out of sight, out of mind, personal and professional perspectives on age-related macular degeneration is a personal narrative by Lindy Bergman that illustrates the ways in which life with vision loss can be lived with dignity and personal satisfaction. And then finally out of the corner of my eye, living with macular degeneration is another personal account of a person living successfully with macular degeneration and it discusses ways to cope effectively. Okay. So with aging and vision loss, a handbook for families from APH press, that gives information on meeting the needs of someone who is losing their vision. What are some of the ways the book suggests ? Yes, well the book emphasizes that vision loss does not have to result in a loss of independence, productivity, or activity. Although many people believe just the opposite with the help of specialized devices designed for people who have vision loss, special vision rehabilitation services, such as training and accomplishing everyday tasks and using remaining vision and a few simple tips for rearranging the house and its appliances. Someone experiencing vision loss can live as before without assistance. The book discusses certain basic techniques that are fundamental when adapting tasks in the everyday environment for a person with vision loss. Some of those discussed in the book include organizing, labeling using tactile markers and devices using contrast in color and creating environmental cues. One specific example is using tactile markers, such as high Mark to create raised dots on a stove or a washing machine so that the controls are recognizable. The book also provides safety tips for the home and includes a home survey checklist, which is very helpful. It discusses eight key elements in the home environment that can be utilized and adjusted to enhance the functioning of people with vision loss. And these are lighting glare, color, contrast labels, lettering, and marking organization, use of texture and touch environmental cues and techniques such as sound and smell. And finally safety issues. The book offers tips such as using dark bathroom towels as a contrast to white or lightly colored bathroom walls and installing door knobs that contrast in color with the door. Okay. It's related macular degeneration, that is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 60 the book you mentioned out of sight, not out of mind, personal and professionals perspectives on age-related macular degeneration, which is also from APH press. That is a personal account of living successfully with age-related macular degeneration. What are some of the ways that the book says people can live successfully? Well in this book, Lindy Bergman tells a very compelling story about her experience with age-related macular degeneration, even at 93, Lindy was still living a successful and highly satisfying life. Um, in the book, Lindy recognizes that dealing with macular degeneration is not easy, but at some point you have to come to terms with it and try to learn how to make the best of it. Some tips that she offers are if you find that you're avoiding doing things that are too stressful for you, as you react to the news of your diagnosis, it's okay not to do them for now. Just don't forget to do them later when you're better adjusted and acclimated. She says to go ahead and vent frustration when you feel it, but then consider finding new activities to replace the ones you no longer do. For example, if you can still read, take advantage of online networks and helpful organizations on the internet, don't become socially isolated, join a support group. Um, there are a lot of support groups available. Some tips that Lindy offers , uh , for your home are to have appropriate lighting in the home, adjust the lights so that you can see reevaluate what you have on the floor, around your house. Eliminate things such as throw rugs , um, be careful about furniture with sharp corners. Your home needs to be comfortable for you. So you don't have to worry about falling in your house or getting injured, and finally try to continue doing everything that you possibly can. You might need to have someone, you know, help you, but if you enjoy doing something and it makes you happy, try to continue doing it. But one thing Lindy really emphasizes is that trying to maintain hope in a positive outlook can be the most helpful things you can do for yourself. Now, we just talked about resources for, you know, people that are going through this or knowing that are , or knowing someone who is going through this, what resources are there for professionals? Well, we also have several books for PR professionals, such as vision loss and an aging society, a multidisciplinary perspective, which is an overview that integrates practice and policy issues relating to aging and visual impairment and O&M for independent living strategies for teaching orientation and mobility to older adults is an important guide for orientation and mobility, instructors, rehabilitation, specialist, occupation therapy, therapist, and other professionals who work with adults who may be new to vision loss. All right , well, thank you so much, Heather, for sharing all that information with us. And if you're interested in learning more about those resources, we just discussed, the information can be found in the show notes below again, Heather, thank you so much for joining us today on Change Makers. Thank you, Sandra. From books to services, special advisor on aging and vision loss, Pris Rogers is here to discuss what's available online press . Thank you so much for joining us today on Change Makers. Well , thanks so much for inviting me to come great. So we know the connect center offers a world of information for all walks of life. What services does the connect center provide for adults and seniors with age-related vision loss?

