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for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Feedback for Student Research Project

We're a group of undergraduate students interested in making it safer and easier for visually impaired individuals to move to and from places.

We'd love to have your feedback and opinions on current navigational tools (like canes and guide dogs) to better understand the problems you face on a daily basis. Please see below for a link to our survey.

Thanks so much!

https://goo.gl/iPLbe8


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Re: Feedback for Student Research Project



I know I posted this twice. I am hunting around for where to delete messages and will get rid of the second post as soon as I find out where to do that.
Good luck with your research and with whatever you choose to create as a project, from that research. Doing the research well will teach you much. AFB has a section on this site with statistics about legally blind people. You may find them interesting, particularly when you think about the underlying social information embedded in those statistics. Please keep asking questions. If you ask on this board, blind and low vision folks will give you valuable insights.


feedback for any researcher



I am writing you with the survey responses using the message board. This way, other blind and low vision folks can comment on what I say in a public way. Lots of would-be researchers write to these boards. When I respond to them, I do my best to explain that:
First, the researcher is designing for "people" who happen to lack a little or a lot of vision, or have none at all. They are "people" first rather than "the blind".
That way, the researcher understands that there are as many different kinds of blind people as therr are of any other kind of people.
Some are successful getting around, while others are not. The degree of success has far less to do with the actual amount of sight than it does with other things.
Motivation plays a part. So does good training. So does the will to practice mobility techniques.
No tool works well unless you learn how to use it.
There are people who are effective cane users and others who are not. There are people who do well in partnership with a guide dog and others for whom that will never work well.
Personality plays a role. Family and friends may play a role.
Nothing you design is going to "take the place" of a dog or cane. Rather, a device may make travel easier. (Think of iOS iPhone apps such as Blind Square or the Seeing Eye GPS). These are wonderful tools. Nothing takes the place of good mobility training and the will to practice using that training.
Think of it, perhaps, the way you think about driving. You take driving classes but learn to drive by years of experience.
You gain confidence. You drive in real-life situations and so forth.
Before we begin, I want to give you some feedback about your survey.
The questions you ask seem to assume a few things. Forgive me if I am incorrect about what you are assuming. But here goes.
First, lack of vision itself is probably not the primary reason folks have trouble getting around. I know this may be difficult for a sighted person to comprehend, but I suspect it is true. The fact is, courage and the willingness to learn good travel techniques are the keys to good mobility for people with low vision or who are blind.
I know plenty of people with various degrees of "legal blindness", all the way from being able to see a lot to inability to see light or shadows. Their ability to travel independently has more to do with their individual spirit and personal initiative than it does with their actual sight.
So, if you see fellow students harrassing a disabled person, put a stop to it. Please ask somebody if he or she needs help before jumping in and doing what you think needs doing. Please give us the courtesy of believing us about what is, (and is not), appropriate in a particular time and place. These things are all so individualistic.
Now for your survey questions.
On a scale of 1-5, how difficult do you think everyday life is for someone who is
visually impaired?
It depends on the person. It depends on how much training the person has had. It depends on how courageous the individual person is. It depends on what kind of support the person has from family and friends.
Lack of vision is NOT the driving factor, even though you, as a sighted person, are sure it is.
There are totally blind people, for example, who do much better in life than do folks who are "legally blind" with a fair amount of vision. Sight itself is only one factor in how well an individual does.
