Sunday, February 26, 2012

Different Is Beautiful

All I see is blackness
My eyes are open
Still, nothing but darkness
Close your eyes
See what I see
But know for me there is no compromise
You treat me differently, as though I’m invisible
But I can still hear you
Even if you’re not visible
No matter our differences my feelings run true
It hurts to be ignored but laughter is grand
The same as it is for you
Even in the darkness I see you
So why in the light
Do you still have no clue
Open your mind
Turn off your judgments
You may like what you find
Equality is sweet
Differences are beautiful
So shake my hand the next time we meet

Written by: Nicole Rae

Friday, February 24, 2012

How To Give Directions To A Blind Person

Giving directions to a blind person can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. A lot of sighted people are of course very visual so it’s easy to give directions that don’t work for the visually impaired. This article is intended to teach a sighted person how to give descriptive directions that will help a blind person get to their destination safely without confusion. It’s not as difficult as it seems if you just follow a few simple tips.

When giving directions to a blind person it’s important to be as specific as possible. We can’t see landmarks; street signs or any other visual cues that would help us indicate where we are. This means giving directions needs to be like drawing a picture. When doing this activity you pay lots of attention to detail right? Well, that’s what a blind person needs when they ask how to get somewhere.

Many blind people navigate freely around their town or city every day. But even the most experienced traveler can get mixed up or lost on occasion. When they do they have to depend on people around them to figure out which way to go. It can be very scary and frustrating not knowing where you are whether you are blind or your sighted. When you’re sighted though it’s a little easier because you can retrace your steps and visually search for what it is you’re looking for.

Blind people have to be careful because one wrong turn or step can throw their sense of direction completely off track. Once this occurs it can sometimes be hard to regain control. That is when the person might solicit assistance from someone passing by, or from someone in a near by shop.

If you are ever asked for help don’t panic. Just remember what I said about drawing the picture. Use descriptive words to express what you are trying to say.I can’t stress enough the importance of being specific.

Use phrases like, “turn right,” or “straight ahead three blocks.” It’s not necessary to talk to them like they are three but it is necessary to convey the directions in a manner they can understand them. Try and imagine getting somewhere with your eyes closed. What type of information would help you get to where you needed to go?

Never use words like, “it’s on main street,” “There’s a big sign you can’t miss it”. The reason the first example isn’t a good one is because the person might not have a clue where Main Street is. Never assume the blind person you are helping is a seasoned traveler. It’s okay to say something is on Main Street but add some more detail with it. For example, “If you go straight ahead four blocks that will bring you to Main Street. Turn right there and it will be the third driveway on your left.” The reason the second example is no good is somewhat obvious. The person you are helping is blind silly. They can’t see the big sign unless it’s in the front of the store and they run into it. Even then, they don’t know for sure that’s the sign they were supposed to be looking for.

When you’re done explaining the directions try to make sure they understand what you said. Be sure to do so in a polite way though. It could be easy to misconstrue this has talking down to the person. If you have time and they still seem confused, don’t be afraid to ask if they would like you to show them. They might of course say no but it wouldn’t hurt to ask. The offer might be appreciated and welcome. It’s possible they wanted to ask you to show them but felt awkward. If they do accept your offer be sure to ask them what type of help they need if any while walking. Some might just want to walk along side you unassisted. Others might prefer to use something called sighted guide. This means that they hold your arm. No two blind people are alike though so checking with them on their personal preference is a must.

If you follow these few steps you shouldn’t have any problems giving a blind person directions. It’s not really that different from giving directions to a sighted person. There’s just more specific detail needed to properly convey your instructions. If you have any other questions about giving directions feel free to leave them in the comment section of this post. If you would rather you can also use the contact me link to send me a private message.

If you liked this post please share it with your friends. For further information you can also check out the You Tube channel for this site. There you will find a video called How To Talk To A Blind Person. There will be more videos to come on the topic of relating to a blind person. There’s a link that will take you directly to the You Tube channel on this page.

