Being both visually and hearing impaired is difficult at school and at home, but ever since I've been going to the GRADS program at the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments, it's made my life easier. I've made more friends with visual impairments like me, challenged myself with many activities (such as ropes courses and climbing walls), and found new hobbies. One of them is tandem cycling.
Because of tandem I can ride a bike just like any other person. I've been cycling for three years now and love every minute of it! The cool breeze, the beauty of Forest Park in St. Louis, MO, and talking to the tandem team. I learned about the importance of exercise, too, and the healthier you are, the better you look, feel, and act.
One of the most important lessons I learned was to keep on going and don't give up. It's like when you're going fast uphill and you stop because your legs are tired, then turn around, never to reach the top and never to be the best you can be. On the other hand, when you're starting off slowly and making your way up the hill steadily, once you hit a hard spot, you have enough power to keep on going and reach the top. That skill helps me with everything I do: in school, at home, with friends, in surgeries, and in my everyday life.
Tandem has taught me a lot about how to get through tough things and it has cleared my mind of bad thoughts of the day, making me always determined to fight through all my hardships.
By Elise Schiller (age 14)