It’s no secret that Anthony Ashby is going places. AJ, as he is known to many, was born prematurely with a diagnosis of retinopathy of prematurity, which left him legally blind in both eyes. Since then, after multiple surgeries, diagnoses, modifications and accommodations, AJ has developed into a strong student preparing to graduate from Pattonville High School with a plan to attend Middle Tennessee State University, where he hopes to pursue work in international business with Japanese as a second language. Throughout his journey, he has developed independence thanks in large part to his orientation and mobility improvements.
AJ receives orientation and mobility instruction from SSD, in which he uses a long cane to help him navigate his surroundings safely and independently. Over time, he’s mastered traveling in his neighborhood, school, malls, stores, restaurants, public transportation, elevators, escalators, and any other obstacle that might present itself.
“AJ has overcome many factors that come with independent travel, such as traveling in various weather conditions, facing fears and anticipations of crossing complicated intersections,” said his nominator, Alexis Moore.
When he’s not in class earning strong grades, he is active in the community, serving as an advocate for himself and others. He’s active in Mindseye’s BeepBall program, which allows people of all visual abilities the chance to play baseball. The sport includes cues from the pitcher, a beeping ball and buzzing bases. AJ has been featured multiple times in the local media as a spokesperson for the sport.
AJ is a strong self-advocate and has learned to make the necessary adjustments to succeed in anything he does and wherever he goes.