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Reesa’s Experience: Looking Through the Eyes of a Training Buddy

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

The graphic shows a close-up of Reesa looking at the camera, with an arrow pointing from the title to the photo. The title says, "Reesa’s Experience: Looking Through the Eyes of a Training Buddy."
The graphic shows a close-up of Reesa looking at the camera, with an arrow pointing from the title to the photo. The title says, "Reesa’s Experience: Looking Through the Eyes of a Training Buddy."

One unique aspect of First Aid for the Blind’s program is the inclusion of a Training Buddy. We believe that a friend or family member coming alongside a client can increase morale while also improving retention of the new material. After all, two heads are better than one!


One of our recent clients, Dustin, had an amazing support system in his aunt, Reesa.


Dustin, on the left, and his Aunt Reesa, on the right, look at the camera smiling.
Dustin, on the left, and his Aunt Reesa, on the right, look at the camera smiling.

Dustin started losing his vision in 2002 with a detached retina in his right eye caused by severe myopathy. A few years later, he started losing vision in his left eye. Unfortunately, multiple surgeries were attempted, but none were successful in improving his sight. He never received training for this handicap.


Dustin was living in a group home when his mother, Reesa’s sister, passed away. His father had died years prior. Due to limitations in his group home, he asked to move in with his aunt in Indianapolis. She loved the idea, as she and Dustin have always been close.


Dustin struggled greatly with his physical impairments for a long time, but his aunt said he is now medically and psychologically stable. In 2023, they connected with Kurt Deichmann, CEO and founder of First Aid for the Blind.


"Dustin had never been around anyone else with vision loss, so when we had the class with Kurt, Dustin was amazed and fascinated that Kurt was living a life even with his loss," said Reesa. "Dustin was very dependent on others for almost everything."


During his training, Dustin and Reesa received assistive devices and lessons on how to use them. These tools have greatly helped Dustin lead a more normal life.


"Dustin is now more independent," said Reesa, "He keeps up with the time and uses Alexa to get up and get organized. The recorder is wonderful. Dustin is using it for grocery lists and daily living reminders. The apps on his iPhone are fantastic."


Reesa loved the experience she and her nephew had with FAFTB, citing Kurt’s patience and knowledge as exceptional. As the designated Training Buddy, she appreciated being able to learn alongside Dustin, allowing them the opportunity to help each other retain information and reinforce newly learned skills.


"Kurt was a lifesaver with his class," said Reesa, "teaching both Dustin and me all about the technology that is available for Dustin to have a more independent and better quality of life. We will be forever grateful for FAFTB."


In fact, Reesa even said she’d give FAFTB an A+!


"I would like to encourage other families to reach out to FAFTB,” she said, “as this class offers helpful information and tools. As Dustin and I have found out, families are a team, and one does not have to be isolated."


FAFTB continues to reach out and check on clients like Dustin to see if other supports and resources are needed. This follow-up is appreciated by Reesa and her nephew, as they continue working on Dustin’s skills and building his independence and confidence.


If you or someone you know would like more information about FAFTB’s training, send us your information through our simple, no-commitment form.

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