There are some myths that go along with being blind and I want to clear them up. This will make things much smoother if you ever run into someone that is blind or VI (visually impaired). Education is key, some people just don’t know how to act around someone with a disability that they know nothing about.
First of all I don’t know sign language. Strangely enough that form of communication is very visual so quite difficult for the blind community to pick up.
You do not have to raise your voice when speaking to me, I hear very well. Maybe when I get older you will have to raise your voice but for now my ears are good.
I do not have a caregiver. I can manage quite fine out in public alone.
I can also answer questions if you direct them at me. If I am out with someone and we go to a restaurant for example and the waitress says “what does she want ?” I get very upset. I can answer for myself and you can actually speak directly to me. I have a voice and am fully capable of using it.
Just because I look at you when I am speaking to you does not mean I can see you. I had sight so I look in the direction of the person speaking to me.
Over there, this way, that way, are too vague of directions when speaking to someone who is blind. You need to be very specific. To your right 10 feet for example. Same goes for “such and such is about this big ” ok I will take your word for it because I don’t know the approximate size of “this big”.
I can use a computer and my very own cell phone all by myself. I use voice over and do quite fine on the computer and even my cell phone. I can even text all by myself.
I can cook , clean, dress myself, match my clothes, put makeup on, do my own hair and tie my own shoes. I know that is surprising because that makes me sound like a able bodied person, but that is what I am. You would be amazed at what you can do without sight.
Most of all I want people to know I am a human being with feelings, I am a capable adult and have ambitions and goals just like everyone else. I do things a little differently than those that are sighted but I still do them. So if you come across someone who is blind or VI treat them like you would anyone else. Ask them if they want your help before giving it and remember they are a person just like you.
Until next time !
Ashley and Rick