Hello Everyone, as promised I am back. I plan on every Thursday at least being able to write and upload of post for all of your eyes to enjoy! Today’s topic is something that has recently popped into my head as a prepare to go to guide dog school and that is: How Well Does Our World Handle Blindness?
The truth of the mater is that many people in the society of 2019 are careless about not only visually impaired or blind people but about disabled people in general. I can say as a disabled woman with the utt-most confidence that this world, or at least this world in 20th century. But I can also say with great confidence that the people of our world in 2o19 are trying harder and making great improvements in making this world more accessible. Is this world perfect? No. But will it ever be? Like most things, probably not. But that isn’t to say tat we, the people of today can’t try out damn hardest to make it as close to perfect as it can get.
Why is the world not meant for disabled people you ask? First of all, if you are disabled person reading this, you should already know the answer to that, but for all of you reading this who are just people living their lives, let me do a little explaining. Firstly, one of the biggest problems I face as a visually impaired woman is transportation issues. Besides New York City, D.C., Los Angeles, and maybe a few others, are we really making cities where transport is easily available? The answer is no. Many blind people live in a small town where busses or metros might not be readily available, and if they are they often cost a fee that is much beyond what a blind college student should pay. Then comes the issue of Uber and Service Dogs. As someone who is getting a service dog in less than a week, I worry everyday that I will not be able o get the plaes I need to go because of an Uber driver being uneducated how the service dog laws and denying me access. Then of course there is also the problem of an Uber of Lyft driver calling you saying they aren’t sure where you are and using words like “over here” and “in the yellow car” to describe their location.
The next issue is restaurants and although they have in recent years become significantly more accommodating, they still have struggles and behavior that needs to be taken more seriously. For the first time in my almost 10 years of being a cane user I was asked if I needed a braille menu. I said no because I am a print reader for the most part,, and although I can read braille it is usually just not conducive to the situation. Anyone reading this is probably thinking “why would you be writing about this if you don’t even nee braille menus?” and my answer to them is that I want to be an advocate for al blind people not just individuals with my level of vision. All adults in America should know the symbol of the white cane and in turn whenever restaurant employees see a white cane they should immediately offer a braille menus. As for restaurants that don’t have braille menus, there is nothing more to say then they must incorporate them.
Another simple thing the American population could do to help the blind population is just having manners. If you see a blind person, do not approach them by touching them, but instead by saying something first to alert them that you are near because remember, they are blind and can’t see you.
The last thing is the education system. Education professionals need to be taught how and when to help a blind person. They should be taught the basics of how to make the learning experiences for a blind person more helpful. Let the blind person advocate for themselves and don’t constantly ask if they need help, but if you visibly see them struggling, feel free to offer in helping hand. Always print out large print copies of the activities or homework even if it may take some extra time because even if the blind person declines the large print, they will appreciate the gesture and thank you for being so helpful in the long run. Also always be willing to help and never ask why they need something. It is important to let them know they are safe and always being taken care of.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and I want to make something very clear before ending it. I did not write this to bash the US or say how terrible it is, I wrote this post to bring awareness to general public of things they as Americans can do to help their blind or disabled citizens around them. This is strictly for educational and awareness purposes and I hope that all of you start to alert your friends and family to these things as well so we as a country can make this place more easily accessible to those with any disability.