Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Debunking 10 Myths About Blindness

1. Blind people have supersonic hearing.
This is maybe true for some people. I can’t speak for all of my people. I personally feel like I have selective good hearing. If I am paying attention, the environment is just right, and it’s a Tuesday… I might have a little extra special hearing. Don’t even bother talking to me on Wednesday’s though.

2. Being blind means you can’t see a thing.
There are so many degrees of blindness. Some people identify as blind and they can still see. However, their vision could be as low as light perception only. Or, maybe the person can only see shadows. I have also met people that can’t see when they are in bright conditions. When I could still see, I had night blindness. Other people can only see using their peripheral vision. There is a definite grey area to blindness. It is not all darkness.

3. We all know Stevie Wonder.
You would not believe how many times someone wanted to know if the famous singer and I were buddies behind the scenes.

4. Just because I am blind does not mean I know every single blind person who has ever lived.
When my youngest daughter was in pre-school, I had a man come up to me and ask me if I knew *insert name*.
“No, does he have a kid that goes to this school?” I said a little confused. I should point out I had never been introduced to this guy one time.
He put a hand on my shoulder. “Oh no. He lives in Minnesota. I thought maybe because you were both blind…”

5. Not all blind people like to be touched by strangers.
Think back to the example I just gave in number four. When that guy touched my arm, I fully admit, it kind of creeped me out. I am not opposed to contact from other people. My problem was that I didn’t even know this guys name and yet he thought it would be a great idea to touch me. Another time I don’t like to be touched is in cases of my face. I can’t explain it. There is no real reason why. Ever since I lost my vision, I hate when someone randomly touches my face. They could be doing me a favor and getting a crumb off my cheek or a hair out of my eye. I appreciate it, but please tell me first. It saves me the awkward embarrassment of jerking back like I just got electrocuted.

6. No, I don’t want to touch your face.
This is a big one folks. In my experience in the blind community, it is extremely rare that you will find a blind person who wants to be introduced to you and get acquainted by giving your face a rub down. It’s no offense, but just yuck. I have yet to meet a blind person who does this. You know that expression, you don’t know where that has been? This kind of applies to that. It is no disrespect, but we don’t know if you are clean. We don’t know if you are greasy. You could have a poor complexion problem. You could have an open wound on your face. We also wouldn’t want to accidentally recruit you by poking you in the eye. There is just so many reasons why this is just not a good thing. Please, for the love of all blind people, just shake our hand.

7. Yes, I can hear you.
While it is true that some blind people are also deaf; this is not true for all of us. Even still, I can recall on several occasions where someone yelled at me rather than just speaking. Once, I asked a person why they were yelling. I am not kidding here… they actually told me that they did so because I was blind.

8. Blindness does not mean that I am a baby.
People mean well. I don’t in any way think that this is done out of malice for most people. Frequently however, I have had many people talk to me as though I am five years old. I’m not sure what it is about my cane. Sometimes though, it brings out the baby talk more than child-birth.

9. It is alright to talk directly to the blind person in front of you.
I believe this one happens because people are not sure how to act around a blind person. This is nothing against them at all. For instance, I come from a small town. This means that the blind population is not very big. This in turn means that people have little to no exposure to my people. Consequently, this means that sometimes the awkward interaction occurs. It sometimes goes something like this…
“Store Clerk: “Can I help you?” Their eye-contact is held with the sighted person beside me.
Me: “Yes, can you help me find *insert item*”
Store Clerk: Again, looking at my friend. “Does she know what color she wants?”
My friend: “I’m not sure. Why don’t you ask her?”
Unfortunately, this happens a lot. Again, I don’t think they are trying to ignore me. I just don’t think they quite know what to do about the whole blindness thing.

10. Blind people can’t do anything productive.
HA!!! This one is hilarious to me. Blind people are capable of doing so many things. We have jobs. We are athletes. We are parents. We are writers. We are musicians. We are volunteers. I have met so many amazing blind people over the years. Some of them impress me to the point of WOW! I have met blind people who go skiing and sky-diving. I have met blind lawyers. My husband is a blind drummer. There are blind Chefs and actors. There are blind people in the Government and politics. There was a blind person who played college football at one point or another. And the list goes on and on… Blindness is just a part of us. We can almost do anything a sighted person can do.

Thanks for reading.

There is more that could have made the list. Maybe there will be a second edition, so keep your eye out. If you are blind, what would be on your list? Visit the Facebook page and right yours in the comments for this post. If you are sighted, please don’t think I am bashing the way you do or don’t interact with blind people. I am fully aware that the vast majority do not mean to be offensive or hurtful. This post was done like most of my list posts are… to entertain and bring a little humor to the subject of blindness. As I have said a million times, blindness is not the end of the world. It is okay to laugh at experiences. It is even better to talk about them. In fact, that is how people learn.

