Being blind is a learning process not only for the blind themselves, but also for family members and those who live in the same household. To the newly blind, home takes on the aspect of a fortress of safety and learning arena. Everything that could be normally done by a person having the gift of sight, has to be learned all over again, from walking to personal hygiene, including the advanced skills like reading, writing, and cooking. Also, it becomes difficult for the people with reduced vision to do their daily household tasks. There is a wide range of commercially available equipment which might easily benefit the blind or the people with reduced vision.
Various visibility aids which might make an easy living for the visually impaired or blind includes glasses, magnifiers, writing equipment, household, braille and moon, text to speech scanners, braille labels on household objects for easy identification, tactile face or spoken output clocks and watches, telephones with large buttons or with a system of spoken announcement of numbers, and a proper cane of adequate height and strength.
Moving Around the House when Blind
To gain some insight into the initial needs of a blind person entering the household, close your eyes and try to navigate your way across the room. Then, repeat this in all the areas of the home that are most likely to be frequented by the blind individual. This will give you an idea if something is in need of adjustment. Patience is truly a virtue when dealing with the blind. Everything they do is as if for the very first time. Granted, time and practice do bring comfort and ease of movement.
Some aids can be introduced into the home to assist a blind person fall more into the area of peace of mind. A really great aid is a talking clock. The desire to know the time of day when you cannot see must not be ignored. Most household aids for the blind or visually impaired can be looked at in two categories, those concerning safety and the others aiding in comfort.
The safety aids like closing the cabinets, leaving doors either closed or open, removing protrusions at head level are very important in aiding to the mobility of the blind. Before learning to use a cane, the blind tend to feel around at the level of chest to shoulder height to aid them in navigation, hence, leaving their face exposed to objects protruding at that level is a risky deal. This becomes even more important as they learn and rely more on their cane.
As the person “matures” in their blindness or visual impairment, the need for constant vigilance comparatively reduces. Learning to read Braille enables easier marking of objects and the level of confidence gained by that person will enable almost flawless integration into the household.
Sticky Bump Dots for the Blind
Providing a means of identification, while discerning the difference between a tube of toothpaste and a tube of hemorrhoid ointment, is as simple as a glance for the sighted person. Not so for the blind or visually impaired. The same is true for many other common household items.
One of the best yet simplest blind aids available is simple self-stick bump dots. Apply the bump dots to a given item in a pattern or placement location on an item and it can be easily recognized when picked up. Simple steps like this allow the blind or visually impaired to regain some sense of independence. Also, it keeps the likelihood of accidental or harmful use to a minimum. The use of bump dots can go from the basics of identifying cosmetics to allowing proper use of things like a microwave and even washer and dryer. The use of these is only limited by the creativity used to implement the bump dots.
There is no real need to alter or apply aids to most household functions for example, light switches, doorknobs and steps. The mind’s “muscle memory” aspect kicks in fairly quickly and reaching for these common things remains like second nature. Certain set dimensions are standard in the home building industry. Also, the cabinets, countertops, vanities, medicine cabinets and even toilets tend to follow common placement rules.
Necessary workplace changes for the blind and visually impaired.
Necessary adjustments or changes in the work environment of a blind and visually impaired individual might enable the person with the above mentioned disabilities to perform the duties in an easy way.
Reduce the glare and adjust the lighting, provide voice email messages instead of handwritten notes, the desktop and laptop computers must be enabled with the screen reading and screen magnification software. Talking devices like talking calipers, tape measures, calculators, and thermometers must be introduced in the office environment for the visually impaired people.
The blind people are also in need of certain mobility aids to reach the workplace or to carry on other outdoor tasks. Mobility aids for the blind include long canes, dog guides, electronic travel aids, talking mobile phone GPS, and carpooling options.
So far, The most common mobility aid is the white cane. It is designed to be one step ahead of its user and detects obstacles, hazards, ground level changes, and stairs. Moreover the white cane is a recognized symbol of visual impairment or blindness, and it is particularly useful at road crossings, crowded areas and bus stops as it alerts the drivers about the person’s reduced or absent sight. Nowadays, a newer concept of laser cane or electronic cane is in trend and it easily detects the obstacles, drop offs, and similar hazards in the surroundings and produce specific audio signals. The audio signal informs the disabled person about the distance of the obstacle or the height of the drop off.
That is to say, we must understand that the people with blindness, or visual impairment disability, have equal right to achieve their full potential. Most of the visually impaired and blind children and adults are denied the opportunity to participate in the educational and professional mainstream. We must initiate a campaign for the change in attitudes of communities, school, and Governments and advocate an overall social inclusion of the visually disabled patients and work collectively for the rehabilitation, inclusive education, and the employment opportunities for such people.