Peer support group available for those adjusting to blindness

SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - From learning braille to independent travel, those are just one of the many skills taught at the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living in Sparks.

It's part of support group led by blindness advocacy and resource officer Mark Tadder.

"It's to help people talk about who recently lost their vision," said Tadder. "So, they can talk to other folks who been through or going through it now come to grips with it and prepare for the future."

It's all to help build dependency and create resources in the community.

"I lost my eyesight 6 years ago, my central vision," Tadder explained. "So I wasn't able to drive or read or walk around. I didn't know anybody at that point that was blind or had low vision or been through it. It was a very lonely experience."

Just ask Ramona Coker.

She started losing her sight at 26 years old, Coker is now studying web development to help make websites and documents accessible.

"We want them to know they can be independent and viable," said Coker. "You can be a productive part of society and all that stigma can be cast off."

Ramona admits while losing your vision can be a whirlwind of emotions, it shouldn't stop you from doing anything you want to do.

"Blindness is just a state of being," said Coker. "It doesn't change who you are or what you're capable of. You just have to find a different way."

With over 50 people now involved in their program, their goal is to spread awareness and reach people all across northern Nevada.

"There are others. In fact there are over 100,000 people with low vision in just the state of Nevada alone," explained Coker. "Where are they? Wherever they are, We're here. We're here to help."

Adjustment to blindness is just one of the many programs offered at the Northern Nevada Centern for Independent Living

The peer support group is held every Wednesday until March 25, 2020 from 9 am to 11 am.

For more information, click here.

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