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A Piece of My Mind
November 1, 2016

Moving From Disability to Possibility

Author Affiliations
  • 1 Medical Scientist Training Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA. 2016;316(17):1767-1768. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.9956

When I was in the first grade, an astute teacher noticed that I had trouble seeing the blackboard. This finding was quickly confirmed by a vision test. Formal evaluation by an ophthalmologist revealed that I had a rare degenerative retinal disease. Worse than that diagnosis was the ophthalmologist’s devastating prognosis for my life: attending college would be very challenging, sports and certain activities would be difficult or impossible, and it was unlikely that I would ever have a professional career.