When you first meet Megan, signs of vision or hearing loss are not readily apparent… She looks directly at you when in conversation and her speech is articulate. Yet Megan struggles to see and hear everyday, and uses an exhaustive amount of concentration in order to understand her continuously changing environment. This is because Megan has Usher syndrome, the leading cause of deaf/blind disorders in the United States.
When Megan was three years old doctors confirmed that she had a moderately-severe hearing impairment, with a hearing loss equivalent to 80%. But it wasn’t until she was 22 years old that she learned she was also losing her vision due to Usher syndrome. Unbeknownst to her, she had been losing her vision all her life and was already considered legally blind. To further the blow, doctors told her to prepare for a life of complete darkness – she was going to go blind.
At the time of her diagnosis, Megan had begun pursuing her life-long passion in architecture by enrolling in the School of Architecture at the University of Kansas. When told of her condition she was devastated by the reality of losing her remaining vision and what it meant to pursue the daunting and unchartered territory of a visually impaired architecture student.
After moving home from the traumatic diagnosis, Megan decided to finish her degree in architecture when she transferred to Washington University in Saint Louis in 2007. Faced with several setbacks as her vision continued to deteriorate, she finally graduated in May 2010 with a BA in Architecture and a minor in Art History.
Now left with only her central vision, with a visual field of only 10 degrees, Megan currently works for a marketing company in St. Louis and is a member of the Diversity Awareness Partnership. She is a philanthropist actively involved in other non-profit organizations across the nation, and is passionate about creating an accessible world in all areas of life.
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