Ruth Ann began playing piano in a small Moddersville, MI church when she was 10 years old. Today she plays the organ for services at Trinity Reformed Church in Grand Haven, where she and her husband live. Ruth Ann also teaches private piano lessons in her home…in fact, for 49 years.
What makes Ruth Ann’s story special is her vision impairment that restricts significant use of her eyesight. Five years ago, her eye doctor diagnosed Macular Degeneration (MD). MD causes severe loss of sight in the center of a person’s visual field. Needless to say, reading sheet music is extremely difficult. She exemplifies this “can do” spirit. With technology devices prescribed by ABVI’s doctor, and in-home Vision Rehabilitation from our professional team, Ruth Ann continues to live a full life, doing as much as she can with severely-restricted vision.
Ruth Ann uses a computer and camera purchased from ABVI to enlarge music pages where a student might have a problem. She also uses the technology to find out which key the music is written in, and relies on it when she attends her church’s Worship Committee meetings. And besides playing much from memory, Ruth Ann uses high intensity lights that help her read printed music.
Ruth Ann was referred to ABVI from a “friend of a friend”, who was a member of ABVI’s Grand Haven support group. Each month, ABVI’s Grand Haven clients get together at “Village at the Pines” for learning, sharing and supporting each other. These individuals all have medical diagnoses of Low Vision (including Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma etc.) that limit their abilities to do everything they’d like to do…and used to do. For instance, they can no longer drive their cars. And most will find it difficult to read their mail, the newspaper, see their family photos and enjoy everyday activities such as watching TV and cooking.
But this group doesn’t focus on what they can’t do…they work together with our professional rehabilitation staff… and each other…learning what they CAN do with ABVI’s tools, technology devices and coping skills. Each individual also shares their frustrations…but more importantly, they discuss their ideas and their successes.
She and her Support Group peers help each other rebuild confidence and relearn ways to do what they most want to do and need to do…to remain independent.