Pris:

The connect center has wonderful services. Um, one of the things that's been going on through the pandemic of course, is it's been hard for people to reach direct services. And so the connect center is providing that lifeline that people need to be able to find out about what help and services are available to them. Uh , the connect center has an 800 number that's available Monday through Friday , uh , all day long and into the evening until 8:00 PM Eastern time. Uh , the number there is (800) 232-5463 again, (800) 232-5463. And they have people advisors who know about services and can direct people who need the kind of help that people have when they're calling that line. Also , uh , the connect center has an email address and it's connect [email protected] a as in Apple, P as in Paul, H as in house.org, aph.org. So if you can't , um , if you need answers and you can't call, you can always email as well. In addition to these types of direct types of services , uh , the connect center houses, the APH directory of services, where people can find , uh, information about services in their own hometown and in their own state. Um, so they can look up their state and then look for the services they want in their state. So it's a wonderful , uh , directory it's been around for many, many years and is the most complete directory that there is that I'm aware of in the , in the whole country of refining services. In addition, the connect center houses, the websites that help people with vision loss , um , family connect for parents of kids who have vision loss , uh, Greer connect for , uh , young adults and people seeking employment and Vision Aware, which is the site that I'm affiliated with, which is for adults who are basically new to vision loss and especially seniors who need to know about , uh , help and support and how to live with vision loss , um , and often are , are really needing emotional support and so forth. Okay.

Sara:

So vision aware covers everything from diagnosis to emotional and mental impacts to how to adjust to the new normal with vision loss. What would be the first place on the website? You would suggest someone go after a diagnosis.

Pris:

There are actually two places on Vision Aware that are good places to start. Um, first of all, we , uh , wrote a roadmap to living with vision loss. That includes just a page or two about the kinds of services that people will need to maintain their independence and , um , and their way of life. And that that section can be found in everyday living section. Um, and it actually , uh, is kind of an outline of another book that APH offers , uh , which is called making life more livable. And it , that book was written for people new to vision loss. So, like I said, that's a good place to start a shortened short and sweet , uh , piece of information on a roadmap. And it includes, you know, what types of services will you need when you lose vision? Then another wonderful place to go is the getting started guide , uh , four people need a vision loss and this guide , um, it is , uh , several pages about 20 pages long. It starts out with what you need to know about your eye condition. It goes into where you can find services. It talks about , uh, tips , uh, that of things that you can do around your home to be able to make your , uh, your home accessible , uh , and able to, so that you can get around easily and safely, for example, what can you do in your bathroom? And what can you do in your kitchen? Uh, also talks about assistive technology and also about reading and things that are important to people when they first lose their vision. You know, when you lose your vision, what do you do? Uh, how can you continue to do the things that you used to do such as reading also talks about transportation and how, if you cannot drive what kinds of services are available? So it's a really good, quick and dirty guide for people , uh, it's available in English and in Spanish. And , uh, it can, like I said before, can be [email protected] slash getting started, or you can go to that to the place where the getting started kit is, and actually request a free large print copy to be sent to you, free of charge. So we can get a print copy. You can get a downloaded version. Also, my understanding is that pretty soon it'll be available in an audio format for people as well. So, like I said, I would actually really recommend that above anything else, because it will tell you , uh , pretty much all you needed to know in a very quick and dirty way to really help you to get started with dealing with vision loss.

Sara:

Okay. And you just spoke of resources. Can you just briefly touch on some of the resources and services that are available for those with age-related vision loss? I mean, this is going from medical to day-to-day services and well, of course,

Pris:

When you first start to experience vision loss, you need to find out what's going on. And it's really good to go to an ophthalmologist who is an eye care professional. He can look at , uh , look behind your eye and diagnose and make sure what kind of medical condition that you might have, if any. Um, also if you are diagnosed with an , uh , with vision loss, for example, you have glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, and you have some remaining vision, which most of the time you will. Um, there are services called low vision services that optometrist and certain ophthalmologists offer , uh, to help a person make the best of the revision that they have left . So they will do an exam and determine if you can , um, benefit from magnification or what kind of lighting might help you because sometimes lighting makes all the difference in the world , uh , to a person who's losing vision. Uh, then , uh , there are services called vision rehabilitation services that are available through state agencies for the blind and also local agencies. And like I mentioned earlier, there's a directory on vision awaring and the connect center to help you find those services. But basically what they do is they have vision rehabilitation professionals and teachers who will help a person who's just lost a vision, know what to do, how can they cook? How can they read, how can they do all the tasks? How can they identify their medications and so forth? Um, so all of this information is available , um , on vision aware in terms of what you can do, and the types of services are available. Another wonderful service that is really helpful to people when they lose vision is orientation and mobility. And , um, most of the listeners are probably aware of people using white canes. Well , uh, people who are orientation and mobility instructors teach people how to use those white canes effectively so they can get around in their neighborhood or wherever they need to go and do it safely. So vision aware covers all of these types of services. Um, and another, a really important service is , uh, support groups. And we cover , uh, information about support groups on Vision Aware as well.

