Neglecting your blind child: The opposite extreme

In my previous post, I tried to express my thoughts about over protection and to explain how it is not the best way to go; and it is very important to avoid this extreme. The opposite perspective of this approach is to totally ignore your blind child and consider him / her nothing in the family. One reason is that some people think that a blind child usually has another mental problem so it is hard to work on adjusting his / her behavior. Although it is sometimes true that a blind person may have another mental disability, it is not always the case and we should assume that he / she is normal at the first place. Upon that analysis, nobody tries to correct unacceptable behavior of a blind child assuming that he / she behaves like this because it cannot be fixed. As a result, this blind child grows up with those bad habits. All families should be responsible for this adjustment of the behavior of their blind children.
The blind child may be neglected if there is more than 1 child in the same family. Some parents give more attention to a sighted or a normal child in the family than a blind one. They think that if they give extra care of their sighted child, he / she is the one who will be able to take care of them when they grow older and bear the responsibility of the whole family. This represents an unhealthy environment for the growing of the blind children who may get depressed throughout the stages of their life.
My dear parents, your blind children are an important part of your family. If you take care of them, they will be a great help of you when you grow older.


Over protection: The Real Enemy

Education experts always tell us not to over protect our children as it has its own bad consequences on the cognitive intellectual and physical growth of the child. Of course our children are the most valuable treasure we may have so definitely we should be careful and sometimes over protective. The question is to what extent we should do that. I mean how far we can go with over protection. Can we create a balance between overprotecting and totally ignoring our child?
One of the big issues that I noticed that it totally destroys the life of the blind person is this over protection issue. Some mothers deal with their blind child as if he or she is fragile, it easily breaks; sensitive that’s why they try to protect it as possible as they can to avoid damaging this
Fragile glassy thing. What those mothers don’t understand is that they are actually damaging and destroying this valuable treasure they have. Let us explore some types of over protection:
Some parents think that they should keep their children away from the interaction with the outside world. They think it may be stressful or painful to the child if he gets exposed to strangers. it may be so, however, if he doesn’t get engaged in the community where he lives now, I assure you that he / she will never be able to deal with any stressful situation when he / she becomes adult. In fact, you harvest what you plant no more no less. Try to build the confidence in your blind child, try to let him gain confidence in his / her capabilities as a normal person. This will never happen except if you yourself have this confidence that your blind child is a normal one.
Another example is that we should do the daily activities for our child: feed him / her, put on his / her clothes, cleaning and arranging his / her room. Believe me when your child grows up, he / she will never be able to take care of him / herself. They will be pampered and really become disabled and helpless.

Don’t be afraid to teach your blind daughter son to use the stove; don’t be ashamed to introduce your blind child to the society. It is not a matter of why but it is a matter of how, I mean the techniques that you should use for teaching him/her. What a blind child needs is just different way of teaching. For example, instead of see this, you would use hear this, smell this, feel this depending on the thing that you are trying to explain. Remember that most of our children’s experience, they get it actually through observing the sighted people. That’s why you need to be patient and not to give up easily; otherwise you will pay a high price for that later on.

Radio shaping the awareness of the Blind People

It goes without saying that radio is an important mean for information and entertainment for everybody. For a blind person, Radio represents something special and basic aspect of his / her life. There is a kind of agreement between a blind person and the radio. As we all know, radio presents its content depending solely on the receiver’s sense of hearing and imagination. Unlike TV offering the content taking into consideration the eye of the viewer which sometimes disconnects the blind follower, radio creates this strong bond between the blind listener and the content because he / she can’t miss any part. For example, radio enabled the blind listener to follow his / her favorite team and sport games more efficiently than watching it on TV because the description is more comprehensive and more accurate.
Navigating radio stations is one of the favorite ways by which a blind person interacts with his / her radio. Even with technology development and offering the radio stations through satellites and the internet, it is still attractive for a blind listener to explore new stations all over the world.
For a very long time, radio was the first source of news and knowledge. Before the talking and the Braille watches, a blind person used to know the time by relating it to a certain program broadcasted on a specific radio station. Nowadays, the blind listener is able to take more in interactive role in shaping the performance of the radio shows specially those which require the opinions of the radio listener using the social media networks, SMS, or phone calls.
With technology, some blind radio users took their experience a step forward to start their online broadcasting. Some blind individuals own their online internet radios.
You see? Radio is a totally different experience for the individuals with visual disability.

