Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Can Blindness Be a Positive Thing?

Going blind? Can there be something positive in going blind?

When I could see, you would have been hard pressed to name any positive things about going blind.

What sort or idiot might see blindness as a positive disability?

I now see the other side of the matter though. Please pardon the expression "see" in this context. I know some sighted people see the word see as a no, no when used in the presence of blind people. But I will use it freely and blow the politically correct.

In personal twerms going blind has taken a lot of pleasures away from me. I don't really see the sunset anymore, its just goes from very bright to black in a few minutes. I used to love to look at the stars at night. It is now about five years since I saw even the brightest star. I see the moon sometimes, when near full but not less than that. I don't see much of my wife these days, just a shadow, that bit is hard, but  she sounds the same when she speaks so it's easy to remember her.

So much for the bad. Let's get to the good.

I find peiople are generally helpful to the blind. Walking down the street with my cane I often find people more than eager to help. It's nice to have help offered even though most of the time it is unnecessary.

I get tio use lots of cool technical equipment. Computer voice synthesis is wonderful these days so screen readers such as Jaws and Non Visual Windows Applicartion (NVDA) make my working life easier as does Dragon Naturally Speaking Software which allows me to dictate directly into a wide variety of computer applications.

Smart phones these days will talk to me and allow me to talk to them. Talking to mty phone is sometimes frustrating living in the United States with a Northern English accent, my phone seems to understand my wife perfectly (American Accent) but me? It can take several attempts to get it to do what I want. Still some of the mistakes are funnier than the frustration.

Often a trip to Starbucks will lead to a complete stranger asking me a question about blindness. I love that to happen. It seems many people are very curious about my experience andthough I do get some strange questions, the chance to educate people is most exciting to me.

A major portion of how we deal with blindness is an internal matter.

If you are inclined to brood and draw away from society then blindness is only going to make things worse.  For me the more blind that I have become the more open to people I have become. I do not concentrate on my own or others image, I can't really tell another persons color or demeanour expect from the tone of a voice, accents tell me a lot but I tend to like what I hear for the main part so I am much more approachable, I think. That is an important part of enjoying life  for everyone, look for the positive, don't trust like a fool but be open.

If you were to ask me qwhat is the best thing about going blind it is people. Not neccessarily doctors or professionals, ordinary people too.

People who want to help, people who ask questions, people who actually speak to me as an individual.

I just love people I guess.

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