Some of Nikki Morris’ earliest memories date from when she was a St. Jude patient. Diagnosed with retinoblastoma at 2 years old, she underwent chemotherapy and the removal of her right eye.
St. Jude gave Nikki a second chance — and something else: The experience fostered her natural compassion. As Nikki grew up, she knew she wanted to pursue a helping career. Today she is the first paraprofessional in her home state of Arkansas who is credentialed as a deaf-blind intervener.
Deaf-blindness affects a person’s ability to communicate and be communicated with. It has developmental, cognitive and behavioral effects because concepts most of us take for granted are gained through sight and hearing. Nikki also teaches life skills to special needs students without dual sensory impairment.
Living with monocular vision, Nikki entered her professional life with some personal experience of learning to adapt in a world that tends to assume certain abilities. Her students face deeper challenges, but with gratitude and empathy as her motivations, Nikki strives to empower them to live as adaptively, independently and fully as each of them can.