One of the misconceptions that some people have about blind or visually impaired people is that they are not able to live independently. People think that they need a caregiver at all times. In this post I want to share that it is possible for a blind person to live independently. I am visually impaired myself and I do still live with my parents but this is my choice and it has nothing to do with my vision impairment.
How a person who is blind or has low vision handles money
First, to have money, you must have a source of income. It is true that over 70 percent of people that are blind or visually impaired are unemployed, but it is possible for a blind or visually impaired person to hold a job in various career fields and to perform the work as well as their sighted peers due to assistive technology. I will be discussing jobs in my next post in this series. Let’s get back to the matter of money. There are apps that can identify dollar bills and there are ways to organize money in a wallet to keep track of each amount. Most banks have now moved online and this makes things even more accessible information can be accessed using screen reads which are text to speech programs that read the text on the screen. Banks also offer large print checks and some banking cards can have braille added to them. A person who is blind or has low vision is able to manage their finances independently.
I will also add how the mail and Bill’s are read.
How a person who is blind or has low vision cooks and shops for groceries
A person who is blind or has low vision shops for groceries like everyone else. They can go to a physical store and the only difference is that they may ask for a shopping assistant to help them locate items. All stores should offer this service to their customers that need it. There is also an app called AiRA that connects to a trained agent over video call and they can assist a vlind or visually impaired person to navigate a store and locate items. Delivery services have become more widely available as well allowing all the shopping to be done online from home.
Cooking without sight is not much different from cooking with sight. There are tools that make certain kitchen tasks more accessible. There are talking food thermometers and talking scales There are measuring spoons and cups with braille and large print labels. There are tips and hacks that make things safer and easier but it is very possible to cook without sight.
How a person who is blind or has low vision handles daily living and household tasks
When it comes to getting dressed a blind or visually impaired person is able to pick out their own clothes and have their own style. I wrote more about that here..
A blind or visually impaired person is able to do laundry independently. Machines can be made accessible with bump dots to identify buttons on a touch screen. This system works for all touch screen machines around the home.
Cleaning can be done by touch and it may not be perfect but it is doable.
Some extra thoughts
I hope that this gives you a better insight into what is possible. Please leave any questions in the comments below.
My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and I hope to squash misconceptions about blindness and low vision. Today’s post may be a bit of a rant but I just want society to stop belittling people with disabilities.
Yes, Helen Keller was real and she accomplished much more than learning to write, read, and use sign language. Yes, she was deaf and blind but she was much more than that. Last May #HelenKellerWasntReal started trending when many began to call her a fraud and question her accomplishments. This article in Slate magazine explains the full story.
I do not want to focus on Helen Keller’s accomplishments but there is enough evidence showing that she was in fact a writer and a public speaker. I want to focus on why people would even question her accomplishments.
I would think that in 2020 and 2021 society would be educated enough to know that a person who is blind or has low vision or is deaf is capable of doing almost anything that a sighted or hearing person can do. It is sad that in our society a person is almost immediately written off when they have a disability. They are seen as less than everyone else just because they do things in a different way.
When you learn to problem solve you can find a way to accomplish almost anything. A person that is blind can read and write using braille. Aperson who is deaf can communicate using sign language. I think that the issue here is the wrong assumptions about people with disabilities that get passed down from generation to generation. This is the assumption that people with disabilities are not smart and that they are not a valuable part of society. The lack of representation of people with disabilities in the media and even in daily life such as employment has only helped to further these misconceptions.
I am writing all of these posts in this series to have a small part in ending these misconceptions because it will take time and we are not close to the goal but every step counts. Every new person that i can educate on these issues brings me and the rest of the disability community closer to this goal. Thank you for reading this post.
My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and to discuss topics regarding the community to bring more awareness to these topics. Today’s topic is guide dogs.
Guide dogs are specially trained to guide those that are blind or have low vision. Guide dogs can do the following;
guide a person around obstacles
alert a person when there is a step or curb ahead
Guide a person to the door of a room or building
Guide a person to the elevators
Find and guide a person to an empty seat on a bus or train
Find and guide a person to a street crossing light pole
Guide a person to the curb
They can prevent a person from walking into oncoming traffic by refusing to move forward if a car is in the way. (this is called intelligent disobedience)
Guide can not;
Act as a GPS and guide a person to a specific store
Guide dogs can not decide to cross the street on their own
I do not have a guide dog so I can not share my personal experience on this topic but you can learn more in the videos below. Guide dogs are provided at no cost to a blind or visually impaired person through guide dog schools. There is a lot of training that must take place for both the dog and the future guide dog owner before they can be a team.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you see a person with a guide dog on harnus. When a guide dog is on harnus this means that it is working.
Do not pet a guide dog when the dog is working
Do not talk to a guide dog when it is working
Do not distract a guide dog when it is on harnus
Guide dogs do important work. Learn more about the work they do in the videos below.
In this post I want to bring attention to some foundations and organizations that support the blind and low vision community.
Foundation Fighting Blindness
The FFB has been doing research for 50 years and has worked to identify Gene’s that lead to retinal diseases. They also help fund various research projects and clinical trials for potential cures to these diseases.
Two Vlind Brothers
Brothers Bradford and Bryan started a clothing line to bring awareness to the fight against blindness. 100% of the profits go towards research and to foundations such as the Foundation Fighting Blindness. You can learn more about them and visit the shop here.
American Foundation for the Blind
The American Foundation for the Blind has been around for more than 100 years. The foundation helps fund initiatives to help those in the blind and low vision community have access to education, employment and full inclusion in their communities. You can learn more about them here.
The National Federation of the Blind
The NFB was founded in 1940. This organization is comprised of people who are blind or have low vision from all walks of life. They have chapters in all 50 states in the U.S. plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. They hold an annual national convention that brings those in the blind and low vision community and their supporters together from all over the world.
This organization often advocates for the rights of blind people and has supported many legal cases on this issue. They also run several training centers to help those in the blind and low vision community learn the skills needed to lead an independent life. They have more resources for children all the way to seniors. Learn more about the NFB here.
The American Council of the Blind
The ACB is also an organization comprised of those in the blind and visually impaired community. They hold an annual convention and they offer many resources and programs to support those in the blind and visually community and their families. You can learn more about them here.
These are only a few of the organizations that support the blind and low vision community. My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and to educate others on topics related to the community. In the next post I will discuss guide dogs.
Echolocation: a physiological process for locating distant or invisible objects (such as prey) by sound waves reflected back to the emitter such as a bat from the objects. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
People use echolocation by making clicking sounds with their mouth to identify the location of objects as the sound bounces back. According to this article from Science Magazine, the brain adapts when there is a loss of vision and the same parts of the brain that control the visual aspect are activated in those that are blind and use echolocation.
I am visually impaired but I have never learned to use echolocation but I think that it is a great and interesting tool to use to identify buildings and open spaces. Here is an interesting video that shows echolocation in action.
This video explains a little more about echolocation.
My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired. I hope to educate others and to hopefully squash misconceptions about blindness and low vision.