We’re pleased to welcome Rachel Pavone to the Council staff! Rachel came on board in June as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. In that role, she collaborates with clients who are blind or have low vision to educate them on ways to accomplish independent living tasks, introducing them to new methods and assistive devices to help with daily activities.
Rachel has a Bachelor of Science degree in general studies and a Master of Arts degree in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, both from Western Michigan University. When she is not working with clients, she loves to play with her guide dog Glory and play jazz on her alto saxophone.
Rachel’s interest in the vision services field sprang from personal experience. Diagnosed with progressive retinitis pigmentosa at age 9, she was fortunate to attend a public school system that had staff well-equipped to meet her needs.
“We had a teacher for the visually impaired who taught me braille,” Rachel says. “And she figured out how I could adapt to do schoolwork.” The school also provided a mobility instructor who taught Rachel how to navigate using a white cane.
By the time she entered college, Rachel had lost her remaining vision. Without the support she had received in her public schools, she found that she was often on her own, teaching herself using screen reader technology and figuring out how to obtain materials in braille.
“Through all that, I realized that I wanted to help others who are blind and share the experiences I benefitted from that they may not have had growing up,” Rachel says.