Compass directions

In searching for something to write about today I came across something that can help the parents, maybe the para-professionals, and maybe the teachers of a blind child or student. I posted this on Thursday because it talks about mobility and orientation, but it could have also went up on Wednesday. That is why it is in two categories on this blog. I hope you enjoy.

I can’t think of a better way to introduce a article than to tell about my own experience with learning compass directions. I mean I guess I could be like “here’s this article thing. Read it, or don’t.”, but where’s the fun in that? Okay… here goes the story!

When I first started learning my compass directions I learned them how the article described “In front of you is north” ETC. However, I learned them while standing on the street and also based on the sun’s position in the sky. As you can probably imagine this was great if one is standing outside, but not so great when looking at a map. To this day I still have to look at the little compass thing on the map before I can locate anything and if there isn’t one I am completely lost. I suppose the great thing is that I always know which direction I’m traveling based on where the sun is, or maybe not. I guess it depends on the time of day. 🙂

Well that is how *not* to teach your child compass directions, but what can you do. The article lists a few suggestions and you can check out the article here. One of the reasons I suggested that it might be good for teachers or Para-professionals is because instead of saying “object A is to the left” one could say “Object is to the west” and so on. This is assuming that the child in question has learnd his/her directions first though. 😀 I hope you enjoy this article.

Thanks for reading!

P. S. This article I linked to earlier is not mine. If you found anything within the linked-in article itself that you think might be a mistake or wrong pleas don’t contact me about it. Instead you might want to contact familyconnect.org as the article is there property. Just thought I’d put that out there.

PPS. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the article. Just giving copyright to whomever has it. 😀 That being said if you find any mistakes in anything I posted and you think I should correct it please tweet me personally or contact the blog’s twitter Just putting that out there for any new readers who haven’t read the contact us page yet. 😉

MCrem doesn't work.

On December 1st I posted this little gym for those who don’t know what this is here is a basic summary. It is a tool to remove Macafee without sighted help from your windows computer. This only works with the anti-virus software though which is totally inaccessible to us blind folks. (Now I sound like an old lady) lol.

However it doesn’t work. That’s right this little tool that I was so proud of doesn’t work. 🙁 Poor us!

How do I know. I ran it three times at least and still can’t access windows defender. Yesterday a notification came up on my windows 10 machine (wwhich is where I was trying to remove the inaccessible software from. That pesky software! lol.) that said that my trial was about to run out. My trial of Macalfea I mean, um… Macafee that is. *runs away screaming*

I want this off my system. Anyone got any solutions that actually work? Maybe I just need a working pair of eyes. ahhhhh! Can mine just start working now? Please!

Thanks for reading!

Greetings, All!

Hello and welcome…

My name is Meagan, and I’ve been graciously invited to join the other bloggers here on Living Blind Blog. I hope I can bring fresh and informative insights to the site, so watch this space for posts about, well, living blind.

Get to know me…

I’m a professional communications student at MacEwan University, hoping to pursue a career involving writing and editing. I have all the usual interests: music, reading, creative writing, and of course, socializing. I’ve enjoyed taking part in many little corners of the blind community, and this is just one more adventure on what should be a very long list.

I’m usually to be found drinking tea (caffeinated, of course), writing furiously, and chasing my tail as deadlines loom. I’ve also been known to go to pieces when cute, fluffy creatures are around. If I’m not doing that, I’m probably curled up with my newest great read.

If you like what you see…

If you’re curious about what else I get up to in the writing world, you can find me at wheresyourdog.com. If you love books as much as I do, feel free to join me on Goodreads. You can also check out all things Meagan on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

Happy reading!

You don't look blind.

On my first day of class I walked in, and sat down. The teacher started lecturing on the first day’s lesson. Everything was going fine.

There was a slight hick-up on the way to the college when I realized that I’d forgotten my digital voice recorder. However, I remembered that I could record the lecture on my Iphone. So, for that moment at least it was fine.

I was sitting there staring at the white board in front of me. I could see that it was the white board because it looked different from the wall. Plus the teacher would occasionally stand in front of it. Occasionally when she stood there I could hear the sound the marker makes when someone’s writing on a white board. I was doing my best to pay attention to what the teacher was saying.

Then, the teacher asked for us to get into groups. She said that was the way we were going to work out problems in her class. Fine with me! So, we all get into groups, and start working on whatever problem we were assigned.

After about five minutes the teacher gets our attention again. She tells us that one of us is to introduce each member of our group. Then, explain how we got the answer we did.

I’m not quite sure how this occurred, but at some point the instructor started working out a problem on the board. She asked if we could all see it, and I whisper to my scribe that I can’t see what’s on the board I tell him that I’m also confused because I don’t know what’s on the board. So, he starts reading it to me.

