Navigating Blind

Today you all got a chance to navigate around the building with a cane while blindfolded. Tell us about your experience. You were a much bolder group than I have seen before. I noticed that several of you went outside, down stairs, and even into the bathroom. What did you learn? Did anything funny or interesting happen?

7 Responses to “Navigating Blind”

  1. ChaseJ Says:

    I probably will not be the first to mention that steps certainly posed a greater threat than ever before. Firstly, I never really realized how much I depended on my eyes for depth perception; I had trouble feeling how far down the step went! Secondly, when my cane suddenly dropped off of the floor as I approached steps, I was really unsure as to how far I had before I came to the first step-down. Finally, Going up the steps was hard because I had no idea when it ended, so I found myself stepping into nothing.
    Also, as I navigated around the hallways, I was too busy trying to avoid obstacles to remember where I was going; I depended heavily on my guide to tell me where I was going or which way I needed to go. I certainly have much greater respect for people with visual impairments who can lead independent lives and know exactly where they are going. I have been in Sitterson every day since the start of classes, both upstairs and downstairs, but when I put that blindfold on, suddenly I had no clue where I was. It certainly was an amazing experience.

  2. BethanyJ Says:

    I think I had kind of an advantage since my eyesight is so incredibly bad without glasses. I used to walk around my house in the dark and there are thirteen steps between floors at my house. I tend to always count steps in staircases and I don’t know why exactly I got in the habit.
    The scariest part to me was beginning. I put the blindfold on and stuck out my cane and with the confidence of one who can see took my first step. …That’s as far as I got. Fear gripped my entire being and even though my guide assured me nothing was in front of me, I did not trust that there was only air there. My body wanted to move forward, but my head did not, literally. I would go to take a step forward and my head would do this jerky thing and I would step back immediately. I did this about five times before I had the courage to move beyond my one step. After that I was ok. I realized that I have trust issues beyond the norm, as in I don’t trust myself or things around me and especially not other people when it comes to being my eyes or guiding me. It was as if everyone else in the world was blind too and we were all just wandering about. I have an independent streak in me that wanted to do it all by myself, but without my guide, I wouldn’t have gone as fast and I wouldn’t have found my way out of the stairwell or to the doors. Looking back, I realize now that I depended on my guide more than I thought. The sound of his voice told me where he was and I knew that wherever he was there had to be open space, and I kind of cheated because I knew that he could see and was probably moving toward the door, so I ended up following his voice and his steps. My guide and I really didn’t tell each other where to go, we just told each other if we were about to run into something, we let each other find whatever way we wanted to go. Something that really helped was the encouragement my guide gave. Throughout the whole thing, he kept saying you’re doing good or something else encouraging. It gave me more confidence in what I was doing and I was able to walk instead of just wander.
    Something that was really funny was when I got to the top of the steps. I actually thought I might do this because I do it at my house quite frequently… without the blindfold. When I get to the top of the stairs sometimes I think there is another step, so I step up as if there were one and when I get to the bottom of the stairs if I’m going really fast and not paying attention, I think I’m finished and there’s still another step and I end up about falling every time. Well, this time thank goodness it wasn’t going down, it was going up. My guide and I had a good laugh though, because he said he thought I was trying to do the moonwalk or some Michael Jackson move or something. (I should have played it off or something;)) Anyway, but I learned through the experience that you can do it on your own, but if you learn to trust someone else it can make your life a whole lot easier.
    People that have to use sight aids have to be trusting at some point. I learned though just how hard it can be. …but the other thing is, I can see… I cannot imagine the trust obstacles and the amazing feats visually impaired people from birth have to overcome. It is truly an amazing thing and I consider it a great talent to be so trusting and well oriented off of sound and touch. It was fun pretending, but I can only imagine how hard it must be to live it day in and day out always with some uncertainty of what’s around you.

