living with blindness

LIVING WITH BLINDNESS

Experiences, thoughts, tips, and tricks to share with the visually impaired community.


 

Blindness has always been known as one of the hardest challenges a person could ever face. It has been a long journey towards making the world more accessible. I believe blindness has many advantages even if it has big and hard challenges. There are some particulars of living with blindness that sometimes even I get surprised about because they exceed what meets the eye.

As a person living with blindness, the most important principle is to have a great attitude towards life, being that I’ve never considered blindness an obstacle to keep moving forward. I have many tips when it comes to making my life easier, finding the way through some adventures and challenges living with blindness. Here are some of my favorite or most useful ones:

I’m a very organized person and this helps to know where my things are, to know where I could have left something when misplaced. I also try to be very organized so I know what’s around me. I use many assistive technology aids and devices, such as, the Sunu Band, VoiceOver screen reader for my computer and phone, and other Apps that give me more independence in my daily tasks.

Last, but not least, lack of sight doesn’t mean lack of vision.  

In today’s entry, I will be sharing with you my thoughts on assistive technology and how I make use of it.

Assistive technology has gotten better with the passing of time. When I was a child I used Braille to read, write and label my things. At that time, assistive technology was giving its first, but big steps. My first device was the Braillenote, a computer with a Braille display and voice feedback. It had the basics of any computer system. Many academic issues were solved when I started using this computer. I navigated into the tech world while getting older. I used Jaws for many years, this is one of the most known screen readers for the blind. I started using Voice Over when I started university, it was a life-changer for me. Many visual things started to become accessible and I was able to gather more information about academic topics, personal interests, and even mobility.

Marcela is in front of the door, holding the doorknob with the right hand with the Sunuband on her wrist and with her left hand she is holding her guide dog’s harness. Her guide dog, Fitgy, is a golden retriever.Mobility has always been one of the hardest challenges a blind person has to go through in order to have independence, each one in their own way. I learned orientation and mobility with the cane when  I was about seven years old. Then, I became a guide dog user when I turned 19. There are many amazing things about both tools, but one of the toughest cons of being a guide dog user is that your dog will eventually retire and there is no exact date for this. When I started to notice that Fitgy, my guide dog, wasn't working as great as I knew she could, I started to realize and tried to understand in my own way that her retirement was around the corner. It was at this exact moment when I found Sunu.

When I first touched the Sunu Band I was somehow amazed about it and with many questions on my mind. How will this device help me? How am I supposed to use it? Will I be able to learn this new orientation and mobility language?

It was very confusing at first, I must admit it took me practice and the desire to learn in order to understand all that the Sunu Band could give and add to my mobility. One of my first impressions was that it had a very friendly look, very comfortable and it is a device that has never made me feel disabled. On the contrary, it makes me feel capable of moving around with more independence and security.

I had to train myself how to understand this new language and how to differentiate between vibrations and situations. I can surely say it was a very interesting journey. It wasn’t difficult at all, it just took me bravery and learned how to be more confident in myself. 

 

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