I’m going to pause in my story, and say Teachers, instructors, and professors. Please for the love of your job tell the blind student what you’re writing on the board. Practice what you’re reading out loud before you have them in class if you have too. But please tell them what you’re writing. We need to know this information just as badly as our sighted peers.

So, back to the story. One of the girls looks over at my scribe, and says something to him that I don’t hear. He responds with “I’m telling her what’s on the board.” The girl says: “Why?” My scribe says:” “Because she can’t see.” Girl: *probably says something about moving.* Scribe: “No really. She can’t see. She’s blind.” Girl: “Really?” Scribe: “Yeah.” Girl: “Are you serious?” Scribe: “Yeah.” Girl: “That’s cool!” Girl to me: “Are you really blind??” Me: “yeah.” Girl: “I didn’t know that. You do it well.” Me not knowing what she meant: “Thanks! I try.”

I still don’t know what she meant. If it’s the blindness thing she was talking about. I wonder what she was expecting? I wanted to ask her that, but we moved on before I could. 🙂 Whatever she expected. I hope now she’ll expect more the next time she meets a blind person. Especially if it’s a student.

Thanks for reading!

10 Things Only Blind People Will Appreciate

I recently had the opportunity to visit an education class focusing on teaching students with disabilities and special needs; the professor, who teaches class around the same time that I do and has noticed me on campus, asked if I’d mind speaking to the class about my experiences. Sure, why not? They’re covering the chapter on blindness, and it would help them to contextualize the content if they have a real live blind person in the class, in the same way that it probably helps students to contextualize learning the anatomy of a frog in Biology class if they have one to dissect.

I say this with tongue firmly in cheek, of course, because taking advantage of such opportunities raises awareness about the ways that people with disabilities function and the challenges we face on a daily basis. The latter, I think, tends to generate more questions; for the non-disabled, living with a disability can seem like an endless, exhausting trek up a hill that you’ll never reach the crest of.

To that end, one student asked, “What’s the hardest thing, do you think, about being blind?”
“Everything,” I quipped, only half-joking. Rehabilitation and technology have helped many of us to develop sufficient coping mechanisms, and over time, certain tasks become easier than others, but on some days, we have to measure out our energy in exact quantities. Learning to accept the good days with the bad has taught me how to survive. Whether you’ve lived with blindness or visual impairment for your entire life, have recently lost your sight, or know someone who has, here are 10 things only people who are visually impaired or blind can fully appreciate.

1. You occasionally have days when you wear a black bra with a white blouse

And people will probably give you strange looks. Fortunately, you probably won’t be able to see them, and if you can, I promise, the sun will rise tomorrow.

2. Eyeliner is not your friend

Yes, plenty of women have offered excellent tutorials on applying make-up without sight. Most of them work. I’ve found this one the most useful. But applying eye make-up without reasonably good vision almost requires a degree in art and design, not to mention, if your eyes water as much as mine do, the result looks less like glam and more like…glob. Mascara I can handle as long as I’m not dancing in front of the mirror to the soundtrack from “Mama Mia!” with the wand in my hand, but I’ve given up on eyeliner unless I apply make-up with the express intent to traumatize small children.

3. People think everything you do is amazing

From cutting your meat to cooking dinner for a group of friends, the scope of your survival skills will never cease to amaze the world. No amount of eye-rolling on your part is going to change this.

4. You learn to find stress-relief in staircase wit

Because I haven’t yet figured out how to channel Oscar Wilde, my arsenal of witty replies to “You’re so amazing” never seems to be at the ready until five minutes after the moment has passed. Several weeks ago, a woman on the bus observed, “Wow, you can dress yourself.” “Yes,” I wanted to reply. “But most blind people live in nudist colonies, for their own convenience.” If these verbal zingers never find their mark, they at least challenge me to find humor in the situation after the fact.

5. People will occasionally accuse you of “faking it”

AS ludicrous as this sounds, sometimes, the public have a hard time spotting blindness, which makes me wonder how many people in the world need to have their eyes examined. That said, while most of us don’t consider blindness an “invisible” disability, if we’re not wearing dark glasses or tripping over cracks in the sidewalk, we “don’t look blind.” Here’s the thing; blindness is a bit like a box of truffles. We come in all varieties. Some of us wear dark glasses; some don’t. Some of us use a white cane; some prefer guide dogs. Some need neither. Some of us can read large print or identify people’s faces; some of us read Braille or use text-to-speech programs on our computers to read. In short, even if someone is making eye contact with you, this doesn’t mean that they can see you clearly, or at all.

6. You will inevitably misplace something at least once a week

Most people regularly misplace everyday objects: keys, wallets, iPhones, or purses. But when was the last time you lost your vacuum cleaner…while cleaning? I once had to abandon vacuuming to take a phone call, and when I finished, I couldn’t remember where I’d left the vacuum. Eventually, I found it…or rather, my shin did. This wasn’t as funny as I’m making it sound now. When you don’t have the ability to scan your environment with a pair of working eyes, such domestic debacles are par for the course.

