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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Who is Rachael Eschbach?

September 1, 2017 | 1 Comment

by Rachael Eschbach, COMS

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Rachael guides Kathy who uses her cane to identify any objects in her path

I am a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, who is fortunate to be a full time employee at Second Sense.  Although I am a young professional, I have been working in the field and training clients of all ages in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) for the past 6 years.  I love what I do!

I am a newlywed, as of September 2016.  My husband and I were living in Arlington, Virginia when he took the opportunity to transfer within his engineering firm from Reston, VA to Lisle, IL.  That is when I started to look for job opportunities in the Chicago area.  Several people referred me to Second Sense as a great agency to look for work.  I took their advice and sent Polly Abbott an e-mail, asking her if I could send her my resume and set up an interview.  The rest is history!

My first day on the job at Second Sense was December 1, 2016.   It feels like I have worked here longer, because the staff is so friendly.  It did not take long before I felt like we had known each other for years.

Rachael EschbachMe:  Hi, I’m Rachael.  I’m a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist for people who are blind.

Stranger:  Wow, you work with people who are blind.  So you know sign language?

I cannot tell you how often people ask me if I know sign language, after I tell them I teach travel skills to people with vision loss.  After getting this response so frequently, I started joking with people by saying, “Yes I do!  Close your eyes and I will show you.”  People would close their eyes for a split second and then say, “Oh my gosh!  Ha-ha!  I meant to say braille!”

To follow up with that question, I have to explain that no, I actually do not know braille.  We have other awesome professionals who teach braille and that does not fall under my O&M skill set.


Do you have a family member who is blind?

People often assume I must have a friend or relative who is blind.  Why else would I be in my line of work?  However, this is not the case.  Of course, since going into the field I have made many friends who are blind, and many who feel like family.  I originally found out about O&M as a kid, because my mom was an Orientation and Mobility Specialist.

However, she was a stay-at-home mom during my childhood, so I never saw her working or teaching anyone who was blind.  I did not actually meet someone with vision loss until college.  In my first freshman course called, Introduction to Orientation and Mobility, I sat next to a boy named Rudy who used a white cane and was “Blind.”  One day he told me he liked that I wore my hair down, and asked, “You usually wear it in a ponytail, right?”  My jaw dropped, “Wait, what?  You can see my hair?”

From that moment, I realized I knew absolutely nothing about vision loss, and was so intrigued to learn more.  I completed Stephen F. Austin State University’s four-year undergraduate program in Orientation and Mobility, with a minor in Spanish.  I earned my Certification as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist and haven’t looked back.


Are you ready for mobility training or know someone who is?

Are you interested in learning how to safely move around in your house, climb stairs, walk down the street, cross intersections or travel public transit?  Give Rachael a call at 312-236-8569 or send her an email.

Rachael is Second Sense’s first Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist.  We are very pleased to welcome her to our staff!

1 comment on “Who is Rachael Eschbach?”

  1. Nina says:

    Congratulations on your job and the start to a great career!

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