Sara:

Okay. So say you just got a diagnosis and getting a diagnosis for anything you're going to be really, you're going to be emotional. You're going to be shocked. How would you suggest a person prepare after they get diagnosed with macular degeneration?

Pris:

Well, first of all, they need to know that they've been still have a life and they need to understand that they're really going to be upset. And so it would be helpful to get a support group going on to find out about what's available right now, of course, with a coronavirus situation is not as easy to go to a support group , uh, personally, but there are a lot of online support groups and also telephone support groups that are available. And as I mentioned , uh , we have some information , uh , on vision aware about those types of groups. It's important that you talk to your family member about your vision loss and help them understand because sometimes they're just as scared as you are. And so we have a section on vision aware to help family members understand that. But the most important thing is to know that there are people out there just like you who have lost their vision and have gotten through it. And , uh , the, by getting the , uh , the support and the types of rehabilitation services that I just mentioned, you just have to be open to the fact that you can get help and that life is not over and you can go on with your life.

Sara:

Okay. Okay. Is there anything else that you want listeners to know?

Pris:

Well, I'm vision aware. Uh , we have a great blog. Um, it's written by what we call our peer advisors . And these are people who are, who've had vision loss, some of them all their lives, some of them just recently diagnosed and they write about how they do things with vision loss, how they get by what kinds of things do they can they do on their own and how do they get transportation and how do they vote and how do they read all of these types of things they talk about on the blog? So I would encourage people to go on a vision aware and read through that blog and get some ideas and , and get some encouragement. I think that's the most important piece is to get the encouragement. We also have some personal stories about people who have lost vision and how they've gone on with their lives. And these are all on vision aware as well. So you can look up your eye condition and see about someone who might have glaucoma and how they're functioning and the same for the other types of eye conditions. Also , um, I think it's important that people find out more about low vision and the national eye health education program through the national eye Institute has a great deal of information on low vision. And we will, we'll be providing a link for that information as well. So there are other resources out there that can help you to live with vision loss and vision aware. We'll help you find those resources. And so we, we hope that this information will be helpful to you, but please, please do not hesitate to either call or email the connect center. If you have any questions as all at all, because that's what we're here to do is to help you with dealing with your new vision loss, do not despair, do not get up there, give up there is hope , help and connection for you.

Sara:

That's right. Okay. Well, thank you so much for joining today on Changemakers , And we will have links to the connect center, the national iHealth education program, and vision aware in the show notes. And up next, we celebrate black history month. Thank you, Sarah. Appreciate it. It's been fun doing this today. Thank you. And in honor of black history month, we're going to turn to our special guest, Mr. Lee Tut , who is a former EOT, who has represented three different schools for the blind. Mr. Tech , thank you so much for joining us today on Changemakers .

Mr. Tutt:

Well, thank you very much. I'm happy to be on the program with you. And , uh , if I'm a change maker, I'm happy about that as well.

Sara:

You, are you certain your career? Yes, you are. So tell us a little bit about your background history, where you went to school, where you're from, what you, what your career was like.

Mr. Tutt:

