(A) Accessibility (#AToZChallenge 2021)

The blogging from a to Z challenge letter A graphic is on the image. The text below reads accessibility how restaurants entertainment and websites can become more accessible to those that are blind or have low vision
Blogging from A to Z April challenge letter A graphic can be found here.

When you are blind or have low vision it can be complicated to make your way through a world that is built for sighted people. It is a common feeling to feel out of place. I am here to say that although it is hard at times it is not an impossible task. The first point that should be addressed on this journey through a sighted world for a person who is blind or visually impaired is the aspect of accessibility. Here are some ways that society can make things more accessible for people that are blind or have low vision.

Restaurants 

There are several ways that restaurants can become more accessible to people that are visually impaired. First, they should have accessible menus. A menu in braille and a large print menu should be frequently updated and made available. It is also important to have an accessible website with an up to date menu as some visually impaired people prefer to refer to the site to access the menu. I am visually impaired myself and I prefer to look at the menu before I arrive at the restaurant. 

Menus4All is a good resource for restaurants to make their menus accessible.

Second, restaurants should try to offer seating areas that have the option to increase lighting. Low lit areas can be challenging for some people that have low vision. I am one of those people and I think that having adjustable lighting options in select seating areas would be helpful.

Third, restaurant management should train their staff on how to best assist a visually impaired person if necessary. The staff should be trained on how to provide sighted guide if it is ever needed and have a basic understanding of what it is like to be visually impaired.

Entertainment

Movies, TV shows, plays and even concerts and sports broadcasts can be made accessible to those that are blind or visually impaired by including audio description. Audio description is the narration of all the visual aspects of a scene such as the clothing characters are wearing to a detailed description of the scene. This helps to fill in the gaps that the dialogue will miss and helps provide a full experience of the show. Accessible show programs in braille and large print should be provided where applicable.

The Internet

The internet has become the gateway to all of the information for all aspects of life. It is very frustrating when a website is not fully accessible. Every site should be compatible with screen readers, they should offer the option to change the color contrast and they should be designed to be used with enlarged text. These points apply to apps as well. 

Some extra thoughts

These tips can be applied to any industry. I hope that accessibility can become more common and that there will be more education on the need for accessibility in all aspects of society. Everyone can play a part in making this world a more accessible place.

You can learn more about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here. Come back each day this month except on Sundays to read my next post for this series. Thank you for reading.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2021 Theme Reveal

A to Z challenge theme reveal
Image Source: A to Z Challenge

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is a challenge to blog each day in April except on Sundays. The challenge is to use each letter of the alphabet per day. Day 1 you would blog about something related to letter A and go on from there. The extra Challenge is to pick 1 theme to base your posts on.

The theme I have chosen is life with low vision. I will give you a glimpse into what it is like to live with low vision. I think there are a lot of misconceptions regarding the blind and visually impaired community. I hope that my posts can help to educate others. I want to give a disclaimer that every person in the blindness community is different and these are my experiences and should not be generalized. This said, I think we can all learn from each other and every experience counts.

I want to add that my regular blogging schedule will be resuming again in May. My next post will be on April 1st to begin the challenge.

I hope that you will follow along and if you have a blog that you will join in.

It is Low Vision Awareness Month: Check out the Checkered Eye Project

Text reads low vision awareness month. There is an image of a person walking using a white cane positioned under the text.

February is Low Vision Awareness Month. I am a person with low vision myself and I started this blog to bring more awareness to the low vision community. When you have low vision you are in between the blind and sighted world and it can be frustrating at times. Blindness is on a spectrum and every person with a vision impairment sees differently. There are those who are totally blind and there are those with usable vision. 

When someone says they have low vision it usually means they have some usable vision but again you should ask the individual what they can or can’t see. For example i am totally blind in my right eye but i have some limited vision in my left eye. I have to use glasses with a very high prescription to help me have the limited vision that I have. The glasses do not restore my eyesight to 20/20. 

Even with glasses;

  • I can’t see much in the bright sunlight or in dim lighting. Bright lighting also makes my vision blurry.
  • I can’t read regular size print.
  • I can’t see curbs on the streets or steps especially when going down because i do not have depth perception.
  • I can’t see small details because my eye does not focus well.

Due to these limitations I use a white cane when I am out on my own. The white cane helps me to detect curbs and drop offs such as steps as well as other objects in my path I may not see. The white cane helps me to let others know that i may not see them in my path and it helps me be safer when walking around. My glasses do help me see large print and i can see objects and people but it is very limited and changes depending on the situation. I do better in less crowded places. I can see more when there is a lot of contrast. 

Having low vision can be a complicated thing and even more complicated to explain to a fully sighted person. When you see someone with a white cane that is also wearing glasses or seems to have some vision please understand that their vision is limited and they need the white cane for safety reasons.

Many people with low vision struggle with being misunderstood by others because they seem to be sighted but the sighted public does not understand that their vision is limited. The Checkered Eye Project was born out of this frustration. Libby Thaw created this symbol to let others know she had low vision and now it is available for all to purchase as a more clear sign of vision impairment. It is a great tool to educate the public.

Please leave any questions you have about living with low vision below. I will be sharing more about my vision this coming April in a series of posts.