7. Sometimes you can “just tell” where you are

While many of us who are blind or visually impaired dismiss the myth that our other senses are stronger, in truth, they probably are, not innately, but because we’ve had to learn to develop them. Orientation to one’s environment involves much more than being able to “see” where you are; sounds, smells, tastes, and textures also offer valuable clues. You don’t have to have your eyes opened to know when you’ve walked passed the Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand at the shopping mall, for example.

8. People will occasionally forget that you can’t see

As flattering as this might seem, it’s also irritating to find yourself repeatedly reminding someone that you can’t read that street-sign or see the direction in which they’re pointing. Case-in-point: several years ago, a student emailed me in advance of class to let me know that she would be absent. To verify that she did, in fact, have a fever of 102, she attached a picture of her thermometer. If this were an isolated incident, I might have thanked her for the daily dose of ridiculous and moved on, but it happens so frequently with the same students that I want to tear my hair out and bang my head repeatedly against a brick wall to end the pain.

9. You will learn not to order messy food on a first date

Pro tip: this applies to anyone, even those with 20/20 vision. Please, learn from my mistake. Once, at Moe’s Southwest Grill, the contents of a burrito exploded all over my blue jeans as I sat across from the man whom I was convinced was destined to be the father of my babies. I’m still not sure how it happened. “Welcome to Moe’s. You’re never going to go on a date again. Ever.”

10. You can’t do anything in a rush

Running in heels? Don’t try it. Speedily applying mascara? Really, really bad idea. Chopping vegetables? Even worse idea. We all know that sometimes life doesn’t allow us enough time to accomplish the tasks we need or want to accomplish, but when you can’t see what you’re doing, fast and easy is a luxury you can’t really afford. (Of course, I don’t recommend running in heels to anyone. Fashion logic 101).

Question

What lessons have you learned about living with blindness? share your thoughts!

ADA and related things

I am writing this blog simply because I have seen one too many instances where blind people with service dogs are being asked to leave. While at the same time I’ve seen other stories about people who are denied jobs ETC. I am writing this because I can maybe educate those who work at or own a business. Pass it on.

The ADA (Americans with disabilities act) prevents discrimination of people of disabilities and whether blind people like being classified as such or not blindness is considered a disability. That means should someone come in with a service dog you can’t legally throw them out. You might be able to ask for proof that the dog is indeed a service dog, but you can’t throw them out if the dog really is a service dog. (Someone who has a service dog correct me if I’m wrong, and provide the relevant information please) Like wise you can’t legally refuse to hire someone, refuse to rent to someone, because of or other wise discriminate against someone with a disability

Here is the ADA’s webpage should you require more information. Note: right after I post this blog that page will be going up on the favorite blogs and sites page. So by the time you see this post it should be already added. Assuming that I don’t become majorly distracted or my tablet doesn’t crash. So should you need this link for any reason just click on the favorite blogs and sites page, find the heading that says “Education and help”, find the site you want, and click on it. It will always be there unless this site gets taken down for some unknown reason, or for some reason the ADA’s site gets taken down permanently. In the event that happens please bookmark, or favorite this link *found above*.

Thanks for reading!

What does "You don't look blind" mean?

I have been told “You don’t look blind” a time or two in my life. However, I’ve never understood what that means. I’ve lived around sighted people all my life and I understand most things. Except not this

I’m just curious, what’s your idea of a sighted person? What did you envision before you encountered your first one?

Yeah I know. This one is just for the sighted people who may stumble on this post. Sorry fellow blind people I’ll try to do better next time. You know you wanna know the answer too so stop whining at me. lol.

I thought about this question again today after reading an article in which someone told a blind person “You don’t look blind”What does that even mean? Well… here’s what I picture the person who just told me that is picturing. The best I can come up with is someone probably with a white cane stumbling everywhere and groping in front of them for things. Okay so maybe lose the cane. Given how we’re portrayed in books, television films, and movies this would be no surprise.

However, we’re not that way unless we’re newly blinded and haven’t had the proper skills taught to us yet. In fact, I hardly ever stumble around with my cane (“Where’s my balance again?”) *that’s due to surgery on my legs though, and not my blindness* I hardly ever grope for things “Where’s that wall again? I know it’s around here somewhere” *gropes for wall between living room and kitchen.*
Thanks for reading!

Now you see it, now you don't: Blindness and Visual Memory

for someone who earns her bread either writing or teaching writing, to say that I’ve not written here in a while because I’ve felt uninspired would seem to throw any of my credibility in my chosen profession into serious doubt, so I won’t say it. choose to think so if you will, but you didn’t hear it from me.