There are lots of different kinds of vision loss, too. A person with, say, "tunnel vision" has a different experience getting around compared with a person who may be able to see less but see things differently.
In short, once you stop talking about total blindness, each person's visual experience differs from another person's visual experience.
Please please remember this when thinking about low vision.
What is the single most difficult task for a visually impaired individual to accomplish?
Again, the answer depends upon the individual.
If a blind person who cannot see the printed material in his or her life well enough to read it refuses to learn braille or finds braille too difficult to learn, his or her access to books will not include brailled materials. Her toolkit will be poorer than the person's is who decides to learn braille.
As far as the chores go, blind and low vision people need to learn how to keep up where they live and how to cook for themselves unless they don't plan to ever do the laundry or plan to always eat out. If you understand what I mean, I am saying blind and low vision people end up caring for themselves just as sighted people do, unless you find somebody else to do your laundry or cook for you, I guess.
On a scale of 1-5, how effective do you think each tool is for the visually impaired?
Some people use dogs well. Some use canes well. A lot use neither well. Some blind and low vision people depend solely on family, spouses, friends and so forth to get around. This dependency puts strain on their relationships and the lack of independence tends to keep them isolated and depressed. Then, of course, what if you depend on somebody to walk you from here to their and the person dies, gets sick, divorces you etc. Basically, if you don't know how to travel independently, you are placing yourself at risk, in my opinion.
Nothing is effective if you don't know what you are doing. Lots of blind and low vision people get some training using a cane and then don't go anywhere on their own, don't practice and so do poorly using a cane. There are too many social reasons for this to go into here but fear is a big part of it.
Family is fearful of letting poor little Mary out on her own and so Mary is overprotected and never learns how to get around by herself.
If Mary used to see and still has some backbone she may struggle against this and get out and learn how to do things. But it is a big emotional struggle handling this kind of smothering from family and friends.
Most blind and low vision folks use canes, if they travel independently at all. Partnering with a guide dog works very very well if the human part of the partnership has the kind of personality to work well with a dog.
There are lots and lots of things which go into whether a guide dog is right for a particular person, too much to get into here.
I don't think cost is really the factor which decides a person on working with a dog rather than using a cane. Others may agree or disagree.
Dog training is no substitute for good mobility skills using a cane. It is good dog training. Again, it requires practice once the training is complete and requires committing yourself to the care of another being who, in turn, cares for you. When done well, the partnerships are extraordinary and the results are more amazing than I can ever describe in a few words.
As for human assistance, sure it works. However, nobody is going to walk you everywhere you want to go unless you don't want to do much. Sooner or later, your sighted husband will be working and you will want to get to a possible job interview, class or go to work or to do something else. So independent travel or lack of it has impact on the life of a blind or low vision person.
Now to affordability of travel tools.
Canes can be had for free from some places or cost around thirty dollars in the United States. Dog schools generally charge a small fee which never covers the cost of training either the dog or person and the schools get charitable donations to cover costs.
As for confidence, people who can get around well have more confidence, in general, than people who cannot. This is probably true whether you are blind or sighted. If you have more control over your life, you tend to have more confidence you can get on well with life.
No wearable device "replaces" using a dog or a cane. "Wearable drvices" such as GPS apps on Apple iOS, BrainPort or anything else augment rather than replace using a cane or a dog.
Low Vision and Blindness-related products c


