Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Rachel Pavone’s tenure with the Council lasted only for about a year and a half, but her contributions during that time have been many. And now Rachel is in a new transition. In November, Rachel decided to leave the Council for personal reasons. We were sad to say goodbye.
Rachel, known for her upbeat “can-do” attitude, was a teacher first and foremost. She worked with individuals with vision loss to educate them on ways to accomplish daily living activities independently. Rachel also taught braille to Council clients.
“Rachel provided caring, compassionate training to our Vision Services clients, developed the new vision rehabilitation classroom, created curriculum for teaching, and was a great addition to our team,” says Education and Vision Services Director Amy Wurf.
Rachel’s interest in the vision rehabilitation 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. By the time she entered college, Rachel had lost her remaining vision. There was limited support and accommodation for Rachel in college. She quickly realized that she was going to have to figure many things out on her own. She taught herself to use screen reader technology and learned the process for obtaining instructional materials in braille. These lessons in resourcefulness, in conjunction with her formal training, provided Rachel with a very personal base from which to teach others.
“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.
Amy says Rachel will be missed for her contributions around the Council office almost as much as for her work with clients. “Rachel was always eager and willing to help out in any way and was often the first to volunteer for whatever was needed. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” Amy says.