Friday, February 17, 2012

10 Things Better Not To Say To A Blind Person

1. “Look at that!”

2. “OMG did you see that?!”

3. “Can you grab the wheel for a second?”

4. “You’re not really blind. You’re faking.”

5. “Did you know ray Charles?”

6. “In your imagination, are you still blind?”

7. “Catch!”

8. “Do I have something in my teeth?”

9. “I waved at you when I saw you at the store yesterday. Why didn’t you wave back? That was rude.”

10. “We need to get their in a hurry. Do you wanna borrow my bike?”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scary Movie

The worst part about watching a scary movie is that my imagination tends to be worse then what’s on the screen. It might be a normal and totally typical scary suspense scene. My mined however, portrays it as the top ten scariest movies of the year all rolled in to one movie. I think it’s the whole idea of the unknown. You know, the boogie man is behind every corner and all that?

When I was a kid I loved scary movies. I watched them all. Nightmare On elm Street, It, Pet Cemetery and all the others. I didn’t even bat an eye lash back then. I could handle watching things that my big brother didn’t even like. He would find an excuse to have to leave the room while I laid on the floor cheering for more.

Now though, yeah not so much. I still like the idea of a scary movie now and then. They just scare the holy living crap out of me. I will watch them but never alone. Certain ones I wont even consider watching if I know ahead of time that the plot line doesn’t work for me. Which to be honest, these days that’s pretty much all of them.

When you can’t see suddenly the music is twice as creepy. People jumping out to frighten the unsuspecting victim makes you scream when it never did before. The voice of a vicious serial killer sounds much more menacing and gets engraved in your mind for later dream torture.

Once it’s over and I go to bed I tend to reenact what I just watched and of course think of all the reasons it’s logical, realistic, and was indeed going to get me in my bed. Thus, I don’t do a lot of sleeping on nights I watch a horror movie. Which of course is why I don’t watch them very often? I’m just not a fan anymore. I do miss the thrillers very much but my anxiety tends to override the desire.

Next time you rent a good horror flick try watching it for the first time with your eyes closed. Make sure you don’t peek. Try and remember when it’s over what your mind imagined and then watch it again with your eyes open for full viewing pleasure. Once that’s done compare the two experiences. When you could see it was it much different then you expected? Did your imagination run wild with overly exaggerated scenes while your eyes were closed? Did you jump and gasp more often? If you do actually take this challenge, I encourage you to leave your experience in the comment section of this post.

For the readers that are blind, do you feel the same about scary movies as I do? Or, are you much braver? Maybe you’ve even have found you love them more now that you can’t see? For those who were born blind how do you feel about scary movies? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section as well. I have disabled captcha when commenting so this process should be easier now.

Did you like this post? If so, please share the link with your friends. Be sure to check out the Facebook fan page and You Tube channel for this site before you go. Oh, and if you haven’t taken the “who are you?” pole yet please be sure to do that as well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No More Captcha

I've been trying to figure out how to get accessable captcha but still no luck. I wanted to announce that for the time being I have disabled the captcha when leaving comments all together. Once I discover a more accessable form of captcha it will be back up again.

I hope this makes it easier for blind and those with low vision to leave comments on posts of their choice. This will be continued on a trial basis. What I mean is, I'll keep it this way as long as a stupid spam bot doesn't start blowing up the page. Hopefully I will have found something that works well before then.

As always thanks for reading and I hope you come back soon. Oh and by the way! If you haven't joined the site or the Facebook page be sure to do that before you leave :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blind People Doing Big Things... Ice Skating

Stash Serafin has been blind since birth. Yes, that’s right, totally blind since birth! He is an unbelievably awesome example of Blind People Doing Big Things. His passion and drive has inspired many people.

Stash has been figure skating since 1968. He has helped raise money for Olympic skaters as well as for projects for skaters with disabilities. He has done numerous motivational speeches and appeared on Good Morning America as well as the radio.

Apparently Stash is a multi-tasker. Not only does he skate beautifully but he has also co-written a book titled You Can’t Get it’Cause You’ve Already Got it. You can find this book on Amazon.

