woman seated on floor with arm around dog guide

Learning and sharing are truly lifelong passions for Sheila. Having been born in the late 1950s, her mother and father were unaware of the severe nature of her eye condition. She later discovered that she had a rare disorder known as Marfan Syndrome, which accounts for defects in the connective tissue of the body. In Sheila’s particular situation, she was born with cataracts and somewhat smaller eyes. After the removal of the cataracts, she developed glaucoma and later retinal detachments.

Along with her sisters, Sheila attended the local public school with no accommodations for her vision loss. This was likely due to either a lack of information or a general indifference to specialized education services within the public school setting. Her early educational experience was very challenging and, while this made for a difficult life as a child, Sheila learned the importance of self-advocacy. She realized very early on that identifying the issue, networking, and creating partnerships were the essential steps to reaching solutions and setting goals.

Sheila has taken those life lessons with her as she has met the challenges of being blind and pursuing her goals throughout life. Sheila first obtained a Bachelor of Science degree. Then went on for a graduate degree. With a master’s degree in special education from Clemson University, Sheila has provided Inter-related Special Education Instruction in the public school setting, Parent Advisor support for Georgia Parent Infant Network of Educational Services (PINES), as well as instruction at the college level for students requiring assistance with developmental studies in preparation for more advanced college level work.

Sheila’s interest in adaptive technologies has afforded her the opportunity to study and gain certification with COMP-TIA A+ as well as JAWS. Her love of braille and the importance of braille literacy has challenged her to obtain the National Library Services, Washington, D.C. certification in Literary Braille transcription. She has taken those newly learned skills and provided braille instruction to senior adults with vision loss, in order to provide them with the skills they desire in order to remain as independent as they choose. Sheila is active in civic organizations such as the LIONS club and Middle Tennessee Council of the Blind. She provides adaptive technology instruction for either individuals or groups for the sheer joy of seeing students realize that they have access to the world of technology and various other resources.

“Learning is truly a life long journey, and the remarkable people that one meets on the way make the journey ever so invaluable.” —Sheila Rousey

Read more about Sheila’s personal story.

Read blog posts by Sheila Rousey on the Visually Impaired: Now What? blog.