Monday, August 5, 2019

First Online Class At Grand Canyon University

I am in the final week of my first class at GCU. I have so many thoughts on this experience so far. I can't wait to tell you all about it. So far so good!

The first class they have you do is University Success (UNV-108). This is an introduction to the online platform. It gives a taste of what life will be like through out all of your courses. It also is taylored to your specific degree program which is amazing! This means you get to jump into your major right away!

There is more than one teacher who teaches this class. The Professor that I have is fantastic. She is so responsive to private messages. She is super engaged through out all the elements of the class. She gets grades back fast. That last one is my favorite because Lord knows I am crazy when it comes to grades.

The support behind the scenes from my Student Services Counselor, Field Experience Counselor, Library Staff and Enrollment Counselor has been great. This is another fantastic aspect of GCU. You are not in this alone. You have an entire graduation team who has your back from start to finish.

So far, everything has been very accessible with my screen reader on both my computer and my phone. I am currently using JAWS and Voiceover on my iPhone.

I am able to navigate all of the different areas of the online classroom with no problems at all. I tend to bounce between using two different browzers, Firefox and Google Crome. I use Google most often.

I am able to get my textbooks so far in PDF format. I download them onto my phone using the Voice Stream Reader ap that I purchased from the ap store for $14.99. This has been a fairly plainless process. I admit that I would rather have a real person reading than a computerized voice though. In some of my classes this will be possible because I am an ENglish major. I can't speak for what is available for other programs.

I took one quiz in this class and it was also totally accessible. I was worried because tests on online platforms are sometimes glitchy with screen readers. How refreshing it was to realize that I had nothing to worry about.

The library section of the school website is accessible for the most part. I will say that it does sometimes take longer to find exactly what i am looking for when I am searching for journal articles. Once I have found the one I want, click on it, and try to read... It takes a while to find exactly where to go. I wish there was some more fine tuned key-commands to navigate this. Honestly, there could be and I am just not aware of them yet. This is all so new to me.

Last week, we had to do a video submission assignment about our disposition to teach. I was really nervous about this. I have to admit though, it makes me want to get back into my YouTube channel again. Want to see how I did?

Watch Disposition To Teach Here
Overall, I am really happy with this decision to start GCU. I am proud to be a Lope! Stay tuned to follow me on this journey. Comment down below and let me know what videos you would like to see on the channel.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

My First Week at Grand Canyon University

The first week of my online school experience is down in the record books. In fact, we are half way through the second week. This makes me expert enough to chat with you right?

Maybe not...

I'm going to do it anyway. I love my school so far guys! It so far has been a wonderful experience. If this is any indication of how the rest of my program is going to go, I have nothing to worry about.

Gran Canyon (GCU) has so many resources to set students up for success. The level of student support is outstanding. Haven't been to school in a few years??? That doesn't matter. They have tutorials and webinars to help you with everything.

They have a dozen librarians on staff to help you utilize their large library to best meet your needs. Have no idea how to format a paper in APA or MLA format??? That doesn't matter... They have a tutorial and a template for you. Not sure if your Reference List is on point? Send it to a librarian for some advice.

I'm telling you, this University is amazing!

One of the best parts is, the accessibility. GCU uses an online platform called Loud Cloud. I was worried about this going in. There is no ap like there is with Canvas. I had never heard of it before. It was possible based on this, I was making a huge mistake right?


Up to this point, I have not experienced any issues at all with accessibility. Has there been a few minor hiccups? Sure, of course there has. Honestly though, that is to be expected with anything.

The faculty has been more than willing to help with anything I need. My teacher automatically offered to send me any class documents if I had issues finding something. She is very quick to respond to any questions I have about navigating the platform.


It's still early, but this process has been fantastic. I have had experiences where you are waiting practically until the end of the quarter to receive a grade on a single assignment. This has not been like that at all. Don't quote me on this, but I believe GCU has a policy in place that gives teachers a four business day turn around on grading. This is a game-changer for me. I'm not going to lie. I get so stressed waiting for a final grade on an assignment some times.

I will leave this post here. I will explain more another day. If you are considering going back to school and you don't know where to go... I would absolutely encourage you to check out Grand Canyon University. They are a private school. There tuition is not much different than that of an in-state school. Check out some of their videos online, visit there website, or chat with an enrollment counselor. What have you got to lose? Nothing! That's what. You do have everything to gain. I promis you that.

