Young man refuses to let blindness obscure lofty goals - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Young man refuses to let blindness obscure lofty goals

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:15 am

Tanner Robinson was a premature baby diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity at birth. His parents were informed that he had very low vision with little chance of improvement. They were devastated and had no idea where to turn or what to do to help their firstborn.

Fortunately, their doctor referred them to the Foundation for Blind Children. Tanner and his family received services regularly through the Infant Program where his parents learned how to work with him and teach him those skills that most children learn by imitating what they see.

When he turned 3, Tanner started preschool. His parents said they felt a great sense of comfort knowing that they were leaving their child with qualified teachers each day who knew what their son needed to succeed.

As Tanner progressed in his education, he continued receiving services from the Foundation for Blind Children including orientation and mobility training which taught him how to navigate independently using a white cane.

As a teenager, Tanner participated in the College Prep Program which gave him the opportunity to live on campus at Arizona State University for several weeks during the summer and complete a college course. Tanner says that participating in College Prep helped give him the confidence to enroll in ASU once he graduated from high school.

While he was attending ASU, the Foundation for Blind Children embarked on a challenge to guide blind climbers to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and Tanner was recruited to be a member of the team. He trained with sighted guides for months ahead of time to prepare for the arduous climb. Tanner was part of the largest group of blind climbers to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2009 and still holds that title today.

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