As you can imagine, it's not always easy being blind. It's worth noting that many people cope with blindness incredibly well and while vision may be our "dominant sense," their other senses can combine to somewhat Things make up for its loss.
In fact, most blind people will say "it's not better or worse being blind, it's just different."
However, there are things which make being blind harder to deal with and most of those things could be eliminated with just a little thought from the sighted population. Here are 14 things you won't believe that blind people still have to deal with in today's world.
1. Posters In Bathrooms Are A Nightmare
If you can read the poster, you know if it means the lavatory is out of order or whether there's a new band in town. If you can't read it, you have no clue.
2. ATMs Are A Hassle
Braille buttons are a nice start, but if the ATM doesn't speak to a blind person, they still can't read what's on screen - making the buttons useless.
3. Say Goodbye To Most Of The Internet
It's not that there aren't software readers that speak text out loud, it's that they don't work very well with a hundred million different web designs. This makes much of the Internet completely inaccessible to those without sight.
4. Topping Off Drinks
If you can see, then adding a little extra hot water to your coffee is simple. If you can't, you may end up pouring that water all over your feet. This means that blind people need to concentrate hard when making drinks and they wouldn't mind if you didn't distract them while they do it.
5. New Concepts Of Color
Blind people understand color via concept rather than experience. So, for example, they might relate "blue" to "water" or "deep crimson" to "fire." This helps them share the understanding of color in everyday conversation.
6. Unwrapping Stuff Can Be Challenging
Shrinkwrap can be a real pain when you can't see how much of it there is, and tamperproof child seals on bottles are an absolute nightmare to open.
7. Not Everyone Reads Braille
In fact, thanks to a lack of funding, there are growing numbers of blind people who cannot read braille. This effectively leaves them functionally illiterate.
8. Low Expectations Can Be Self-Fulfilling
It's important to not have low expectations of the blind. For many years, this led to blind people being shoved into low skill, poorly paid work when they were capable of so much more. It doesn't mean a blind person can do everything with ease, but setting a low bar can be demeaning and defeating.
9. New Places Are Hard
Learning to navigate somewhere can be really overwhelming. It is often much easier for a blind person to go somewhere new if they have a sighted companion who can help guide them through the familiarization process.
10. You Need A Huge Memory
To be able to get around a city, a blind person needs to be able to construct a mental map of where they're going. They have to do this for every single place they go, too. It's a huge feat of mental capability.
11. Product Labeling Isn't Good
Those stickers may be really handy for supermarkets, but they're really easy to miss when you're trying to eat fruit and you can't see the stickers. They don't taste great.
12. Being Condescended To
When asked, a blind person said the hardest thing about blindness was "getting people to move beyond their own preconceived notions and expectations of a blind person … [condescension] is something I experience pretty frequently. Often I find that people expect me to have much more limited capabilities, due to my blindness."
13. Cash Handling Is Hard
Telling the difference between $1 and $100 becomes really tricky when you have vision problems. This is particularly true when some cashiers are only too happy to cheat you if you ask for help.
14. Blind People "See" Darkness
Blindness is not always the absence of eyes. You can retain 10% of your vision and still be legally blind. Some blind people see colors and light as well as a sighted person, they just can't make out detail.
We were really surprised to learn some of this. It seems really obvious now. We're going to try and do our bit not to contribute to day-to-day issues facing the blind. We hope you'll do the same.
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