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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Describing Things to Blind People

How can you describe things to people who have been blind since birth? For example, how would you describe to your best friend, who has been blind since birth, a beautiful sunset that you have just encountered? How could you dscribe colors when they have never seen any in their life? Come on in and help me learn how to.

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Re: Describing Things to Blind People

If someone has been born blind you wont be able to describe things like colors since they have never seen them. Perhaps though colors might be understood by smells, taste or touch senses.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

The sunset is the color of warmth.
The flowers smell of a sweet fragrance you can imagine the beauty as you feel the smooth petal. What would it be like to be able to see? It is like music playing a most beautiful symphony and dancing in the cool breeze. Feelings that God gifted to some and not to others. All human beings have feelings.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

9 . Re: Describing Things to Blind People
Posted by djb39 on 06/07/2006

Well djb39 you raise a good point regarding computers and the blind. I guess I would start by trying to describe what a computer does. Then lead to how the screen works as an electronic page. Words and pictures appear depending on what channel like a tv you are on.

The thing I would find it most difficult to help a blind person understand the visual is in the area of color. If all you know is sound and touch in a black (visionless) world then how do you describe the color red for example?

Do any blind people have answers on this?

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

It is a real challenge trying to describe what vision with two eyes is like compared to just one.

To the person with just one eye, a picture would appear to have the same depth of distance to what they are seeing with just one eye.

The best answer I can come up with is this:

Lay out 3 objects on the table in front of you and make one close, one far away and the other in the middle.

You can tell which one is furthest away by how far you have to reach to grab it. So with two eyes you can tell this by just looking and seeing depth of distance, it is something your brain figures out.

I am very thankful for my two eyes and feel those who are blind or don't have good vision.


Re:Describing Things to Blind People

I have always wondered what it is like to see out of 2 eyes

I was born blind in one eye and other eye is being watched now cuz of dx

Anyone here loose sight of one eye after being able to see out of both eyes?

What is it like?

Can you explain what it is like to have 2 eyes and now one?

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

The reason why you can persieve an object or physical matter in general is because it exists in terms of vibrational energy and each of your senses (touch, taste, smell, sound) are built in your body to detect differnt ranges of the vibrations physical matter is made of- through your hands and skin, ears, nose and mouth.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

Hello im a student at Baccalaureate School for Global Education, in New york. I need to do an interview with a blind person for an english project in which i chose to research on a blind person's from birth unique experience of reality. If you know any1 please contact me at
thank yous people

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

sometimes poetry can help, because u can just use feelings to describe that, or for the sunset ask them what they think it looks like and i know that seems weird but in a bizzare way it makes sense because that way they see something we don't

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

I would best describe a sunset like:
As the star of Phoebus descends, it turns all that it touches a glorious shade of crimson...

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

"seeing" as I would descibe it directly to a blind person would be. "You know how you are aware of the world around you by warmth texture, smell and sound (echo from a source or incident from the object)? and you also are aware only of the object when you touch it feel it, smell it or hear it? Well, I have an extra sense where I can sense it without having to do any of those things.

The reason why you can persieve an object or physical matter in general is because it exists in terms of vibrational energy and each of your senses (touch, taste, smell, sound) are built in your body to detect differnt ranges of the vibrations physical matter is made of- through your hands and skin, ears, nose and mouth.

When you can 'see' you can merely perceive what is called light. Light is similar to sound because some things create light like fire which is like an earthquake creates an audible rumble and others just reflect it like an echo off a cliff or a wall.

Also like sound, light can be sensed at great distances like a car in the distance. you can't touch it taste it or smell it or interact with it but you know its there.

the benefits to being able to perceive light is that you can sense literally everything that is in front of you all at once unless there is a something in front of a smaller object blocking it. Although, the cool thing about light is with lenses and optical fibres we can distort and bend light so we can do miraculous things with it." -

When you think about seeing in this sense comparing it to sounds, feelings smells etc it becomes easier to describe. explaining Bad Eyesight is like describing sensing a sharp edge of a knife that will cut you as soft when you touch it but it still cuts. and a kaleidoscope is similiar to hearing a sound through a wall or under water.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

My sister went blind at the age of five. We'd stand at the bedroom window and she'd get me to tell her what I saw. I'd describe to her the houses across the street, the little patch of grass next to the path, the gate with its rotten hinges, forever wedged open, that Dad was always going to fix. She'd stand there quiet for a moment. I thought she was trying to develop the images in her own head. Then she'd say:

"I can see little twinkly stars, like Christmas tree lights in far away windows. Rings of brightly colored rocks floating around orange and mustard planets. I can see huge tiger-striped fishes chasing tiny blue and yellow dashes, all tails and fins and bubbles."

