Michele Clock Named Recipient of Hadley's 2018 'Challenge of Living Award'
Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
That may be the best way to describe what Michele Clock has experienced since losing the majority of her vision. The 45-year-old Exeter, NH woman was born with poor visual acuity, made worse by a series of automobile accidents she had been involved in over the years, and significant medical complications during the pregnancy and birth of her daughter.
After suffering multiple concussions and undergoing several head and neck surgeries resulting from the injuries and medical complications, she experienced a series of new and even more debilitating injuries to her eyes and has lived since then with very little vision.
Since finding Hadley, Michele has flourished and learned how to not let her disability get in the way of living life. Because of this, she was named recipient of Hadley's prestigious 'Challenge of Living Award.'
"I couldn't stop crying when I learned about the award," said Clock, a speech pathologist by trade. "I was honored and am so grateful to Hadley for giving me back my freedom and independence. When my vision stopped, my life stopped. But through taking courses it offers at no cost, Hadley gave me the confidence to live like any non-disabled person would."
Michele has taken Hadley curriculums including braille, Apple iOS accessibility, and everyday living instruction for everything like cooking, doing laundry, applying makeup and even cutting her daughter's toenails.
"I'm just not scared anymore," she said. "Hadley has even provided safety and awareness courses that my daughter and I now use when we travel by train in order to explore Boston. Think about that for a second. We are both visually impaired but have the confidence to explore a city as large as Boston by ourselves. It's truly amazing."
Orientation and mobility classes have offered tips for using her cane and have allowed her to continue riding horses, snow skiing, gardening and other outdoor activities.
A voracious reader prior to the birth of her daughter, Michele has been overjoyed with the thousands of audio books Hadley offers through its complimentary 'Bookshare' library. They've even provided her with assistance while researching whether to buy her daughter an Apple iPad or MacBook.
In addition, Michele has taken advantage of Hadley's extensive list of instructional videos on how to use the vision accessibility features in Apple devices. The videos are hosted by Douglas Walker, who is legally blind and among the nation's leading experts on iPhone accessibility. In addition to his work with Hadley, Walker is a former adjunct professor in the vision program at Vanderbilt University.
"I make sure that everyone I know who has some type of vision impairment is aware of the life-changing opportunities Hadley can provide," said Michele. "I'm so blessed to have found Hadley and to get to know so many of its incredible instructors. They go above and beyond and it's comforting to know that they will always be there when my daughter and I need them."