  3. BrennaC Says:

    I found the lesson and blind walking experience today very shocking. I never realized how much I depended on my sight to have orientation and mobility. When I read the homework assignment I thought that this training was well planned, but maybe a little unneeded. I just thought a person that need vision help relied on their other senses and could get by with just that. I was very wrong. The obstacles I faced were extreamly challenging and I only was “blind” for maybe 15 minutes. I also found it extreamly hard to use the walking stick. It is very difficult to move it and use it to find problem spots. I realized how you had to listen to the changes of dings as you hit diffent objects in order to find where you were or where an open door was. I was not surprised by the hightened sense of sound I felt, but it was very interesting. I found it amazing how you could know if you were in a classroom or a bathroom or if people were around just by listening. The social skills I had when I was “blind” were very diffent then when I was walking down the hall 40 minutes before. I did not talk directly to people and I could not call them by name because I could not see their faces. I felt slightly isolated and as a social person this was very difficult for me. I could see how it would be a little easier if you had never had sight and this is all you would know, but I can still image how challenging it would be to overcome these visual obstacles. I was still very impressed by the little five year old boy moving around his new school. I also really found the goggles that showed different sight issues very interesting. This was a very eye opening expeirence and I feel even more blessed that I was given the gift of sight.

  4. RhiannonL Says:

    The experience was completely different from anything I have ever done before. I walk around my house in the dark all the time, but this was completely different, because it was total darkness. There was no way to try to make out objects in front of you. All your trust was in your cane and your partner. Sometimes it was hard to tell if I was going straight or at an angle. Going down the stairs really wasn’t too bad. I tried the water fountain, which turned out to be quite an adventure. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can navigate their way like that and fast. It really made me realize how blessed I am.

  5. AlishaH Says:

    First of all, I would like to say that the blindfold activity was tons of fun! I had a great time, but I also learned a lot. I’m glad we did this activity because not only did we try to learn a lesson, but we also interacted with our classmates. This was a great experience because before we were just a class, and we hadn’t gotten a chance to know each other. However, by getting into partners and doing this activity together, I think it made the class come together as a whole. I learned so much from this activity. I guess sometimes you never learn anything till you try it from another person’s point of view. Even though we were only “blind” for 15 minutes, it got be thinking about hard this must be for a truly blind person. For me, I depended totally on my partner, and my hands to guide me. I couldn’t even drink water from the water fountain because I didn’t know where to position my mouth. Its incredible how sometimes we have to depend on other people to be our eyes. In daily life, we don’t trust people that we don’t know, but for the visually impaired, they HAVE to trust strangers sometimes because sometimes they can be helpless. I also notices some obstacles while my partner was blindfolded. We came to one end of the building, and I saw the plastic frame hanging down from the wall. A visually impaired person would have no way of knowing this object exists if they came to the building for the first time. They would end up getting hurt. It amazes me that builders, architects, and designers don’t think about these type of things in their designs. In fact, most of us, don’t think about people with disabilities in our daily lives. Since I’ve been in this class, it has made me think more about these individuals, and I’m starting to assimilate them into my life. I thought about them when I bumped into objects when I was blindfolded and had no idea where I was. It’s crazy how all of us take things for granted. From now on I have more respect for individuals with disabilities.

  6. JayH Says:

    My experience of walking around the building blindfolded was a really interesting one. The things I struggled with the most were walking at a normal pace, and walking down the stairs. I did not want to walk fast at first because I did not trust my cane and I knew that if it were in the wrong place I could run into some object or person. Going down the stairs was difficult for me because I was so afraid I would miss a step or that I would reach them too soon. To solve this problem I reached my arms out on the railing as far as I could to ensure that there were still steps below me but I am realizing that this action was probably very strange to onlookers and would definitely make me stand out.
    Although it was a little difficult for me at first, the fact that I could use a cane and my sense of hearing as guides assured me that I would be alright and that I could figure out where I was going. I never thought about how useful your hearing can be when you can’t see. I really did find tapping different things very affective because it allowed me to figure out what part of the building I was in or whether there was a door next to me or just a continuation of the wall as I was walking down a hallway. By the end of my time blindfolded I felt very dependent on the cane and- even after the demonstration by Diane Brauner -really understood for the first time how protective a cane can be if you use it correctly.

  7. SarahT Says:

    I was pretty nervous when I started to walk around with a blind fold and cane….. I guess I never realized how difficult it was until I actually tried it! And this experience was definitely a learning one and one that was unlike any other. I think one of the hardest parts had to be walking around places that were crowded or walking up on people that you could hear talking but obv couldn’t see. This was suprising to me because I thought walking down steps would be the most difficult task. I also felt very dependent on my partner and I feel that the task would have multipied with difficulty if someone wouldn’t have been walking beside me the whole time.

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