I'd look at the grey house across the street, and close the curtains.

On her thirteenth birthday she fell down the well in our aunt's garden and broke her head. On her recovery her sight had returned. A fluke of nature, everyone said. That's when she said she'd never blink again. I would tell her when she started at me with her eyes wide and watery, that they reminded me of the well she fell into. She liked this, it made her laugh.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

Well one way for blinde people to use the computer is to use a screen reader such as JAWS. You can go to and check it out. You may have to copy and paste the url into the address bar.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

I am working on developing a piano instructional for the visually impaired for a company called Talkingtabs. I am researching how to describe the piano keyboard, any insight would be greatly appreciated. thanks, bethum

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

hey you name is Raghda Bassyouni. im 15 years old and im in 8th grade. Im a student in the american school in doing a research about blindness and one of the things we need to have is a personal my case i have to have an interview with a blind please if anybody knows someone who is blind and has a braille computer (so i can send him or her my questions) and wont get offended by me asking himh or her questions about his or her condition i would be grateful....thank you

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

How do you describe something like a computer screen to a blind person? I have a friend who is blind and wants to learn about computers. How can i describe it to her.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

Eye is not only resource for knowledge
Blind person cane knows many distinguishes about many things as you describe it for him carefully.
Blind person has rich imagination help him in perception many things that he do not see its
There are many blind poetry describe sunrise or sunset better than sighted persons.
I see there is no problem at all to speak with any blind person about colors or nature even the the stars in the sky .

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

Re:Describing Things to Blind People
Originally Posted by craftykaren47 on 05/03/2004

I have a dear friend and her mom they were blind since birth, and they use theses magnifiers to use to read with and there isn't any type of insurance to help them get them, and I was wondering if anyone knew where they could get help on getting the things they need. They don't have alot of money and I know there is something out there that can help them out. thank you a concerned friend Karen

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

I have a brother who is blind since birth. and we describe things to him using a clock. say something in in front of hiom we say 12 o'clock. We also stell him what is on either side of him.
He doesn't really know what it is like to be blind. he grew up in i sighted world, so he doesn't know what is really is like to be blind. He just thinks that it is not being able to see. but there is a whole lot more to it.
I hope thins helps some one. we never describe anything to him tht would make you think of color.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

My boyfriend has been blind since birth. He's 22 now and we have been told scientist are still working on a cure.
It's not easy describing things to him, and some things can't really be discribed. Like when people say to put their hands in worm water they would get a sense of what red is like, and cold for blue. That is terribly wrong. There is no way to describe colors to a person that has been blind sinse birth.
If you want to describe a sunset you have to think of something that feels like a sunset. Maybe like a hug. I told my boyfriend a sunset gives you a warm feeling. The same feeling we get when we hug each other firmly. It gives you a very warm and relaxed feeling.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

My dad has an online friend with with a daughter that was born blind. I spoke to her on the phone a few times(not knowing at first that she was blind, funny story there).

Anyway one time I told her if she ever wanted to see the stars, she should put her hand out when it's raining and feel the little points fall down on her palms. Because rain falls so quickly it can also have the effect of 'twinkling'.

I'm not blind myself and have only met a blind person once in my life, but thanks to a lot of reading I know to 'behave' myself(I hope!).

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

Well, I'm not sure how you'd describe things like the sunset, but what I do when people talk about colours is think of things I can feel. For example, if someone uses the colour red in some description, I think of something hot, like the stove. When someone describes something using the colour blue, I think of the sky or water.

Hope this helps.

Re:Describing Things to Blind People

are there places that train people how to describe things accurately? In the New York City vicinity?

Describing visual information

There are a couple of ways to look at this.

One is how to give a useful description. A good resource to check out would be WGBH's Descriptive Video service - their home page can be found at They use narrators to describe visual information on videos and some TV shows. They have a sample clip on their page.

The other is how to give a description that shares with a friend or someone who is important to you what the visual experience means to you personally. This will differ from person to person as such experiences are subjective. Think of all the things that are wonderful or beautiful to you that are not visual - music, sound, a wonderful meal, the feel of the ocean on your bare feet, etc. and find the closest non-visual experience.

I have a friend totally blind from birth who wanted to know what a kaleidoscope was, as people kept trying to tell her about them, but their explanations made no sense. I thought about an interesting object she owned that was sort of round and was filled with some kind of mysterious objects that made a beautiful and varied batch of sounds if you tapped it and held it up to your ear. When I told her that that was how a kaleidoscope worked, she could understand the idea.

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