Blind Texas A&M Student Chimes in on Campus Navigation

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M University campus can be difficult to navigate, especially if you're blind.

Texas A&M Sophomore Kaitlyn Kellermeyer, 19, was born with a genetic disease known as Incontinentia Pigmenti.

Kellermeyer has always been blind in her left eye because of the disease. In high school, she began to lose sight in her right eye. The problem would only get worse.

"Last year, around October, something just changed inside my eye," said Kellermeyer.

By March of 2014, her sight would be completely gone.

"I think what really helps me is recognizing it," said Kellermeyer. "stopping every once and a while and reminding myself this is my reality, and that's ok."

Kellermeyer would return to school just two weeks after losing her sight. She said friends and fellow students offered some of the best therapy she could find.

"Even random people I meet on campus or on the bus, are always so supportive and so welcoming," said Kellermeyer.

Along with her trusty guide dog, Lunar, Kellermeyer relies heavily on familiar sounds to get around campus.

When things are silent, it's easy to get turned around.

"And end up in a completely different place than you wanted to end up, but still think you're going the correct way," said Kellermeyer.

Her solution to the problem has a ring to it. Wind chimes placed in key locations around campus.

Joseph Hood, a Sophomore at A&M, serves on the student senate. He wrote a bill on the subject that recently passed the senate.

"When Kaitlyn walks around campus, she knows where she is because of the texture beneath her feet, and based on the sound of an air conditioning unit," said Hood. "And that's something you and I don't consider and don't really understand."

The bill must be approved by Texas A&M officials before it can be recognized by the school.

"I think our greatest tradition as Aggies is helping other Aggies," said Hood. "And more than anything else, that's what this is."

No matter the outcome, Kellermeyer said losing her sight has given her a way to see things few people can.

"It's a big change, and it's a lot to adjust to, but I can do it, and I will do it," said Kellermeyer. "And I have people around me that will support me and be there for me."

Kellymeyer would like to start with about ten wind chimes around campus, possibly adding more later. Texas A&M officials said there are currently around 60 visually impaired students at the university.



 
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