How does a blind use computer?

Many people wonder the possibility of a blind person to use computer. Believe it or not that blind people are well-informed about technology trends and some of them are early adaptors of it. In fact, computer turned the lives of the blind 360 degrees. It opened all door widely before them to take more effective part in the society. It greatly contributed towards empowering the blind individuals socially, educationally, and professionally. With the assistance of the computer, a blind now can read and surf the internet, use the chat and social media websites and applications. More professional fields are now available for the blind because of the help of the computer. Since the invention of the “screen readers” which allows the users with visual impairment to use the computer independently, our lives have changed dramatically. Screen readers are software that is responsible for reading the content of the computer screen. This technology opened doors to an accessible world for the people with visual impairment. It began with the use of hardware synthesizers to read the DOS screens, later, with the invention of windows, and the technology of internal sound cards,

The screen reader is just software that is easily installed on a normal computer. The basic idea is that the software reads what is shown on the screen. A refreshable electronic Braille display is another alternative for reading the content of the screen. Instead of the mouse, the keyboard is used to input data. Unfortunately, most commercial screen readers are very expensive for a blind person to get except with a help of an association or an agency. For this reason, an open source screen reader like NVDA witnessed a great success among blind users who found it the best solution to avoid the high prices of the commercial ones.

You can know more about NVDA through NVDA website.

Blind women and Menstruation: why and how?

Continuing with the female conversation, and after we talked about applying makeup as a blind woman, I found it a good introduction to speak about that thing that every female has to experience at a certain time in her life on a monthly basis – her monthly period. . I am sorry if the topic seems to be disgusting for some of you; when I thought about start blogging, I decided to discuss anything and everything I find it related to the blind life.

One day, a blind friend went to a doctor for checkup, she was worried because she reached 16 and she didn’t get her period at all. Our great doctor was wondering why she tought about such thing. Why does she need to get her period? He made it as if why you are worried about being a woman. What a dare! Do you ever think that you can experience all the stages of womanhood, to get your period, to have a relation, to get married, or to be a mother?

Horrible, huh? What a terrible feeling when you are deprived of your right to be even a female or a woman! Unfortunately, this is the bitter inescapable reality we have to face on daily basis when we have to deal with somebody who is supposedly speaking well-educated, but he / she has such shocking attitudes against blind people, particularly, women.

O my God! Are those creatures like us? Do they go through the same things we experience in our lives? So how do they deal with such issues, poor thing they can’t see! Definitely we should not ask them, it may be embarrassing for them to answer our questions.

You know what? The problem is that some sighted people can’t think beyond the fact that they can use their eyes. They can’t imagine their lives without it. Many women wonder how a blind woman knows that she is getting her period. I actually googled the issue to see who talked about it before but I barely found something about this issue although believe me it is a very common question so I thought perhaps I would take this brave movement to discuss such sensitive issue.

My answer to those people will be in a form of questions. Don’t you ever feel fatigue? Or pain when you are getting your period? Don’t you feel anything coming out of your body at all? Don’t you ever feel more emotional when it is approaching? Can’t you know at least its approximate date during the month?

Answering those questions is enough to understand how blind women know when she is getting her period. So, how can she know if there is a stain in her clothes?

Let us be honest and say that it may happen with any woman, however, of course since we agreed before that sighted people are always right, if it happens for a blind woman, it will be interpreted that because she is a blind woman, she is poor thing, she can’t take care of herself. On the other hand, if this occurs to a sighted woman, yeah it is normal, don’t worry about it, it sometimes happens. I never hated anything in my life more than this way of judging and evaluating any situation in which a blind person is involved. I am not saying that blind people are angels or they are always right too but what I am saying is that we should try to understand the logic of everything we do.

My final advice to my blind female friends is to be careful! Don’t put your pad on until you are in an embarrassing situation. Try to be ready even 1 or two days before its right day to get it. Try not to wear bright colors during those days if possible, or if you are not sure about yourself. Mothers should give such advice to her daughter even if she is sighted so please mom, your blind daughter also needs your care and attention.