Until next time friends

Monday, May 27, 2019

Volunteering At A Blind School

As most of you know, I was not born blind. Since I didn't go blind until basically adulthood, I have zero experience with blind children. I figured I should probably take care of that since I plan to get a teaching credential to be able to teach visually impaired students.

Where is the best place to do this you ask? Well my friends, let me tell you. I decided to start volunteering at a blind school. Great idea right?

So far, it has been a wonderful experience. I am loving it! I am learning so much and having so much fun in the process. All the staff are fantastic too.

It has been so interesting seeing how this works. I love watching the kids learn on an equal playing field. They don't have to fight to understand. The material is accessible and put in their hands in a way that best fits their needs. Accomodations are a part of every day life and totally normal. Technology is at their finger tips. The staff go above and beyond to give their students the best learning opportunities possible. It is beautiful.

I really love it here. Sometimes I wish I could volunteer more often. It is a great place to be.

I'm still not sure if I want to teach in a general ed school or a blind school, but I'm loving the process of sorting it all out.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday Ramblings

Happy Saturday friends!! I hope this post finds you well. I wanted to do a post for you all today, but admit I still have no direction as to where to take it. So the result... Saturday Ramblings.

Who knows, maybe this will be the start of something beautiful.

I feel like this should at least follow some sort of blind related topic. Let's see if I can keep this together. Ready... Set... Go!!!!

For those of you who are sighted and reading this... How does it look? No just kidding. But really, for those of you who are seers, what brings you to the blog? Is it to learn more about blindness? Are you perhaps going blind yourself? Or, maybe you have a family member who is blind? Lastly, are you part of my amazing inner circle and feel obligated to check this page out for solidarity purposes? Hey no shame in my game... whatever the reason that brought you here, I'll take it. I just hope you decide to stay a while.

For my fellow blindy's... What's up my people?!?! Okay that was super lame. Oh well. I love to connect with blindy's. I think that is true for all people though right? What I mean is, It's important to connect with all different kinds of people. It is especially important however, to connect with people who are in similar situations to ourselves. This way we have that sense that we are indeed not alone in this great big world of ours.

So on to some rambling...

First, to all the book lovers out there. I am currently reading an amazing book called The Hate You Give. I really love this book. I am right on the verge of finishing it and I will be sad to see it go. This book is very relevant to things that are going on in today's society. I have not read one like this before and I am glad I found it. Would you like to see a book review of it when I am finished? If you guys want to see things like that I am happy to deliver. Let me know in the comments.

Second, I just started taking a braille class from the Hadley Institute For The Blind. Have any of you taken this class? If so, what did you think of it? Let everyone know in the comments. I will have to reserve judgement for the time being. I literally just started the course today. I liked what I saw so far though.

Third, I just got confirmation that the second half of my CBA will be started next month. I will be working in the school district's bus garage. Wow... hold on a minute... how many of you literally just pictured me behind the wheel of a great big yellow school bus equipped with my cane taped to the front? Wouldn't that be fantastic??? I think I could completely rock it as a bus driver.

Unfortunately, they did not agree with me. Whatever though... I know I can get them on my side eventually.

But really though, I am looking forward to giving this a shot. I will be working for a couple weeks in the office. The staff has been super helpful so far. They have a lot of ideas on what I can do during my time with them. Some of the work is stuff I am totally familiar with. Other tasks... not so much. I am going to do my best though and I know I will rock it! And if I can't... well... If all else fails, i will fake it til I make it right?

Fourth, My quest to learn Power Point and Google Slides continues. I think this is an important skill to learn. It will help me if I go back to school and it will help me on the job as well. How many Jaws users are good with this? I would love to pick your brain. Let me know in the comments.

Ryan and I still want to start a blindness group in our local area. We can't decide what kind of group to create though. We can do just a group for blind people to support and connect with one another. We are also toying with the idea of starting a group for parents of blind children. This last one is the one we are leaning towards the most. This is not to say we don't want to connect with fellow blindy's. We totally do. But we both have a passion to help people. Being a sighted parent of a blind child can be overwhelming. Navigating those waters can be rough. We would love to help people with that. The only problem we have is that our community is not very large. Having a group for one or the other may mean the group will be super small. This isn't a bad thing, just something to consider. What do you guys think? Should we do separate groups are a combined? Let me know down in the comments.

I feel like i have rambled enough don't you? Thank you for listening and or reading. Do you have an idea for a blog post? Is there a question about blindness burning in your mind? If so, message me or put it in the comments.

Keep your head up guys and let's chat soon.

Friday, June 15, 2018

What Do I want To Be When I Grow Up?

