Carol Ann Clem: Bringing Life into Focus Video

Carol, age 58, talks about being born prematurely with limited vision, caused by retinopathy of prematurity. She discusses her childhood and early life before technology and demonstrates how her video magnifier has “opened up the world” for her.



Transcript of Video

NARRATOR: Carol Ann Clem, Age 58, Retinopathy of Prematurity

Carol Clem, a blonde woman wearing glasses and a purple sweater sitting near a bookshelf.

Being Born with Limited Vision

CAROL: My identical twin sister and I were born three months premature. And we were born in a very overcrowded New York hospital, and we were, fortunately enough, to be put in the same incubator, so we have one blind eye and one good eye.

Life Before Technology

CAROL: I never was really able to read things such as e-mail, compose letters on Microsoft Word. I wasn't able to do anything on a computer, because I never could see the print. And I learned by memorizing icons, counting from left to right how many positions I needed to be.

Using a Video Magnifier to Improve Life and Teaching Skills

NARRATOR: Carol in her office. On the computer monitor, a picture of Carol with a group of children.

CAROL: I spend a lot of time in my office looking at letters, bills, mail, composing and writing curriculum for my kindergarten students, reading books that I need to be briefed on for new policies for the school that I'm in presently.

NARRATOR: Carol turns the dial of her video magnifier to examine a document.

CAROL: No matter what, I can make the print larger, I put it under the CCTV. I have a grandchild, and I can send pictures to people. I've been able to format my own newsletters. It's just been an entirely different world to me.

The Joy of Getting an Email Address in 2006

NARRATOR: Carol reading an email on her computer screen.

CAROL: It was wonderful. I have never, ever had an e-mail address, and when I received my technology equipment, I was able to go online, check my e-mail and answer it, and I just - I mean you could hear me screaming from blocks away. Yeah, I felt so important. I felt like I had made it into the 21st century.

Advice for Others

CAROL: The first thing I want to say is, please try. Yes, you might be overwhelmed for a while, 24 hours. After that, you're an expert.

NARRATOR: Carol smiles as she uses a video magnifier to look at family photos.

CAROL: It's been amazing to me for the first time to see things that I've never seen all my life.

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