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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Utilizing "Quick Nav" On Your Bluetooth Keyboard For Ipad

I bet you're super siked about your new Bluetooth Keyboard. this will make typing your documents, emails and what not super easy right? But what happens when you can't get a single letter to type on the screen? The arrows and function keys work... but nothing else... WHAT IS WRONG?!?!?!

Don't panic, there is an easy fix to this problem...

Are you ready for this? Do you think you can handle it? This could quite possibly be responsible for single handedly blowing your mind. Please read on at your own risk. Be aware that Playing The Blind Card will not be responsible for any such casualties that may come to pass as a direct result of reading these instructions.

Now that you have been appropriately warned... here we go...

Why you are in the typing field in which you wish to type, you must ensure that "quick nav" is tuned off whily your doing your marvelous typing. In order to do this simply follow these steps...

Step 1:
Press the right and left arrow at the same time.

Step 2:
Enjoy typing

Step 3:
When you are finished typing and want to go back to navigating your Ipad, follow step one again to turn "quick nav" back on.

That's it!

I know, it's a bit anticlimactic isn't it? But this will work and you will be eternally grateful for this infomation. I know I was when a good friend of mine clued me onto it.

Thanks for reading and as always... keep your head up... you can't see the ground anways

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard

I recently got a new keboard from Apple. It is a Logitech Easy Switch Bluetooth Keboard .It was a gift I received because of some issues I had over the holidays with them.

Please don't misunderstand... Apple didn't actually do anything wrong. The problem I was having was a technical probelm that was beyond their control. They did an amazing job handling it however, and stuck with me until the problem was resolved.

So far this keyboard is amazing. I am still learning how to use it though, so I am not ready to do a full review or demo on it yet.

Do any of you have one of these baby's? They are all kinds of cool just saying.

Long story short, I think this will help with some of the complications I have been having with my computer. Having this will allow me to do some of my writing on my Ipad. Thus, I'll be able to keep up more frequently here on Playing the Blind Card.

I plan to be incorporating many new things to the site. I am hoping to find someone to assist me with some new visual characteristics at some point. Most importantly, I plan on changing up the content.

There will be new segments added... Some that are possibly in the works...

Book Buzz: This is where I will review books that I am reading. This could also be a possible opportunity for readers to contribute to the blog as well.

Interviews: I am still very interested in interviewing other blind and visually impaired people for the page. I want to talk to you about many topics that could include day to day life, parenting, jobs, travel, and any thing else under the sun that comes up. I think it is important to show seers as well as blindy's that there is life beyond the cane so to speak.

Author Updates: Of course there will be this section. As new things come up with my books, you my lovely readers will be the first to know..

Did That Really Just Happen: I realize I have fallen very behind with this segment. It is much loved and much requested amongst readers. Never fear, it will be back. Very soon in fact. Something very recent just happened that I think you will all get a kick out of that happened between two different blindy's.

Tech Talk: There will be more reviews and how to type posts about different products, applications, games and other technology. I would love to eventually increase this section. I am still researching how to get my hands on different demo materials to show you guys.

Parenting: A huge debate I have noticed in Facebook groups lately, and also in questions I get in real life, is about blind parenting. In can be a touchy subject for some people. Personally I think that is a bit silly because a blind or visually impaired person can parent just as affectively as a seer. In some cases, they can do it better. So this section will explore this tipic. There will also be some advice sections and opportunities for readers to contribute posts and or questions they want answered.

Randomness: As always, I promise to have as much random as possible. Again, thanks to my new keyboard, I think I will be able to bring you more material more frequently.

Did I mention that so far I love this keyboard? Well if I haven't, let me just say... I love this keyboard.

The only thing I have a problem with so far is that when using it with my Ipad, I do not know how to select and icon. Also, on my Iphone, it doesn't want to seem to allow me to type in areas such as text messages and notes. For the second problem, I think the problem is simply that I need to change a seeting on my phone. I just don't know what. As far as the first, I have no idea what I need to do. I am at a complete loss. If anyone has any tips, I would be very very excited.

Well that's it for now guys. As always, thanks for reading. Remember... Keep your head up... you can't see the ground anyway :)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review of Apple TV Using Voiceover

Entertainment is a priority for everyone right? Well this fact shouldn't change just because you can't see what's entertaining you. Today we will be discussing the functionality of Apple TV with voiceover activated.

Don't worry seers... there is good stuff in here for you too, so do not... I repeat... Do NOT hit your back button!!

As many of you probably already know, Apple is an amazing company by normal standards. To the blind community, it is outstanding. It brings the wide world of technology into our hands without adding a lot of excess. This is huge!

Back in the day, in order for us to have technology, we would have to spend an outragious ammount of money and probably break our backs carrying the monstrosities. Now however, for the most part, we are only spending the outragious ammounts of money that a seer would pay and are carrying around devices that are the same size as them too.

Thank you Apple for helping us blindy's be followers!... Ok just kidding :)

But seriously, Apple has taken huge strides in making their products usable by the blind, and other disabled communities. This is truly much appreciated by most.

Getting to the point, today I am going to talk to you about the Apple TV. This for those of you who don't know, is a media streeming box that hooks up to your television.

This product is a tiny little box that packs a big punch. It does a lot and isn't terribly expensive in comparison to other Apple devices. It retails for right around a hundred dollars.

The only thing extra you will need to purchase besides the Apple TV device, is an HDMI cord and a converter if you are not running a High Definition TV.

One flaw right out of the box, once hooked up, in order to turn on voiceover, you will need a seer. This can be frustrating for someone (like me) who wants to play with the device right away and can't.

Once this pesky problem is taken care of, it's pretty much smooth sailing from here. You will need to of course sign in with your Apple sign in information. This will allow to to acess any content you have boughten from Itunes such as movies, music and TV shows. You will also be able to get your Itunes radeo stations here as well.

If you have a Netflix account, or Hoo Loo Plus (probably spelled wrong), you are in luck because those are available on here as well. You can also get content from other things such as Disney Channel, PBS, ESPN and much more. Just so you know however, in order to watch certain items you will need to have a cable or dish subscription.

Before you even ask I will provide the side note: Yes, Netflix and what not is usable by us blindy's. More on that to come in another post.

You can also utilize the wonderful world of You Tube from you amazing Apple TV.

Parental controls are also functional. However, might I offer a small tip mom and dad? Be sure to send the kids out of the room before entering your passcode... hello... it talks... they can hear it and see it. This may pose a problem for some of you. There are ways around this thought. The restriction section will also allow you to make it to where a passcode has to be entered to make a purchase. You can also choose ratings that you do or don't want your little ones watching. Don't worry, if needed, this can be bypassed with your passcode.

Furthermore, in the Main menu section of settings, you can tell your Apple TV what you want shown on your home screen. It will give you such options as "Show, HIde, or Ask" The first two are self explanatory. The ask option just means that if the item is clicked, it will ask the user to enter the passcode. For instance, if you don't want your child using You Tube without permsion, you would set that to "Ask" in the main menu section of settings.

All in all, the Apple TV is a great product. I would give it a four out of five rating. I honestly use it more now than my regular cable TV. There isn't anything on it that I can't do. The only improvement I would like to see is the inconvenient way to put it into sleep mode. This can be annoying at times. If you love movies, TV and music, you will love the Apple TV.

Stay tuned for a demonstration on the You Tube channel.

Thanks for reading guys and as always... Keep your head up... you can't see the ground anyway :)