Teen Spotlight – Bobby S.
Hi there! I’m Bobby S. a 17 year-old from Long Island, New York. I’m a senior in high school and the oldest of five children. Every day, I commute one hour (each way) into Manhattan for school, and my friends come from across the tri-state area. In school, I am always in the front of the room, and my teachers have been very helpful in accommodating my visual impairment. I have long been fascinated by technology and the many ways that it has also served to mitigate my disability. I am proficient in German, and recently spent three weeks in Berlin as part of an exchange program. I plan to study physics in college.
Outside of school, I love sports. I began playing soccer when I was four years old, but as the field grew larger and the ball started to leave the ground, I began to struggle; the sun and my poor depth perception combined to make judging a flying ball very difficult, and I often couldn’t see what was happening across the field. Then, in third grade, I added a soft-brimmed baseball cap to my Rec Specs, and since then I have not only continued to play travel soccer, but have been on my school’s Varsity team for the past two years. I also love running, and have been on my school’s track and cross-country teams all four years. I enjoy skiing in the winter, and water-skiing and tubing during the summer. Skiing moguls has been a particular challenge for me, as I have trouble reading the terrain and spotting the bumps, but like in so many other aspects of my life, I have found that I can overcome these difficulties through perseverance and a willingness to fail. During my free time, I read, play the piano, or hang out with my friends.
Living on the south shore of Long Island, I also spend a lot of time at the beach during the summer; I’m a little bit afraid of what my annual sunscreen bill must be. Reflecting on the ways in which albinism has affected my life inevitably reminds me of one thing: there is no “normal” person. My friends view my pale hair and poor vision no differently than my voice or height, and this thought helps me to continue to challenge the barriers that my vision presents. I don’t pretend that I don’t have albinism; I just don’t care.