CVI’s new Program Director, Windy Cruz, OTR/L, OTD, SCLV, brings with her more than 20 years of experience in various occupational therapy settings. Her extensive knowledge and experience will allow CVI to continue growing our capacity to serve more individuals experiencing vision loss. We sat down with Windy to get a better understanding of her professional background and goals for CVI.
- What is your professional background? How did your career lead you to CVI?
I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Sports Medicine from Radford University in Virginia before beginning my pursuit of becoming an occupational therapist (OT). I graduated with my occupational therapist license from the Medical College of Georgia. I realized I had a passion for assisting those with compromised visual skills due to brain injury, age-related issues, or congenital issues. I decided to return to school to pursue my Post Professional Doctorate and specialty certification in low vision from UAB-Birmingham which I completed in 2021. I had the opportunity to learn from the occupational therapists that authored a book on low vision from the OT perspective. At the same time, I was working full time in private practice and serving as adjunct faculty with a local Doctoral Occupational Therapy program. I was searching for a way to utilize my experience and new skills level and was introduced to CVI which was a perfect fit.
- In your experience, what is the importance and value of vision loss services for our clients?
The importance and value of vision loss services is essential for our clients. I have experienced many who grieve the loss of their vision and level of independence. It is my hope and mission to assist them in learning new ways of approaching their tasks and empower them to live as independently as possible with an excellent quality of life and dignity.
- How can we collaborate with clients to help them in their journey? How does the process highlight CVI’s mission?
In the professional field of occupational therapy, we promote creative ways to adapt and overcome challenges and obstacles to assist our clients in becoming as independent as possible in their everyday lives. This highlights CVI’s mission which is to empower individuals with vision loss to live with independence and dignity. We can collaborate with our clients on their journey by listening to and hearing their concerns and needs and offering new methods to provide a basis for collaborative individualized solutions.
- What is the main outcome we want to see for our clients or the experience we hope they gain through our services?
The main outcome that I would like to envision for our clients is to empower their independence with the new skills they have learned as they reconnect and participate in those activities that they find motivating and enjoyable.