Where There's a Will, There's a Way Rare Eye Cancer Is No Obstacle for NCC Broadcasting Major from Arlington Hts
Byline: Submitted by North Central College Submitted by North Central College
Ryan Henders, a North Central College senior and resident of Arlington Heights, uses his black lab and canine roommate Irby to navigate campus, and just about everything else.
A guide dog, Irby arrived at North Central when Henders transferred there to pursue his dream of studying broadcasting at a smaller campus.
Nearly blind, Henders was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, a rare type of eye cancer, in both eyes when he was 9 months old.
"I can see certain things like the figure of a person, but I have no depth perception or ability to see how close someone or something is," Henders says.
While Irby helps with navigation, Henders uses other tools to help him in and out of the classroom and to train for a career in radio. A broadcast communication and organizational communication double major, he learned Braille at a young age and relies on it to read and deliver news on air and co-host a weekly show, "Local Chaos," on the college's FM radio station, WONC 89.1.
For reporting on traffic and weather and all his coursework, he uses his laptop with a computer screen reader program called JAWS (Job Access With Speech). JAWS reads aloud what's on his laptop screen and provides intelligent tools for navigating screen content.
In the classroom, Henders takes notes on his standard laptop and is skilled at using keystrokes to navigate his software and the Internet. To review his notes and do online research, he dons earphones to listen to content on his screen.
For on-air broadcasting, Henders has his own cue cards with Braille on them and utilizes a technology called Focus 40 Blue Wireless Braille Display, which enables him to read documents, spreadsheets, email and surf the web. …