feedback for any researcher



I am writing you with the survey responses using the message board. This way, other blind and low vision folks can comment on what I say in a public way. Lots of would-be researchers write to these boards. When I respond to them, I do my best to explain that:
First, the researcher is designing for "people" who happen to lack a little or a lot of vision, or have none at all. They are "people" first rather than "the blind".
That way, the researcher understands that there are as many different kinds of blind people as therr are of any other kind of people.
Some are successful getting around, while others are not. The degree of success has far less to do with the actual amount of sight than it does with other things.
Motivation plays a part. So does good training. So does the will to practice mobility techniques.
No tool works well unless you learn how to use it.
There are people who are effective cane users and others who are not. There are people who do well in partnership with a guide dog and others for whom that will never work well.
Personality plays a role. Family and friends may play a role.
Nothing you design is going to "take the place" of a dog or cane. Rather, a device may make travel easier. (Think of iOS iPhone apps such as Blind Square or the Seeing Eye GPS). These are wonderful tools. Nothing takes the place of good mobility training and the will to practice using that training.
Think of it, perhaps, the way you think about driving. You take driving classes but learn to drive by years of experience.
You gain confidence. You drive in real-life situations and so forth.
Before we begin, I want to give you some feedback about your survey.
The questions you ask seem to assume a few things. Forgive me if I am incorrect about what you are assuming. But here goes.
First, lack of vision itself is probably not the primary reason folks have trouble getting around. I know this may be difficult for a sighted person to comprehend, but I suspect it is true. The fact is, courage and the willingness to learn good travel techniques are the keys to good mobility for people with low vision or who are blind.
I know plenty of people with various degrees of "legal blindness", all the way from being able to see a lot to inability to see light or shadows. Their ability to travel independently has more to do with their individual spirit and personal initiative than it does with their actual sight.
So, if you see fellow students harrassing a disabled person, put a stop to it. Please ask somebody if he or she needs help before jumping in and doing what you think needs doing. Please give us the courtesy of believing us about what is, (and is not), appropriate in a particular time and place. These things are all so individualistic.
Now for your survey questions.
On a scale of 1-5, how difficult do you think everyday life is for someone who is
visually impaired?
It depends on the person. It depends on how much training the person has had. It depends on how courageous the individual person is. It depends on what kind of support the person has from family and friends.
Lack of vision is NOT the driving factor, even though you, as a sighted person, are sure it is.
There are totally blind people, for example, who do much better in life than do folks who are "legally blind" with a fair amount of vision. Sight itself is only one factor in how well an individual does.
There are lots of different kinds of vision loss, too. A person with, say, "tunnel vision" has a different experience getting around compared with a person who may be able to see less but see things differently.
In short, once you stop talking about total blindness, each person's visual experience differs from another person's visual experience.
Please please remember this when thinking about low vision.
What is the single most difficult task for a visually impaired individual to accomplish?
Again, the answer depends upon the individual.
If a blind person who cannot see the printed material in his or her life well enough to read it refuses to learn braille or finds braille too difficult to learn, his or her access to books will not include brailled materials. Her toolkit will be poorer than the person's is who decides to learn braille.
As far as the chores go, blind and low vision people need to learn how to keep up where they live and how to cook for themselves unless they don't plan to ever do the laundry or plan to always eat out. If you understand what I mean, I am saying blind and low vision people end up caring for themselves just as sighted people do, unless you find somebody else to do your laundry or cook for you, I guess.
On a scale of 1-5, how effective do you think each tool is for the visually impaired?
Some people use dogs well. Some use canes well. A lot use neither well. Some blind and low vision people depend solely on family, spouses, friends and so forth to get around. This dependency puts strain on their relationships and the lack of independence tends to keep them isolated and depressed. Then, of course, what if you depend on somebody to walk you from here to their and the person dies, gets sick, divorces you etc. Basically, if you don't know how to travel independently, you are placing yourself at risk, in my opinion.
Nothing is effective if you don't know what you are doing. Lots of blind and low vision people get some training using a cane and then don't go anywhere on their own, don't practice and so do poorly using a cane. There are too many social reasons for this to go into here but fear is a big part of it.
Family is fearful of letting poor little Mary out on her own and so Mary is overprotected and never learns how to get around by herself.
If Mary used to see and still has some backbone she may struggle against this and get out and learn how to do things. But it is a big emotional struggle handling this kind of smothering from family and friends.
Most blind and low vision folks use canes, if they travel independently at all. Partnering with a guide dog works very very well if the human part of the partnership has the kind of personality to work well with a dog.
There are lots and lots of things which go into whether a guide dog is right for a particular person, too much to get into here.
I don't think cost is really the factor which decides a person on working with a dog rather than using a cane. Others may agree or disagree.
Dog training is no substitute for good mobility skills using a cane. It is good dog training. Again, it requires practice once the training is complete and requires committing yourself to the care of another being who, in turn, cares for you. When done well, the partnerships are extraordinary and the results are more amazing than I can ever describe in a few words.
As for human assistance, sure it works. However, nobody is going to walk you everywhere you want to go unless you don't want to do much. Sooner or later, your sighted husband will be working and you will want to get to a possible job interview, class or go to work or to do something else. So independent travel or lack of it has impact on the life of a blind or low vision person.
Now to affordability of travel tools.
Canes can be had for free from some places or cost around thirty dollars in the United States. Dog schools generally charge a small fee which never covers the cost of training either the dog or person and the schools get charitable donations to cover costs.
As for confidence, people who can get around well have more confidence, in general, than people who cannot. This is probably true whether you are blind or sighted. If you have more control over your life, you tend to have more confidence you can get on well with life.
No wearable device "replaces" using a dog or a cane. "Wearable drvices" such as GPS apps on Apple iOS, BrainPort or anything else augment rather than replace using a cane or a dog.
Low Vision and Blindness-related products c


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