The video I am linking below is one of three on his You Tube channel. In this video Stash performs his electrifying skating moves seemingly effortlessly. He spins and jumps in time with the music. He performs completely unassisted as he glides across the ice. Hitting the side walls of the rink is a danger but it doesn’t stop him. His skill comes from hard work and skating by sound. Every time he clears a jump or masterful spin the crowd erupts with cheers and applause. In between skate scenes you will get to hear from Serafin himself.

I hope you like this video as much as I did. I encourage readers to check out his other videos on his channel.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The next You Tube Video

Hello all! Please come check out the latest video on You Tube for Playing The Blind Card called "How To Talk To A Blind Person".

It just gives a few helful tips on the right and wrong way to talk to a blind person.

Please be sure to subscribe to the video and leave a comment with your thoughts.

Over to the right is a link that says "subscribe to me on You Tube". Pressing this link will take you directly to the You Tube channel for this site.

Do you have any ideas for upcoming video topics? Leave a comment below with any suggestions.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quote Of The Day

"Self pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world." ~~Helen Keller

Peek-A-Boo I Can't See You

All kids love hide and seek and my two girls are no exception. My oldest daughter loved that game since as long as I can remember. The moment she learned it was her favorite. This was true even though she didn’t always quite grasp the concept.

I remember when I could still see she would put her hands up and cover her eyes. She would be standing in the middle of the room when she did this. She thought what a lot of little ones thought. If she couldn’t see me then I couldn’t see her. My favorite though was when she would hide behind sheer curtains staring right at me the whole time. She saw me looking back at her but that made no difference. When I commenced the man hunt leaving no pillow unturned she would giggle from her latest favorite hiding spot. When I looked behind the curtain there was an eruption of hysterical giggles that burst from her smiling lips.

As my sight depleted, this game became harder and harder. I must admit it was made easier by her snickering that would get louder the closer I got to her. It was like a blind person’s game of hot and cold.

She soon realized though that playing hide and seek with mommy was the best. She could resort back to hiding in the middle of the room again and she didn’t even have to cover her eyes. She soon became the master of stealth mode.

It wasn’t long before the giggles were nonexistent. The thrill of the hunt was to enticing for her. She liked to wait me out and see how long it took to be found. Now I use the “found” term loosely because there were a few times where I would trip and she would give up the game to see if I was okay. Once I realized this I learned to use that to my advantage during the games that were never ending. I would randomly sit down on the ground saying, “Oh no honey! Mom fell down!” It worked every time. No, I didn’t do this every time but sometimes it was necessary. That girl could seriously last forever.

Have you ever seen the movie 007? I used to think of Lex as 00-kid. She could hold herself completely still. There wouldn’t be a single peep to help me locate her hiding spot. Sometimes I swear she stopped breathing.

The worst part about this was when she was in trouble. She would get into something and take off running with it. Just when I thought I was getting close to her she would dodge me and slip into stealth mode. I learned the power of patience real quick. She was young enough that threatening time out didn’t work well yet. I had to just wait her out. Sometimes she would get bored and talk to me. Other times though I would have to implement the fall down tactic I mentioned before.

I know what you are thinking. Scary. Yes it was sometimes but for the most part I knew it wasn’t a big deal. My house was totally baby proofed and nothing was left out that could be potentially harmful and all my plug ins were covered.

The most important thing for blind parents to remember is to take deep breaths and calm down. As long as you have your house baby proofed and all the exits locked, you don’t have a lot to worry about. Enjoy your kids and learn to laugh more when times are tough. It’s not the end of the world I promise. Kids hide from their parents every day. The only difference is our kids can do it out in the open.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Peek-A-Boo I can’t See You where I will tell you about my youngest. She has never known me as a sighted parent so things are a little different.

Did you like this post? Tell me so by using the reaction box below and see what others think as well. Do you have similar stories? Tell me about those in the comment section or send me a message using the “Contact Me” link. Also, don’t forget to join this site for updates on future posts.

