February 28, 2011
Education classes host guest speaker during Low Vision Awareness Month
Because February is Low Vision Awareness Month, several Harding University education classes welcomed Searcy resident Mollie Hernandez to address how to teach students with exceptionalities.
Hernandez suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that has left her legally blind. She relies on her seeing-eye dog, Kyle, to help her manage everyday tasks.
Sara Miller, instructor in the Cannon-Clary College of Education, invited Hernandez to speak in two of her classes that deal specifically with different exceptionalities they as teachers may encounter in the classroom.
“I decided to have Mollie speak after I read an article about her in Searcy Living. I love to bring guest speakers to this class. Having these guests provides the emotion behind the disability, and I feel it allows students to be more empathetic,” Miller said.
“Mollie helped me realize how important it is that we can see these indicators in our students and make adjustments to our classroom environment. If we are aware of our students’ challenges, we as teachers will be better able to meet their needs,” said senior education major Natalie Freeman.
In sharing her story, Hernandez was able to provide understanding for future teachers and make suggestions on how to better accommodate students who struggle with low vision.
“Mollie said that having a disability isn't an excuse, it is an explanation. She spoke passionately about teachers being aware of their students and looking for possible issues with vision impairments and low vision, and she gave several ideas on how to help these students,” Miller said.
Hernandez has spoken at several local events, but this was her first engagement at Harding. She is the wife of Harding alumnus Guillermo Hernandez, with whom she has two children.