Skype: a Different World for the Blind

All of us know what Skype is. It is a very well-known internet telephony program for internet calls and cheap phone calls and SMS. You can use both video and audio to make free internet calls through PCs. I myself remember that I used the very early versions of Skype when we had to reinter the contacts every time after formatting our computer.

Skype for the blind is more than just making calls. Skype is a whole community to connect the blind individuals all over the world. It is a platform for education, entertainment, socialization, knowing new people, and even dating. As for education, blind Skype users were able to use the conferencing program features to give educational lectures, share information about latest technologies, or teach foreign languages. The listeners to the lecture can ask questions and give comment if needed, and they also can record the session for future usage or re-sharing through the internet. I can’t forget that lady who voluntarily helped me study geometry for an international exam on Skype, and save the cost of hiring a paid teacher to do the job.
Concerning the entertainment, sharing music composition, singing, poetry reading, exchanging recorded radio programs and shows are some of the top entertainment activities done using Skype audio conferencing features.
Once, a sighted friend of mine told me “you know all the blind people all over the world because of Skype.” Although she was exaggerating, she made it clear that Skype is a wonderful tool for the blind individuals to socialize and meet new people. Because of mobility limitation, travel costs, or being overseas, it is difficult to connect those friends together; however, they can talk for hours on daily basis. They can share their happy or painful moments and experiences without worrying too much about face to face communication or meeting. With the introduction of the video features, like other individuals, blind users were able to connect with their families overseas. Since Skype is that very successful for socializing and for meeting new people, it is a tool for dating and marriage used to know more the qualities of their potential partners. Many blind people don’t consider too much the physical appearance of their partner, so it is enough to like the voice, or to know the qualities of that partner through extensive conversations before taking more steps forward in the relationship.

For the blind, Skype is more than a program for making calls, it is a mean by which blind users can express their talents, solve a problem, or share information, and connect with more and more people all over the world.

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Establishing Communication with the Blind Baby

Eye contact, facial expressions, and body language play a vital role in the communication between a baby and his mother. In fact, they are so essential in the growth and development phases that the child go through.  But what would be the situation if a baby lacks this essential tool in establishing communication? Let us agree on something, we are dealing with an exceptional situation that needs the mother’s understanding and creativity. Communication with your baby may be really challenging if you don’t give yourself the time and effort to find the best ways to establish this successful connection between you and your blind baby.

The mother may misunderstand the different ways that a blind baby attempts to use to communicate with her. So how does a blind baby communicate?

It is always good to remember that your baby is only blind. He/she can still use his / her senses more effectively to communicate. The more you help him / her maximize the use of his / her other senses, the more confident and independent he / she will be throughout his / her life.

Blind babies establish the physical contact with the mother using other senses such as: the sense of hearing and touch to communicate effectively.

a blind baby may not turn his / her head when he / she hears the voice of his / her mother, but most probably he / she will turn his ear towards the direction of the voice.  This is the way by which this baby expresses his attention.

Massaging and light tickling are some of the ways by which a mother could build a good communication with her blind child

One of the important things that have to be taken into consideration is that the mother should not make any sudden movement or any high sudden sounds.  She has to approach him / her smoothly and quietly. Please note that a sighted child may know that his mother is in the room because he sees her before she talks to him / her.

Another point to be mentioned is that a sighted baby may be attracted to strangers because of the colors they wear or through their smiles; however, meeting strangers for a blind baby may be a bit uncomfortable because he or she is introduced to an unfamiliar voices or smells. The mother should not push her blind baby to communicate with strangers. She should introduce her blind child to strangers slowly

The baby should hear the stranger’s voices while being with his mother, then the stranger should try to start the physical contact with the child gradually. Then the mother can slowly give the child to this stranger in order to establish             a successful communication.