A degree of support from VisAbility for medic student Harry

He spent half a year in Europe studying at the University of Bristol and travelling, and is now completing his medicine degree. Twenty-two-year-old Harry has never let his vision loss stand in the way of his career aspirations.

Academically gifted, an enthusiastic sportsman and competent musician, Harry has been receiving support from VisAbility nearly all his life.

Harry sits around a table with a group of friends including Ryan Honschooten
Harry credits Ryan and his mum who’ve inspired him to do well

“I was born with blonde hair and a fair complexion. It wasn’t until I was three months old when I had trouble focusing, that I received a diagnosis of nystagmus and albinism,” he explains.

His mum Helen says Harry was referred to VisAbility’s early intervention services and credits them for his future success.

“These early therapy sessions helped to improve his fine and gross motor skills as well as eye-to-hand coordination. I always felt a lack of vision doesn’t impede a sharp brain.”

Helen – Harry’s mother

From school to university

Harry is classed as legally blind because he has just 10% vision.

“I went to a mainstream school, but I had large print school books. I made full use of assistive technology including magnifiers. In the classroom, I used a special camera so I could pick up the writing on a white board. I had some inspiring teachers and plenty of support from VisAbility.”

As a teenager, he went on VisAbility camps and formed a firm friendship with Youth Support Officer Ryan Honschooten.

“If ever there was a shining example of someone who has never let a vision impairment get in his way, it’s Ryan.”

Harry – VisAbility client and medical student

“He is blind but spent three months sailing around Cape Horn and South America. He’s even got me behind the helm of a yacht’s steering wheel!

harry playfully pushes Ryan. They're perched at the top of a plastic slide in the CAYS area.
Ryan has been a mentor to Harry for many years

Receiving support from VisAbility

Harry lives at home with his parents and younger brother. He hopes to move into a flat on his own when he finishes his studies at the University of Western Australia (link opens in new tab).

“I’ve got a white cane, but because I still have a small amount of vision, I have benefitted from Orientation and Mobility therapy.”

“With clients such as Harry, mobility means we’re looking at additional things they can do for all important tasks with the vision they do have. For crossing the road, this might mean standing at the roadside, so you have a better field of oncoming cars,” explains Orientation and Mobility Specialist Jodie Bruce.

VisAbility’s professional therapy and support services are available to you at any stage of life. From early intervention, through school age, to adulthood and into later life. Let us help make life’s challenges easier for you.

Services are available via NDIS plan funding, My Aged Care or fee for service. Learn more about funding options available.

Investigate the services we offer at VisAbility and call us on 1800 847 466 if you’d like more information.