Recently, I was given the opportunity to work in a first grade classroom as a sort of Para Educator. It was an unpaid internship that gave me the chance to see if I would like to get a job in the classroom setting. I have one word to sum up how I felt about my experience...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Did I say LOVE?!?!?! If not, let me tell you one more time. I absolutely LOVED IT!

When I was young, I always wanted to be a teacher. I have always loved working with kids of any age. This experience only solidified this dream for me.

Even after I lost my sight, I started going to college to pursue a degree in education. Classes were going fantastic. I got really good grades actually. I took my first education centered class and that changed things. The teacher was very nice and very good at what she did. She was very skeptical about a blind teacher in a sighted school. She told me that she thought I would be great at a blind school.

I admit this really discouraged me. I didn't want to teach at a blind school. We don't have a blind school in my town and I didn't have any desire to move closer to one. I let these opinions decide my path. I changed my degree to human development. Shortly after, I got pregnant with Peanut and stopped going to school all together.

Here's a little back story...

At the time I was going to college, I was still pretty new to the blindness world. I wasn't super confident in my abilities and skills as a blind person. Nikki then, had a lot of self-doubt and hatred towards blindness. This is why I let one person's opinion decide my future. Honestly though, I could have changed her opinion. She didn't doubt my ability because I couldn't do it. She doubted it because she hadn't ever been exposed to someone like me before. People are unsure of the unknown because it is just that... unknown. She was in no way a dream crusher or even a mean person. She just didn't understand.

Nikki now however...

I am a lot more confident. I know what I can do. I also know if there is something I can't do, I WILL learn how to do it and crush it. I know I have a lot to offer the sighted classroom.

Fast forward to right now...

I could start applying for jobs as a Para Educator this summer. I could get a job and be perfectly happy in that job. Another direction could be that I get a job and then go back to school to finish my AA degree. I admit though, I am concerned with joining the work force, going back to school, and being a mom all at the same time. I am not experienced in this area. Lastly, I could go back to school in the fall and focus on my degree. I could take the plunge and get my teaching certificate. I could be the teacher I always dreamed of? Do I dare?

I have recently been watching teachers on You Tube like Real Rap With The Reynolds and To Cool For Middle School. They are so inspiring. I also have had the pleasure of working with some pretty amazing teachers. The teacher in the first grade class that I mentioned earlier was also Peanut's Kindergarten teacher. I worked with her then and now. She is such an amazing teacher. Any child is lucky to walk through her door. Watching her classroom management and ability to bond with her students was remarkable. There are also teacher's at my older daughter's (Princess) school that inspire me as well.

In today's world a blind person can seamlessly work in a sighted classroom thanks to technology. Pretty much everything can be adapted with assisted technology. There are tricks that can help with classroom management as well.

So what do you think? Could I do it? I know I can, but I would love to hear what you think. Let me know in the comments below your thoughts. Would you have a problem with a blind teacher in charge of your little ones? Be honest. It's okay if you're skeptical. Having an open conversation about it is what helps bridge the gap between the blind and the sighted world. It breaks down barriers and shows that different is beautiful.

I feel like this post is long enough. This topic will come up again though because it is important to me. Thank you all for listening to the inner monologue that is bouncing around my head lately.

Side Note: For those of you who don't remember, I don't use my daughters names in my posts. I always call them Princess and Peanut. Princess is my oldest and Peanut is my youngest. I figured I should explain that for new readers and also to remind those who have been around a while.

Thanks for reading guys. Remember what I said earlier... Different is beautiful.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Blind Girl Lost And Found

Wow! I sort of feel like a flake right now. I haven't updated the blog in months. This has happened more than once. To which I tipically come back and promise that I will sacrifice myself to the blog Gods... wait what? Okay maybe that was a little dramatic. No sacrifices here.

I do usually promise to do better by you and type and post more often. Clearly that hasn't happened. So... *crickets*

Sorry about that.

As all of you can more than likely agree, life gets real sometimes, and that can be crazy right? I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me and keep following my madness.

For a long time, I didn't have a working computer. Well, it worked, but my screen reader program killed it. I recently was given a new computer to use for the time being. I find Blogger to be a little easier to use on a computer than my tablet. No don't worry, I am not hating on tablets. I love my tablet. I just don't love it for this.

A lot has been happening lately. There's been good, bad, amazing, hillarious and of course... super random. What would Playing The Blind Card be without super random right?

That all being said, I have so much to share with you guys. I would also like to update the look of this page. It might be sort of dated. We will see.

So I will say goodbye for now. I once was a blind girl lost, but now I am found. Thank you for reading.

Remember, keep your head up... you can't see the ground anyway.