Applying makeup: is it really possible?

Many people wonder how a blind woman can put makeup. It is  even difficult for a sighted person to manage this,  it needs an extra  concentration and attention. In addition, it can’t be done without looking at  the mirror to make sure that things are going well. A blind woman is like any  other woman, she wants to be beautiful, she wants to be attractive, and she  needs to be seen as a different woman by her special one. I am aware of this  fact although those of you who know me in person, they know that I don’t put  makeup. It is just my weird attitude in life that I want to be as real as  possible lol. There is a difference between to choose not to do something, and  to not be able to do it because others told you that you are disabled and you  can’t do it.

I couldn’t find more interesting article about this topic  than an article entitled applying makeup.   The writer explains in detail how she applies makeup. What I  really liked about this article that it is presented to us from a blind woman perspective.  so for me, it is more real and authentic than anything else. Let me quote one  of the interesting points she made in her post, “Even some blind people can’t  fathom the idea. There is a blind woman I know who has her husband go around  shopping with her, and he puts on her make-up before work every morning. I  don’t think it is fair to your partner, just because he is sighted to take advantage  of him, making him into your personal stylist.”
In fact, there are complete courses offered to the blind women  to teach them how to apply makeup using their sense of touch. Vision Aware, one  of the best resources when it comes to blindness topics, gives some valuable  advice about the best techniques used for applying makeup with vision loss  through an article entitled Makeup Application After Vision Loss.
So yeah, blind women are able to apply makeup and become more  beautiful too.

MTA: Can I have your attention please?

For those of you who don’t know the MTA, it is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York. They are responsible for managing the subway, the local and express buses, many of tunnels and bridges in New York, and the regional rail services in greater New York.

Nobody can deny that the MTA is working hard to improve the experience of the passengers who are using their services. However, this does not mean that we don’t express our concern about how the service is provided to the passengers in general and the blind passengers in particular. I think a lot of work is waiting for the MTA to ensure the safety and the convenience of the blind passengers. The MTA has its own special programs for the blind such as the Paratransit service and the reduced fair. It is true that the MTA is renovating stuff here and there. We appreciate the accessibility of the MTA website. We notice the introduction of some new trains using a clear sound system to speak the name of the stops. What about the trains that don’t have those sound systems yet?

It’s understandable that those issues take long and they usually cost a lot of money. Currently, a train conductor is responsible for announcing the different stops to the passengers. I will take A, B, C, and D trains as examples for this case. I am just wondering (are the conductors well-trained?) (Are they qualified for the job?) (Is there any kind of monitoring for their work?) (Does the MTA make sure that the speakers on those trains are really working?)

Unfortunately, most of the time the conductors either’ are mumbling so you don’t hear what they are saying, or they speak too loud to understand them. Of course for a blind person, this means missing stops, or taking wrong trains without knowing especially when 2 different trains come on the same track.

On the platforms, you hear the recorded announcement says something like this “the next train is now arriving on the express/local track” so which train? You never know. They casually announce which train is coming but it is not always the case. It is also sometimes done while the trains are arriving with their loud noise so nobody can hear what is being said. It is so stressful for a blind person to wait without knowing which train is arriving. Then, he / she has to get on the train to ask the passenger which is which; most of the time he / she doesn’t get an answer because people are not paying attention and some conductors don’t perform their job professionally, or because nobody announces on the platform. This is unsafe particularly when doors are closing, and it may delay the movement of the trains themselves. It is a critical issue for blind people who take such trains specially when it is night time and trains are already less frequent and everybody wants to go home before it really gets late and unsafe to travel. The MTA should assume the responsibility to ensure safety and convenience for all the passengers, particularly, the people with disability. I understand that things take time but when it comes to the safety of your citizens or residence, it is a different story. I myself can’t tolerate somebody who doesn’t want to perform his / her job efficiently.

In addition, when there is a service change, most of the time there is no sign to tell. Even if there is a sign, rarely somebody announces this change for a blind person to know. For example, when a d train, which is an express train, runs on the local track, or when a c train, which is local train, runs on the express track. It is a puzzle even for the sighted person to figure things out so what do you want a blind person to do!