"Getting to see people change and grow in their confidence, and being able to convince the outside community that people who are blind or visually impaired can still succeed in many aspects is so fulfilling.”
Terese Goren has worked at Envision in many different departments for over 20 years. She is now Envisions’ Senior Accessibility Analyst for our William L. Hudson Workforce Innovation Center. Her job is to ensure that each website or digital media she is given to test is useable by all people equally across every disability and every age. She also trains clients who are blind or visually impaired in our Wichita Bicknell Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center on how to use screen readers, magnification devices and other assistive technologies.
Terese has been visually impaired her entire life. At 18 months old, she was taken to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota by her parents and was told by doctors that the eye muscles behind her retinas were disformed and entangled with the optic nerves. They said her case was so rare that they could not give her a specific diagnosis, nor could they find a cause of her vision impairment. She was taken to many specialists throughout her life, who all told her the same thing- they did not know a true diagnosis for her vision impairment. Until three years ago.
Terese went to Wichita Family Vision and was finally told a diagnosis; Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, the most extreme case her doctor had ever seen. Today, Terese just sees light and dark with her right eye, and her left eye has eccentric view that is narrow and off to the side. Her depth perception goes flat after five-to-six- feet.
Even through what she says was a struggle of never knowing a true diagnosis for most of her life, she has been able to accomplish so much not only in her career path, but on her personal path as well, and there is much more to her than her vision impairment. She went to school for music education at Friends University and has been a vocalist for almost all her life. Before she ever entered the digital accessibility field, she traveled and performed in many areas, including a three-month tour through southern Canada! She has also traveled to different recording studios in the Wichita area and continues to work with other musicians. Today, music is still her greatest passion, and she will head out for karaoke nights downtown every now and then.
Terese was first introduced to digital accessibility when her husband worked for the Veteran’s Association and was building entire computer systems from the ground up. This led her to work alongside him as an Assistive Technology Specialist Contractor for almost five years. During this time, she would also work with recording studios in the Wichita area on making sure all sound and recording equipment was accessible.
She came to Envision after being introduced through her mother, who was a receptionist at Envision for 16 years. She has worked as an Envision Print Shop sales team member, was an Early Childhood Educator at the Cathy G. Hudson Child Development Center for eight years, and worked as an Assistive Technology Specialist in the Wichita Bicknell Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center for two years. She started as a Senior Accessibility Analyst in September of 2022.
One thing she loves most about her job now is being able to help the blind and visually impaired community.
“Helping people understand that they can still be independent and do the things they want to do and educating people on how accessibility helps everyone, is an amazing aspect of my job. Getting to see people change and grow in their confidence, and being able to convince the outside community that people who are blind or visually impaired can still succeed in many aspects is so fulfilling.”
Her favorite thing about working for Envision is participating in the Level Up Program, teaching computer skills during the day and helping out with other activities as well.
“I love working with these kids and watching them grow. Some of their entire lives have consisted of being told they can’t do these things and I love to show them that they can do everything and more.”
Terese’s story is one that shows that while there is struggle, there is also joy. Even though never having a proper diagnosis was a struggle for her, she turned to things she loved and has carved out a life full of singing and music and has helped create accessibility for everyone equally through her job as Senior Accessibility Analyst.
To support our crucial programs and services, please visit envisionus.com/donate.