Kaitlynn Lenius' Story

September 19 - Kaitlynn.JPGTwelve-year-old Kaitlynn Lenius is on a mission to inspire and educate people about her experience as a youth who is partially sighted.

“You can’t just escape the reality of being visually impaired. You don’t just stop doing what you do. You have got to continue. You have to do what you like and don’t let anyone tell you any differently,” said the Regina resident.

Inspired by her mother, she prefers to look at the bright side of life. “She always taught me to think positive and has helped me. So I would like to give people that, if they don’t really have that.”

She was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and has no sight in her left eye and very little sight in her right. Accessing several CNIB rehabilitation services from the age of ten months old, she was one of the youngest children in Saskatchewan to receive a white cane.

Since she was five, Kaitlynn has participated in the CNIB children’s camp. The camp experience provides children and youth that are blind or partially sighted a chance to enjoy recreational activities with their peers while both enhancing and building life skills. But the other thing that camp does is it allows children who have sight loss the same normal childhood experiences as their sighted peers.

“I think that the activities are fun. I find it really interesting how many people there are that are actually visually impaired within our community. And how diverse the community is."

“For people like me who like learning, you learn a lot. Learning is important.”

Two years’ ago she acquired an important skill from her camp experience. “Through going down the waterslide, I learned to take more risks because I used to be frightened of them because you don’t know whether you are going to go upside down.”

One of the camp counsellors convinced her to conquer her fear, and in doing so there have been multiple benefits to her lifestyle. This summer she learned how to ride a tandem bike and now is active weekly with one of her friends who pilots the front while she pedals in the back.

She believes learning to take risks will benefit her in the future especially as she looks for a job. “I am not really sure if they will accept me as a person without sight or allow me to work in the community but I am going to try anyways."

Kaitlynn’s confidence is contagious and her knowledge about accessible technology and Braille are being recognized. One of Kaitlynn’s teachers recommended her as a speaker for this year’s Insight Conference in Regina about how to use Braille. Moving forward she wants to continue to speak publicly. Kaitlynn dream's of becoming an inspirational speaker like Molly Burke, a Canadian YouTube personality and Ami correspondent who is blind.

Recently Kaitlynn began training to become Saskatchewan’s first Youth Spokesperson for CNIB and she believes she is going to make a difference.

Kaitlynn follows Casey Neistat on YouTube and said, “Casey Neistat had ‘You don’t need sight to have vision’ engraved on Molly Burke’s sunglasses after they did a video together. And I want others to know, you don’t need to have sight to have a vision of how you are going to help the world.”

To view the Casey Nesitat and Molly Burke video click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfqAHfpQkno​