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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜‰

Handycapped parking.

I can’t help. but notice that in my part of Missouri (yes I live in MO.) That people aren’t handicapped seem to take up the handicapped parking places. Which, is a very inconsiderate thing to do. What if someone who was, I don’t know handy caped needed that spot, but couldn’t park there because you were already? Wow! What a concept!

I’m not saying that this is true everywhere. However, I have noticed this at the college where I go, and at the place where I had my graduation on Friday. Among other places in and around the places were I live and visit.

What do I mean? I’m not saying that they don’t look handicapped. I’m saying that they don’t have a handicapped sticker in their car, or a license plate. I guess you could have a placard too, but they don’t even have that.

On Friday my uncle encountered such a person. He was waiting for me to get done with graduation practice. Here is what happened.

Person: *pulls up into the parking lot. Parks sideways instead of straight* Uncle watches her get out of the car. Uncle: “Are you handicapped?” Person: (it’s a girl) “No!” Uncle: “Don’t you think you need to move your car then? So that someone who is can park there.” Girl: “I just don’t think that’s necessary.” Uncle: *takes out iphone* ” It’s like this. You have two choices. 1: I’ll call the cops. They’ll make you move your car, and you’ll get fined. 2: move your car. So either move the car, or I’m calling.” *holds out phone* Lady: “Fine!” *stomps foot* *goes back to move her car*

I have no respect for her. Because of how she acted. I mean, it’s not like he asked her to go to Mars, and bring back proof that she was there All he asked her to do was move her car. A task that should have been simple. She did no how to drive, right?

I just thought I’d point out the rules. You can check the ADA (Americans with disabilities act) for everything you need to know. If I’m wrong; please say so.

My uncle was right. If you park in a handicap spot in the state of Missouri, and you have nothing that shows you’re handicapped. Or you’re not handicapped. You can have your car towed, and you can be fined. I’m not sure how much, but I’d rather just move the car. Wouldn’t you?

I can also think of another incident that happened at the college where I attended until graduation. This was between my dad, and another lady. I must say that my dad handled it better than I would have.

I wanted to rip her throat out, and maybe beat her with my cane. Then, demand to know who was handicapped now. I didn’t because that would have resulted in a broken cane. Since I have no funds to replace it (white canes are actually really expensive) I elected not to follow up on what I wanted to do. Anyway, moving on with this crazy train *clears throat* article.

The basic incident happened like this. The lady saw my dad parking, and as soon as he got out. She started accusing him of not being handicapped. 1: He had me with him. Under the ADA blind people are considered handicapped, so that point was mute. 2: He was handicapped. Just because my dad isn’t in a wheelchair doesn’t mean he isn’t handicapped. Why do most people assume that in order to be handy capped one must be in a wheelchair? Hmmm! Must be the sign they use on the stickers and such.

Anyway, long story short. She argued with him about it, and I somehow managed to stand there doing nothing. While inside I was calling her every name I could think of. That if I’d said them aloud the words would’ve probably shocked my father. I guess she thought she was the campus police. News flash! She wasn’t. Telling us we couldn’t park there. In a handicap parking place. *grumbles*

I’m writing this, not to bring about shame, and embarrassment. Though, if it does that’s grate. Maybe you’ll remember that the next time you decide to park in a handicap spot when you’re not handicapped, or don’t have a handicapped person with you. If you do this thing, please ask yourself if getting your vehicle towed, and a probably expensive fine is worth it. For being just a few feet closer to the entrance, and not having to walk so far. I don’t think so. Save the handicapped parking places for those of us who really need them. The handicapped.

I wrote this, so that I can hopefully educate more people on the rules of the handy cap parking. When I googled it (I didn’t do it by state) I just found the rules for parking lots. The number of handy capped spots per number of spaces in a parking lot. Helpful if you’re making a parking lot. Not so much if you’re just a driver.

I know this isn’t Wednesday (Question day), but what is your experience with handy cap parking? Are you handy capped? Do you know someone who is? Has anyone ever yelled at you for taking one of those spots? Please share!

Thanks for reading!

A desire renewed

Every since I saw my first guidedog in 2001 I’ve always wanted one. However, I eventually gave up on that dream because
1. I was told that they wouldn’t give a dog to someone who lived in a rural area.
2. I walked to slow.
3. I would need a dog that supported me when I went up stairs.
I think you can see why my dream pretty much died. However, recently I’ve seen more than one friend go through the training to get a guidedog. Including this person. My dreams of owning a furry friend, I mean guide have been revived. Not to mention that I’ve had more than one person ask me why I don’t have one. There’s nothing like being asked why you don’t have something that you’ve previously wanted so badly that you could envision it. To have your dreams of that thing come alive again, and be just as determined, if not more so to make it happen this time is great.
I hope everyone is enjoying her (Link posted above) daily writings from Leaderdogs, and if not, What are you waiting for? Go read them.
I know I briefly touched on a subject with this blog, and maybe one of these days we’ll provide you with the proper information. Let’s just say for now I’m still doing research. Maybe one of these days I’ll have a furry companion, and if not. It doesn’t hurt to try, does it?
Thanks for reading!

The enactive torch.

Hello everyone!
Sorry this is late. This was suppose to be last Thursday’s blog.
There’s this device called the inactive torch. It seems really cool, and if it works we can all throw away our canes for good. (yay!)
So what is it?
well according to the article I’ll post later the device looks like a giant remote control. It is connected via a wire to a wrist band.
How does it work?
It works by vibrating. The closer you get to an object the more intensely it vibrates.
How does it do this?
It uses infrared sensors to sense objects in front of it.
How far has the research gone?
It has just been tested with people who have normal vision, or those with corrected to normal vision. However, they were told to walk through the testing area either with normal vision, a cane while blind folded, or the torch while blind folded.
Do you think this should be tested further?
Yes. I think it should be tested on those who are blind, have low vission (vissually impaired, and maybe even deaf/blind people. Because I can see benefits for them as well.
For more information about this product. Please see the following article. Click here to read the article.
Thanks for reading!

Trains, The Good and the Bad

Well hi everyone! I’m back, once again. I’m going to be discussing train travel as a blind person. Please note that Canadian trains are probably different from the US’s, so hope this finds some interest. First time I ever took a train, I didn’t have to transfer at all. It all went pretty smooth, the asisstance was amazing getting from the station to the train, as well as finding the people who were helping me after I got to the other train station. However, the second time, we had to transfer into Toronto. Well, I told the girl that I spoke to when I called the via rail company that I needed assistance. I also told them that I was blind and had never transfered before, she said that someone would help me. No problem. So I get to the station, we get to the Toronto station, transfer starts. By this time, I was starving, and wanted some food. I have never been in the Toronto train station before, and have no idea where to find anything, so I asked the person who was assisting me if they would help me with getting food. She told me that she had to help someone else, and that she would be right back. That’s fine with me. Train came at 17:0 so I had a bit to wait anyway. So I’m sitting on this bench, waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and oh, did I mention waiting? 20 minutes later, she comes back. Oh, sorry, she says, I had to help this person and then I forgot about you. What great service, eh? The last train trip that I took, the transfer went a lot smoother. The assistant helped me find the platform and get my baggage just fine. Luckily, the train was right there, and the time in Toronto wasn’t too long. Thank god for IPhone, skype, and HayTell. Well, I hope you guys have a great evening. God bless.

My thought about the Holidays.

Okay I know I said that I was going to do “Question Wednesday” today, but with the holidays coming up I didn’t think any of the questions that I had written down in my “Ideas for future blogs” document was appropriate for the holidays. So with that in mind Here’s what I have chosen to do instead.
I’m writing this blog on behalf of myself and yanagram. We hope you travel safe, and make it to your destinations in time to celibrate with your families.
I also want to thank our troops again for serving our country and making a sacrifice to be away from your families. Stay safe out there. God bless.
I can’t speak for yanagram, but for me giving presents is more important then recieving presents. It makes me feel good
I also enjoy the time I get to spend with my family. I hope you do to.
Happy holidays everyone.
Thanks for reading!
P. S. I hope this blog doesn’t seem too random. I just wrote down what was on my mind. πŸ™‚