Friday, February 10, 2012

11 Things I Wish I couldn't Hear

1. That kid that throws a continual temper tantrum while sitting in a shopping cart
2. The cars with the overly loud car engines that are not supposed to be that way
3. The people that yell at you because they think since you can’t see you must be deaf too
4. The people that talk to you like you’re two because you can’t see even though you are a full grown adult
5. The people in your life who seem to have never ending gas and love to share it with everyone (would also qualify for things I wish I couldn’t smell)
6. A child back talking until you as the parent reach the point of OMG! I’m going to beat my head against the wall just so I don’t have to listen to this anymore
7. The sound of crows in the morning when you’re camping and trying to sleep
8. The car horn that honks right next to you and makes you jump out of your skin
9. Negativity of any kind… people should really keep that to themselves
10. The annoying elevator style music some department stores choose to play
11. The sound of someone hocking up something that was better left where it was in the first place

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Playing The Blind Card Now On You Tube

Now readers can check out videos for Playing The Blind Card on You Tube! On the channel you will also see videos that others have posted about blindness. The videos used in the posts entitled "Blind People Doing Big Things" can also be found here. Be sure to subscribe to the channel to stay up to date on what's happening.

Please leave comments on the video page with your thoughts, experiences and things you like about the blog.

Below is the link to the first video. This video mainly talks about the blog and what people can find here. Since the blog is devoted to blindness, the video is audio only. So don't worry when you hear a voice and there's no picture... it's supposed to be like that. Enjoy!

Check it out!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quote Of The Day...

"Remember when life gets you down to always keep your head up... you can't see the ground anyway."~~ Nikki Rae

Monday, February 6, 2012

Did That Really Just Happen 3

I frequently go to town with my Gram. For the most part not a lot usually happens during our shopping adventures. We usually get in and out with no problem or issue. There was one trip in particular though, that stands out in my mind.

We were at Jc Penny’s browsing around from department to department minding our own business. We were walking down the main aisle chatting away about anything and everything like usual. We tend to get distracted by our chatter and forget the purpose of what we were doing in the first place.

I was using my cane to help avoid obstacles. The cane I was using at the time was a standard cane with a rolling tip. I have never been fond of the tapping method.

So there we were walking side by side down the main aisle. I was holding my Gram’s arm and moving my cane back and forth in front of me like I was supposed to. There weren’t very many people in the store that day which is what I prefer. Up ahead several feet a woman was walking toward us.

Gram informed me that my suspicions were correct. The woman was staring at me. Don’t people realize that when they stare the person they are staring at can usually feel it? The woman was staring so hard that I should have been frozen in place with the intensity of it.

The sights and sounds around her were of no interest. Apparently the show of a blind person walking with a cane in real life was more appealing than all the clearance racks combined. The entire time she approached us her penetrating eyes never left me.

The nosy woman was so completely and utterly transfixed on me that she apparently forgot to look where she was walking. Maybe I should have offered to let her use my cane. As she was getting ready to pass me she seriously tripped over my cane. She stumbled forward bracing herself. She turned around like what just happened?

Without any hesitation I spun toward her and said, “I’m sorry I didn’t see you there”. My voice was totally dead pan with a hint of sarcasm as though it was my mistake and not hers. But of course completely obvious that I clearly knew what had really just happened.

She refocused her stare on me for a few seconds. Her face flushed red and she turned and walked away without saying anything.

The entire time this transpired Gram was laughing. After the embarrassed lady walked away I joined my Gram and burst into hysterical giggles. I guess the moral of this story is if you are going to stare at least keep an eye on where you are going.

If you liked this post be sure to say so in the reaction box below. As always feel free to leave comments with your thoughts and or personal experiences. They are always welcome and encouraged.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

You can Look But Don't Touch

Lots of blind people all across the world have a guide dog as their chosen form of mobility. They enjoy the freedom that a steady moving guide can bring into their lives. As much as a furry friend can offer a sightless person it can also cause some bumps along the road. However, these obstacles are not always the dogs fault.