Okay, well , uh, I'm from , uh, Lou Ray, Virginia was born there and , uh, five years from the data, my birth, my parents moved to Washington DC. So , um, I had all of the , my , uh, elementary and middle or junior and senior , uh , or high education in the city of Washington DC. And so , uh, graduated from , uh, public schools , uh, in 1960. And , uh, I'm a product of , uh , segregated schools even in Washington DC during that time. And so , uh, once I graduated high school, I took a year off and worked. And , uh, then I , um, enrolled at Norfolk state university in Norfolk, Virginia, and , uh, went to school there from , uh, 1961 to 1965 , uh, graduated from, from , uh, from Norfolk state university. And of course at that time, it wasn't normal state university. It was Norfolk division of Virginia state college. It was , uh, a smaller school and hadn't received that credential to be a university , uh , yet , but later on, after I graduated years later, it became , uh , a state university , uh , in Norfolk, Virginia. But anyway, after I left , uh , Norfolk state, I , uh , got a teaching job over in Gloucester, Virginia. And , uh, that was at a , uh, an all black school K through 12 , uh, TC Walker, not TC Williams, which is famous, you know , for the Denzel movie , uh , some years ago, but that was at TC Walker , uh, as a teacher and a coach of football and track and field. And , uh , of course it was a segregated education there. So it wasn't new to me since I had had , uh, had , uh, been educated in segregated schools in Washington DC and very good schools, I might say as well. Uh, and so I was over in Gloucester for , uh, 1965 and 1969. Now in 1968 , uh, in Gloucester , uh, the school superintendent of Gloucester County school board , uh, believe that schools needed to be fully integrated. And so in order to do that, and that meant that the black teachers, some of the black teachers that at TC Walker had to be transferred into the all white schools in Gloucester, Virginia. And I was one of three African-American teachers who was transferred to the all white high school , uh, in Gloucester. And that was 1968. So I went down as a phys ed teacher, driver , ed teacher, a football coach and track coach. And , um , it, wasn't a very good experience. Uh, I must say that , uh, for, for all concerned , not that it was easy , uh, but , uh, uh, the , the staff at the school, the superintendent , uh, the students, you know, all try to make it work. And I think for me having been a coach , uh , at TC Walker and , uh, was a coach at gosh , a high coming in before school started for football practices. You got to meet some of the teachers and some of the white students, you know, before school started, but , uh, that year went well for me , uh, as teacher and coach, but I realized after , uh, going down the Gloucester high and , uh, that year there, that I needed more education. So , uh, I wrote to several , uh, universities in the Midwest and , uh , about going to graduate school and was accepted , uh, with , uh , uh, a graduate assistantship at Michigan state university. So 1969, I enrolled as a graduate student at Michigan state university. So here I was , uh, a graduate of Norfolk state , uh , 4,000 students, all black to a university with 40,000 students, black, white, and you name it. So there I was, and miss big university, and for the first time was sitting in classes with white students. So an experience, it was, but certainly a very good experience. So , um, I , I did my master's degree there. I had , um , determined , uh, when I left Gloucester to just go away and get my degree and come back to Lockton high. But during my matriculation , uh, as a master's student, I , uh, had to , uh, visit , uh, three sort of status Michigan as part of a prerequisite for this , this master's degree in education, but I was , uh, matriculating. And so one of the , uh , institutions that I went to , uh, what was the Michigan school for the blind? And when I went there, I was just appalled at how these blind kids learn to read, write and do physical , uh , exercises. So I thought my, maybe I ought to look into doing a second master's in, in , uh , the education of blind and visually impaired children. And my major professor , uh, who , uh, was very, very , uh, pleased with my work , uh, thought , uh, maybe we ought to have you look into doing work with deaf blind children, children whose mothers had rubella back in the sixties and back in the sixties, about 3000 bursts of deaf blind students were born and in the state of Michigan , uh, they had the third highest burst of rubella babies. Wow . And so here are these rubella babies, these well, they're not babies, they're, they're , uh , uh , elementary children now at the school who needed to know more about locomotion movement. And so I did a second degree , uh, and in the end visual impairment with emphasis on motor skills for young, deaf, blind children. And so at the end of the day study , uh , I was offered a position to come back to Norfolk state, to be on staff there and coach, but I wanted to continue working with , uh, uh, these blind and deaf blind children. So the school had three other physio teachers, but they didn't work with the deaf blind children, the deaf blind children come into the gymnasium. Uh, you know, because they couldn't walk, couldn't talk, couldn't see, couldn't hear. And they were used to working with blind kids who could hear, you know, who had , uh, intellectual skills , uh, that , uh, provided them, you know, opportunity to, to, to learn, to do the physical education. So, because of my study that press went to school , uh, recruited me to come down as a phys ed teacher and work with deaf blind kids on me. And so I did that now, my classroom was hallways, bedrooms, and basements as the physical ed teacher, I got to the swimming pool only on Fridays, but those 35 deaf blind kids at the Michigan school of the blind, put me on the map. They put me on the map. And as result of that , uh , I coauthored my first book with a professor from bowling green university with regard to motor skills for deaf blind children. And sooner or later, I was tapped to be an assistant principal, the first black assistant principal, and later on principal at the Michigan school for the blind. So those deaf blind kids , uh, put me on the map. So I spent 10 years at the Michigan school for the blind as a teacher assistant principal and principal. Well, if you wanted to , uh, aspire to a higher leadership position at schools for the blind , uh, that would it be superintendent. So in 1981, I applied to several schools. One was the Missouri school for the mine, and , uh , lo and behold, after my interviews there in St . Louis and coming back to Lansing , Michigan, where I live, I got invited to be the new superintendent at the Missouri school for the blind in 1981. Wow. So 81 is key for you because 81 would have been , uh, I would have become an EOT , uh, because I was superintendent. And then in October of 81, my first venture , uh, to APH. So , uh, that's the history now, all of that leading up to that point, you know, was , uh , a segregated education. Uh, but, but , uh, you know, things were beginning to change. And so I was one of those change agents at the, at Glossier in high school when I became one of three black teachers to go to that school. And , uh, that worked out very well. So from, from an elementary student, myself in DC to , uh, being a change maker and Gloucester , uh, I look back with fondness on this as to my educational history. Uh, I had some of the best African-American teachers and teachers , uh , in elementary, junior and high school. And at normal state university, I had some of the best African American professors , uh, there. And so all of that created for me this next step out of education, into special education, with an emphasis emphasis on blindness and visual impairment. And so that's how I wound up from 1981 to 2019 in the field of blindness and divisional impairment. Uh , Sarah .

