At CHKC, Consumers Become More Independent
CHKC employee Nafisah Patel was born with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that rapidly develops from the cells of a retina. As a result, she had her eyes removed when she was only four months old. As she puts it, she has never known a life with sight.
At CHKC, Nafisah works as the assistive technology instructor and she teaches classes related to braille and cooking. She began working at CHKC in April 2017 and says of her experiences, “most importantly I love working with the consumers and staff. I am thankful to be around an amazing group of people who have big open hearts and minds to make anything possible for consumers. It goes to show you that even if you have dual sensory loss, limitations don’t necessarily exist.”
For Nafisah, this is a welcome change. “I find that at times society disables people with disabilities. You can overcome them, but society does not make it very easy to do so. CHKC works to eliminate those barriers for people who are deafblind, and that’s refreshing.”
About her role at CHKC, Nafisah does not have to think hard about what she enjoys the most. “I love teaching, and that’s what I get to do. Whether I do it here or at a consumer’s home, it is still teaching. I am passionate about teaching and I enjoy it very much. The best part about it is being able to teach someone something they did not know before and then knowing that they have expanded their independence and confidence. In addition, because some of the consumer’s are older than myself, I too learn from their life experiences and that is inspirational. Seeing them happy makes my day.”
As a person who is blind, Nafisah would like the community to know this about people with disabilities: “Everyone, regardless of their disability that you may or may not perceive, is able to accomplish their greatest life goals in their own way. And just because of those disabilities it does not make them any less of a person.”