Many of the people around the team don’t know the right and wrong way to interact with a blind person with a guide dog. Of course the puppy is cute and looks so incredibly cuddly. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you should try and coax it over to you for a rub down or a baby talk session.

Rule number one for people who come across a guide team is you can look but don’t touch. It is never under any circumstance okay to interrupt a dog. When they are helping their person get from point “A” to point “B”, they are working. You wouldn’t walk into a surgery that is already in progress to quiz the doctor on the type of soap he used before opening up the patients heart would you?

Interrupting a guide while they are hard at work can be just as detrimental. Distractions cause accidents and accidents cause injuries. You may not intend on causing harm when you whistle at their beautiful Lab but it may very well happen. It might seem like an alright thing to do but it’s not.

A guide dog and their person are trained to work in sink together as a unified team. They communicate to each other all the time even if not in words. Once distracted the link is broken. A guide in essence is of course just like any other dog. If someone talks sweet or whistles at them they are going to turn their head and possibly trot over. But what if this happens while standing on a street corner? The dog may try to barrel across to greet you forgetting their person is still attached to the harness. This can put both the dog and their person in potential danger from passing cars.

If a guide dog is constantly bombarded with people trying to distract him or her they may become overwhelmed. It can in some cases be difficult for a person to get their guide back on track. The dogs guide work will suffer because of this and become sloppy. They may be too busy thinking about what the stranger distracting them is doing to notice a pole that’s clearly in their person’s path.

If you encounter a guide team and you are in position to reach out and touch the dog, please refrain from doing so. It is frowned upon by most blind people for someone to randomly pet their dog. Some will allow such interactions but only with permission. If they say no don’t be offended. They just might not have time or the dog may not handle interaction with other people gracefully. For some dogs, once they get that one pat on the head they can’t stop looking for their next fix from those passing by.

Don’t worry; guide dogs are not abused, unloved or lacking in the loving attention department. Even if you don’t see a blind person playing or cuddling with their guide that doesn’t mean they don’t have a deeply attached relationship. Most guide teams have a closer nit bond than that of a regular man’s best friend type of situation. After all, a guide dog works hard every day to ensure their person is safe every second that they are out and about. The blind person thereby puts all of their trust and their life into the guide dog’s capable paws. This makes for a firm lasting connection. Many people say for them it was love at first lick.

Friday, February 3, 2012

10 Reactions To Staring

Have you ever been out in public and felt eyes boring into your back? Did you ever wonder what you could say to them instead of the expletives that may be floating around your head? If you answered yes to either question this list can help you. The following are things you can say to your admirer while still being appropriate for public consumption.

1. “Can I help you?”

2. Turn around in their direction and blow a raspberry at them.

3. “I know I have a cute butt but could you please stop staring at it?”

4. “Peek a boo… I see you”.

5. Look right in their direction and say, “you have a little something on your teeth.” Don’t forget to point to your own teeth showing them where. This will leave them even more confused.

6. Start dancing wildly and really give them something to look at. Keep in mind this may promote more staring but for an entirely different reason.

7. Try and get as close to them as you can and ask, “Does that help you see me better?”

8. “Staring is how I became blind... just sayin.”

9. “I’m sorry I’m not telepathic so I don’t know what you’re trying to say. Could you please speak outside of your mind?”

10. Turn to them and say, “Did you know?” and then add in something really embarrassing and awkward that is totally random but making them regret they got your attention in the first place.

If you like this list be sure to share it with your friends. Also, click the “Follow” link to be updated via e-mail when another list such as this is posted.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quote Of The Day

"Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness."~~Helen Keller

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Note To Readers...

Hey everyone I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you for being part of this site. Today the stats reached a little over 500 views and it hasn't even been three full weeks!!! So thanks guys for being loyal readers! You absolutely rock! Lots of new things are going to be happening on the site soon so keep checking back often... and if you haven't click the "follow" link be sure to do that so you can stay up to date on the sites progress. xoxoxoxoxo