Her story is one that begins with a love of art and ends with a return to independence.
Justine Horlander is an Indianapolis native diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa Inversa. It is a disease that she was already familiar with. Her mother, grandmother and eight-year-old son, Nathan, all have some form of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)
, an optical disease caused by damage to the retina with symptoms including loss of peripheral vision. But Justine has the inversed form of RP that causes, instead, central vision loss. A 1989 graduate of Herron School of Art
with an emphasis in graphic design and illustration, Justine’s artistic abilities were challenged and creativity halted with the onset of RP. Her eye doctor encouraged Justine to work with Easter Seals Crossroads, thus beginning her journey into the world of assistive technology.
Easter Seals Crossroads
introduced Justine to her first piece of assistive technology — the CCTV
. It uses a video camera to magnify an image, which is then seen on a monitor. Finally in 1994, Justine was able to continue her work in photography with the CCTV. She not only can look at her photos, but also can read mail, recipes and phone lists.
In 2009 when she started working with Belva Smith, Training Coordinator in the Assistive Technology Department at Easter Seals Crossroads, Justine was introduced to ZoomText — software that is used to
magnify what is seen on a computer screen. With ZoomText, Justine can now send e-mails, plan for her family’s vacation to Croatia and organize her thousands of photos.
Before assistive technology, Justine had to put her work on hold whenever someone wasn’t around to help. Now, she can use her CCTV and ZoomText on her computer to help her son with homework, produce her
art and do many other things that people without RP can do.
Justine is extremely grateful for her assistive technology and to Easter Seals Crossroads — this combination gave her back her work, her passion and her life.
This story was first premiered in the INDATA Winter 2009 Newsletter, which you can read as a tagged PDF. Interested in a demonstration of low vision products? Send an email to Carol Girt, device demo pro, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-466-1314.