That said, I write today with a resource that some of you might find useful, as well as to do some shameless self-plugging, because I’m not above having my ego stroked on occasion. I recently learned of a blog called Vision through Words , which publishes short essays and poetry primarily by blind and low-vision writers. for many of us in the blind community, writing is both a pastime and a profession, and some of us have found it a useful tool to work through the various struggles that living with a disability sometimes entails. I encourage you to have a look, and consider contributing yourself if so inclined.

I’ve had two pieces of my own published to the site, most recently this one , in which I reflect on the nostalgia of visual memory after the loss of sight.

Enjoy, and as always, thanks for reading!

On the Courage of Living with a Disability: a Reflection

Over the years, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had some variation of the following exchange with another blind or visually impaired person.
Friend: So, did I tell you? I was getting on the bus this afternoon, and a woman stopped me to say, “You’re such an inspiration! I could never do what you do!”
Me: Yes, it’s like they don’t think we can put one foot in front of the other. Honestly. When will they learn?

As people with disabilities, many of us make tremendous efforts to live as “normally” and independently as possible, and when a stranger at the grocery store or on the bus calls attention to a simple action like identifying a bus pass or making the right change at the checkout counter, we feel singled out, as if our mobility aids—whether wheelchairs, canes, or service animals—don’t already make us stand out like a lady in a red dress at a bullfight. I always do my best to take the observation for the compliment that the person intended it to be—confirmation that others see the effort I make to live an independent life as far as I’m able. However, people with disabilities—and I include myself in this—can sometimes interpret such comments as patronizing. One afternoon, while walking on campus, I bent down to tie my shoe. It was 90 degrees; half of my students hadn’t followed the instructions on their most recent paper; I wanted only to board my bus, go home, and inject enough alcohol into my brain to erase my misery. Sufficed to say, I wasn’t looking for a compliment on how well I made my bunny ears, so when someone stopped to comment on my ability to tie my shoe, I smiled (or grimaced, more likely), thanked whoever it was, and continued on my way, all the while thinking, ‘Seriously? I tied my shoe. I didn’t turn water into wine.’

When I reflect on this and similar experiences I’ve had, I admit that it’s taken me years to realize that the person who compliments me when I manage to tie my shoe or find a seat on the bus—everyday tasks that we all take for granted—doesn’t see a woman tying her shoe; the person sees someone with a disability independently navigating the world. To people without a disability who can’t imagine how we live, even getting out of bed can seem insurmountable not, I think, because people think us incapable, but because they don’t know the resources, techniques, and technology available to us that allow us to function as independently as possible. The problem arises when we don’t educate the public about degrees of difficulty, which leads to slippage in the way we use terms like courageous, amazing, or inspirational.

People with disabilities are no different than people without disabilities in that we find some tasks easy and others challenging, depending on the nature of our disabilities and our personalities. Mastering adaptive technology always came fairly easily to me; when it comes to independent travel, I have a horrible sense of direction. I don’t mean I can’t get around independently, but because I have a very difficult time visualizing routes and places in my head, I require practice to learn to get to where I need to go. I know plenty of people with 20/20 vision who can’t follow directions to save their lives, so I’m not alone here.

Some people can play an instrument; some can’t. Some people can cook; others burn oatmeal. Some people can crochet; some are lucky if they can tie a square knot. Not everything people with disabilities do demands news-breaking attention. An account on Twitter, the Blind Onion, pokes fun at this idea with headlines like “blind man shocks world by getting out of bed.”

Courage, I think, applies when there is the existence of fear; it doesn’t take courage to do something that doesn’t frighten you. This is likely why people with disabilities feel that praise for performing certain tasks like brushing their teeth or making a phone call is misplaced. Having said that, in the same way that people with disabilities don’t like to be applauded for every little thing they do for themselves, they also need to recognize that what comes easily to them, another person with a disability might find challenging. It takes tremendous courage to do anything that scares you, whether bungee-jumping or walking to your mailbox. When you conquer something, you’re not conquering just the thing itself, but also the fear that prevents you from tackling it.

Some of my readers know that I recently moved from Gainesville back to my home town in South Florida. Yesterday, before meeting up with friends, I took my guide dog for a short walk and got disoriented because I stopped to say hello to a passing neighbor and lost my bearings. In reality, I was maybe 50 feet from my front door, but I might as well have been facing the fires of Mount Doom. I couldn’t see where I was, and I haven’t been here long enough to really have grown accustom to the sounds and sensations that help me to maintain my orientation, like traffic patterns or the direction of the sun. For about a minute, though it felt like much longer, I panicked before I calmed myself down, tried to listen for the traffic on the main road, and told my dog to “find the way,” which he did. In that moment, thinking on my feet to solve the problem I’d landed in took every ounce of courage I possessed. In a year’s time, this will probably be a cakewalk, but it taught me a valuable lesson about sensitivity to the varying degrees of challenge we all face in our lives.

Question

What frightens you? How do you handle it?

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