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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Help for my project centered around "seeing" with other senses?

Hey everyone!

I'm not visually impaired nor do I know anyone visually impaired, so I'm here with a question regarding my university project if you wouldn't mind giving me some insight. I study games art and I am really interested in portraying other ways of "seeing" than eyesight in games and animation. For my third year animation project I wish to explore something like in the game Beyond Eyes, which is a game about a blind girl who imagines the world around her as she moves around hearing, touching and smelling things. Here's a picture to show what the game looks like:

For my animation I want to have a music box which music brings the main character's world to life, as he imagines a fantastic world around him inspired by the music even though he is unable to see it with his own eyes, and whether the world around him really is how he imagines is quite irrelevant in the end as it is more about how the music empowers him and brings colors and sounds to his life.

First of all, I'd love to have a character or item in the music box that symbolises blindness in some way, and after googling the only symbols I came across were pretty much a cane and an eye. Are there any other symbols that could symbolise blindness? Like certain animals or items?

Secondly I would love to hear some general insight on how you, who have much more information on the subject than I, experience "seeing" the world with your other senses. Do you perhaps know some material online that I could view about how a blind or visually impaired person explores the world around them? Or personal experiences? I also want my project to bring awareness to how healing and empowering music can be, so if you have any personal insight on this I would love to hear about it.

I would never want to offend anyone with this piece and my idea stems from genuine curiosity and interest towards this topic, so please also tell me if I am being offensive in some way.

Thank you for your time!

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Visual Boards

Does anyone have advice on how to have a visually impaired person join in a group project with sighted people. The project is creating a visual board.

Re: Help for my project centered around "seeing" with other senses?

Thank you for the reply!

I will do as you suggested and try to get to know blind or otherwise visually impaired people around me, and reconsider my idea as well. As I said, I don't want to be disrespectful in any way, and that is why I brought my questions here before starting the creation process, rather than making anything based on assumption and second- or third-hand knowledge. I've taken a look at the other messages and the replies to them in the forum and I can completely understand where you're coming from, and why you're hesitant to encourage people to write about blind characters.

Perhaps I should shift the focus of my project to the healing power of music completely since that is something I have first-hand experience of, and which is easier and more practical for me to explore personally. I'll need to think about it a bit more.

please stick to elves and gnomes or please get to know real life humans who happen to be blind

There have been several messages on this board recently by authors wishing to create blind fantasy characters.
These characters seem to be blind first with any other personality traits eclipsed by the emotional fun of creating a blind character.
Creating fantasy characters such as gnomes, elves, faeries, goblins and trolls assumes these beings don't exist in real life. You have a free hand as a creator.
When you create a fantasy character human being with a physical disability, to me it seems courteous of you to get to know real life people who are blind.
If you wrote about teenage boys without ever having been around any, it certainly would be a fantasy.
If I wrote about a blinded Iraq veteran without knowing any blinded veterans it would be arrogant of me.
Please honor the real life human beings you create by getting to know us as people rather than as disabilities who happen to be people.
There are probably blind students at your college or studying nearby you can get to know, sit with during meals and talk to.
You can perhaps volunteer at a agency for the blind in your area or volunteer at your college's Center for Disabilities.
If you never met a two year old, it would be next to impossible for you to write a story about a toddler.
In that case, you would perhaps help out at a day care center or baby sit.
If you never met a woman and only knew men, your women characters would be fantasies rather than true to life living women.
If you only knew people under forty, you probably would have trouble writing about a ninety-year-old.
So I suggest you find the blind people at your college and get to know them.
This will require you to actually do something, make social contacts and expand your social skills.
Otherwise you may as well do what I suggested those other budding authors do and write about fantasy creatures -- elves, gnomes, goblins, faeries, pixies.
Getting the character of a pixie wrong won't actually harm any pixies as far as I know.
Writing silliness about blind people is, well, silly.
It is also profoundly disrespectful. We simply cannot give you the kind of information over the internet that you need to make a character authentic. Autobiographies may help. Firsthand social interaction is what you need, as a budding author.
Steinbeck lived with the people he wrote about in Grapes of Wrath.
Hemingway had a firsthand version of war, not some fantasy as his writing background.
Great writers respect their creations and do the hard leg work necessary to be, well, good writers.
Your ideas sound confusing. You may know what you want but, to me as a blind person, it really does sound like fantasy.
I truly suggest you either do a lot of learning or stick to elves and gnomes.

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