"Something I Need to Do"
When you first meet Daniel, the first thing you notice is his soulful eyes and passion for sharing his story. Due to nerve damage from surgery, Daniel is legally blind. He wears an eye patch over his right eye most days because the light causes his eye to become sore from trying to focus. Daniel also struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety.
He attributes his passion for music in helping him deal with his emotions and overcome adversities. He studied and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Kenyon College. He is classically trained in piano and keyboard and since graduating college he mostly composes melodies and rhythms on his computer using MuseScore, a program that helps him write. He has recently learned about Braille Music and is learning more about transcribing music into Braille through a program on his computer. Daniel sometimes finds it difficult to write music in ways that most other composers write. He stated that most composers sketch music out on paper, but he cannot do that. Instead he types it in Braille. He is hopeful that once he is fluent in Braille it will help him be able to learn more languages.
"Writing music is just something I need to do," said Daniel. It helps him deal with his emotions, "some styles can help you focus or calm down." When he is writing, he feels like it helps him focus on the emotion he is trying to work through; whether that is a romantic feeling, sadness, anxiety. Daniel also really enjoys singing in choir with his church and singing every year for the Messiah at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
When Daniel isn't writing music or singing, he enjoys working at Kenyon College assisting with website maintenance and maintaining servers for Biology experiments. His hours vary depending on the needs of the students and he appreciates the flexibility he has with his job. He feels that his Master's Degree in Applied Statistics from Rochester Institute of Technology helps him with the experiments and maintaining them well.
He enjoys reading about technology and learning about the different devices that are out there that can help people. He feels statistical thinking methods play into determining what devices can help meet different needs. He enjoys helping Kenyon students who have accessibility needs by scanning in materials to help them learn easier.
Daniel appreciates any help he can get; whether it's from a device, his parents, his church family at First Church of God, Kenyon College or from support staff who occasionally help him clean his apartment. He has been evaluated for adaptive equipment for people who have difficulty with their vision. He has a magnifier, sock blocks (help him keep pairs of socks together), Braille display on his computer, and a computer screen reader. All of these devices help him live independently in his own apartment, create music and work.
If he could give advice to anyone who is struggling, it would be "be more proactive in seeking help."