White Cane Walk

Hi, folks!
I know I should have gotten this post up sooner, but I was too busy being distracted by things like Twitter and school…and Twitter. But at least I’m being good and posting it now, right? Good. Glad I have your forgiveness. πŸ™‚ Now, on to the post.
On Friday, the 14th of October, I participated in a little thing called the White Cane Safety Awareness Walk, which was in its 19th year here in my corner of the world. I believe the actual White Cane Day was on Saturday the 15th, but our walk was on Friday because there was a local blindness consumer organization convention on that Saturday. As it’s name implies, this walk was all about promoting awareness of, as well as independence and empowerment through, the use of the long white cane. There were about 150 to 200 participants, ranging from children below five to adults well into their 70’s; newly-blind individuals to teachers and parents of the blind; and community members, from the Lions’ Club to a politician of some sort. All of us went on a pleasant 45-minute stroll through town — a throng of cane-wielding individuals on a mission. My mission, as I’d granted it to myself, was to help promote independence for the blind community, but also to find my own place within that community.
In a previous post, I’d mentioned that I’m still trying to reconcile myself with my blindness — that I still don’t know how to view it or the way it affects me — well, that is just what I’d hoped the Walk would aid in doing. In some ways it did: I felt freer and more capable; I was able to tell people why I was going on the walk, which helped them to see this independence; and I got to be around other people with the same types of struggles and triumphs. But in other ways it didn’t…or maybe I just didn’t allow it to do so: I walked with some people I hadn’t seen since I was in middle school — all teachers of the blind — but all that did was to raise more questions in my mind than provide answers. For instance, how do I function with the site I have while maintaining the blindness skills I’ve acquired? Or, why didn’t I go and meet other people rather than hanging out with the cute little kids? Basically, I still played it safe, and I still held tight to the little box I’ve put up around myself.
When the walk and its festivities were over, I had to wait for my mom to come and pick me up, but the thing was, I didn’t really know where to go. For someone who had completed mobility training, and who had just went on a walk to promote empowerment, I felt pretty stupid and frustrated. I know, I could look at this as a learning experience — which I do — but I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes the person we want to be must be cultivated; you can’t just take former experiences, lump them together, and consider yourself ready to step into the new shoes of a stronger you. Practice, when done right and not done fearfully, should, in the end, bring you somewhere near perfection. Even though I’d stepped out a little and attended the Walk, I did not step out enough. And the step I took was probably just to assure myself that I could take the step, not really to see where the step would take me.
In the end, I’m glad I participated; next time, however, I’d be braver about it. But this is my burden, and it will probably continue to be so for a long time. I build up fantasy upon fantasy about the person I could become; I take little steps toward becoming such a person, and then I find the smallest safe zone and jump into it, only leaving it to dream up more of those darn fantasies. The White Cane Walk started at one corner of a street and took us on a circuitous rout down town, only to end up at the corner across the street from the starting point; looking back on it now, I think that’s kind of the way I’ve been living. I do so many things to prove to myself that I can do them, and then when an opportunity arises to leave the circle of safe tasks, I back away, taking who knows how many steps backward in the process.
Well…I’m not sure if I’d intended this post to go the way it ended up going, but I guess that stuff needed to be said, eh? Have any of you felt trapped in yourself before? Striving for more but always setting yourself up to fail? Gosh, that sounds so morbid…but that’s what I think I’ve been doing. Convincing myself that the world beyond my box was unsafe, and as such should only be experienced slowly and carefully, when the truth is that yes, the world is not all nice and clean and shiny, but it isn’t about playing it safe; it’s about getting messy and living. Living is scary, and thrilling, and hugely rewarding; but only if you do it.
I’d meant the White Cane Walk to affirm myself — to say, “See, you are becoming more independent. Go you!” But really, it just showed me that it was all pride and daydreaming, and that the only way I’ll ever achieve that independence is by letting opportunities happen to me, not creating them myself according to my idea of what safety ought to be.
Hopefully this helps someone out there realize that in order to learn, we have to allow ourselves to do a lot of growing; and growing is scary, hard, and painful, but also so worth it in the end.
(: Yanagram πŸ™‚

A book review of Thomas Bickford's book: Care and Feeding of the Long White Cane: Instructions in Cane Travel for Blind People

