Sixteen year-old Chris Littlewood is another Guide Dogs Queensland success story.
Chris and his mother Michelle are from Hervey Bay and here they’re with Guide Dog Trainer Rob Cramer to see soon to be qualified Guide Dog-in-training ‘Siggy’ at work. Chris has LHON or Lebers Hereditary Optic Atropy, meaning he has extremely low vision (6.1.20), but it certainly doesn’t hold this young man back.
As a year 11 student he’s currently on track for an OP5 and a bright future. Chris has been on Guide Dogs Queensland’s school holiday kids’ camps to help improve his mobility and independence. With the ongoing support from our Orientation and Mobility instructors, he has also achieved all levels of long and electronic cane use (he currently uses the UltraCane), as well as mastering other electronic travel aids like the Miniguide and GPS Trekker Breeze to make him a confident, independent and safe traveller.
Mum Michelle recalls that when they lived in South Africa (just outside of Cape Town), there was virtually no kind of assistance for Chris or others who were blind or had low vision. These people were left to sort things out for themselves and often resulted in rooms of blind and vision impaired people sitting around, not being able to live their lives to their full potential.
“We moved to Queensland for a better life for all of us and two wonderful things happened,” Mum Michelle said.
“Chris ended up attending Urangan State High School and that wonderful supportive educational environment linked us to Guide Dogs Queensland. Christopher hasn’t taken a backward step since. I will never be able to say thank you enough.
Apart from Chris currently achieving the rank of ‘blue belt, brown tip’ in Rhee Taekwondo, as well as playing both guitar and piano, he has a big love of computers and computer games. It is his goal to get into the QUT Gardens Point Campus in Brisbane and study software engineering.
When asked what Chris dreams for the future, he just smiles and says, “By the time I get to go to Uni, I want to be travelling with a Guide Dog, but I know I am on a long waiting list for one. I am patient and I know there will be a dog for me soon.”