Sara:

Wow. Wow. What a career? What a story. Okay. May 17th, 1954. That was, that'll be that 66 years ago. Yes. That was when the us Supreme court declared that segregated schools were unconstitutional. The Brown beat , the Brown V board of education decision was historic. And those who were students then are now your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents today. What, what do you remember? I'm not trying to get your age or anything, but where , where were you at around that time?

Mr. Tutt:

Well, see, 1954, I would have been in junior high school in Washington, DC. I would have begun my high school education in 1957. So I was out of , uh , 13 years old, of course , you know, I'm now 78 years old. And I'm one of those grandparents that you've mentioned today after the Brown vs board of education. So , uh, I was in segregated schools during that decision. And from that time on , uh, until, you know, going to Norfolk state university, graduating, going to Gloucester , uh, to teach , uh, and then to be a part of integrating the schools in the Gloucester in , um , you know, 1968.

Sara:

What was that like when this decision is handed down, you're 13, you have some sort of idea as to what's going on. What was that like when that decision was handed down? What was w what was that like? Like does , because change doesn't happen overnight? No , it does . So what was that like going to school the next day?

Mr. Tutt:

Well, in Washington, DC , uh, which , uh , during those years was probably 30% black and 70% white. So , uh, the DC public schools were slow to integrate black kids in the white schools. Therefore , uh, I was in a junior high school that was segregated black , uh, and, you know, graduated from there in 1957 and then went to spinning garden highest school in 57, which was black segregated. So the schools , uh , in DC really didn't begin to, to integrate fully until after I had graduated high school in 1960. And then, you know, the issues began to flourish because the mandate had to be , uh, exercised. And so at that time, I was at Norfolk state university and saw all of the turmoil across the country, especially the Southern States about integration of, of schools and colleges. So , uh, how was in the midst of that , uh, during that time, but as , as , as , uh , a student junior high high school. And then of course , uh , after graduating novice state and went over to Gloucester, how was the part as late as 1968, integrating the schools in Gloucester? Wow. From 1954 to 68, it's took all that time, you know, for schools to do that. And there was a lot of terrible health , obviously around the country, mostly in the South , uh , as a result of that. But , uh, uh, I , I was not too young to realize what had happened, but I wasn't involved in, in my, I wasn't transferred to , uh, uh , of white junior high or high school in DC. So thus my elementary and secondary education was all certain that it , now, I believe if I remember correctly as been gone high school, there may have been a white teacher who came to that school if I'm remembering correctly, I'm not sure, but I think so, but that was a white teacher coming into a black school, not a black teacher going to a white school. And of course, DC had a lot of excellent black high schools in DC Dunbar, Armstrong Cardoza. Oh my goodness. Spin gone . What's the newest films. Oh, wow . I tell you, they see had the best public schools and many, many, you know, athletes were being recruited out of DC to go major colleges around the country. Uh, so I had an excellent DC segregated education center and I did.

Sara:

Wow. Thanks so much and be sure to check out our next podcast where Mr. Tight will talk about his experience as a teacher in an integrated school. Thank you so much for joining us today on Change Makers. We look forward to hearing about that and everything else. You've got to say, Mr. Todd, it's been wonderful.

Mr. Tutt:

Well, thank you very much. It's been an honor to be your guest , uh , on this black history month for APH . It really has. I mean that with all sincerity and also please give my , uh , friends and colleagues, APH, my sincere regards and well wishes for a happy 2021,

Sara:

I sure will. Thank you. Thank you so much. Yes. That's it. For today's episode of Change Makers, all of the information discussed today will be in the show notes. Be sure to find ways you can be a change maker this week.