The book “Care and Feeding of the Long White Cane: Instructions in Cane Travel for Blind People” by Thomas Bickford is a really good book for those who are just starting to use a cane. I also use it to review my cane techniques. Because let’s be honest sometimes we as blind people need that little refresher now and again.
Although this book was published in 1993 and is in some ways out of date, it’s still got some really good information.
The author who is blind himself starts out with the obvious thing that I think we as blind people all struggle with at some point in our lives which is “Why should I use something that defines me as a blind person?”He goes on to describe; how to go up and down stairs, how to cross the street safely, how to shop, how to travel by bus, plane, or subway, and much more. He also discusses how to “Take care of your cane”
Even though this book is recommended primarily for blind people I’m going to take a leap and reccomend it for sighted people as well.
Why?
1. Because I’ve had many sighted people ask me “how do you cross the street?” and as a blind person I find it hard to explain. (or maybe it’s just me?) (as witness by the fact that there is still an unfinished draft that never got posted on here)
2. Because it helps explain sighted guide, and explains that sometimes a guide can be too much help or can give to little.
3. It helps explain why sometimes when you say “you can go I’ll wait for you.” we sometimes refuse.
4. It explains how we as blind people depend on you as a driver to help orient us.
And satisfies other curiosities and doubts you may have about blind people and our ability to travel from place to place.
I’ve never really done a book review before, so I hope it’s okay. When I saw this on bard (Braille and audeo reading download) I couldn’t help but think that this would be a good thing to blog about.
Yeah I know I should’ve posted all of that at the beginning of the blog, and I was going to. But when I sat down to write my fingers had other ideas (lol.) and it just came out like this. So if you don’t like the way it’s written then I guess you can just yell at me in the comments or send me an email or something. lol. πŸ™‚
Reguardless I hope you enjoyed reading this blog.
Thanks for reading!

Why do ATM Machines have braille on their numbers?

Let’s immagin that you are going on a road trip. You need cash, so on your way out of town you stop at an ATM machine to get cash. No big deal right? what if you are blind, and the ATM has no braille on it’s numbers? That means you have to depend on the driver. Which also means that you will have to give him/her your pin number. I can see lots of problems with this especially if you don’t know the person that well. For instance they can take out more then you tell them to. But that is not my problem with having no braille numbers on the ATM machine. although that could be a problem for someone else My problem is independence especially when it comes to My money.
Yes blind people can have access to ATM machines especially if they talk, or have braille numbers. We can walk up to them, or ride in the back seat of a car. Maybe the driver can find a way so if we are sitting in the front passenger seat we can reach the ATM machine.
My point is, even if you don’t live that far from an ATM Machine sighted assistance would still be required if they weren’t accessible. Bank Of America’s ATMS are in fact, accessible.
I was watching a video on youtube once and they’ve asked that question. I’ve been meaning to write a blog about it every sense. I wanted to give the reason braille is on the numbers, and the reason is for us (blind people) as well as give my opinion on why other banks should make their ATMs accessible (if they haven’t already), and an example of a bank that has accessible ATMS. Hope you don’t mind.
Happy reading!

How do you get around college?

As independent as I am I still have a fear of running into a door or going into the wrong classroom. That’s why I have a student walk with me from class to class. The student is someone who has the next class with me, or who is a friend whom I other wise wouldn’t get a chance to talk to. I never realized until college how much I depended on my sense of smell to tell one classroom from another. In my college the rooms well… kind of don’t have a smell that distinguishes them from one another. Now I have to rely on a sense of familiarity or count my steps, which I find boring and time consuming.
When I was younger I kept having this dream that I was going to walk into the wrong teacher’s room instead of the one I was suppose to be in. In the dream I remember being in a hurry to get to class, then walking into the teacher’s room only to discover that it was the wrong one. The two teachers rooms were down the hall from each other, so It would’ve been easy to do this. One day it happened just like in my dream. I was so embarrassed. Especially because I had them both one after the other. The next class period when I had the teacher whose room I had accidently entered she asked if I needed anything. My aid explained that I had accidently walked into the wrong room.
My cane instructor taught me to walk along the wall and to find a landmark that would only be at a certain point like a bench. He taught me how to use my cane as well as sound. He also taught me to count doors until I locate the one I’m looking for, but the problem with this is there are usually students along the wall, so I can’t always look for a landmark or count doors.
So I guess that’s why i try to walk with a friend.
Thanks for reading!

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