This post was inspired by an off-hand comment made by a sighted relative of one of my clients who remarked about me: “She’s good at being blind.” At first I was merely complimented, and gladdened that this direct, no-nonsense person was seeing me in a favorable light, but then I got to thinking about what she said. This woman understands on an intuitive level something which it takes far too many people a lifetime to grasp, that being blind isn’t merely a passive condition, but a set of actions which we undertake when faced with the loss of site, actions which enable us to live life to the fullest.
So, what do we do anyway? We use a long white cane to get from place to place. We read Braille in the same way sighted people read print. We use computers which quite literally tell us what’s on the screen. Most of all, we are creative and resourceful, devising ways of doing necessary tasks without the use of vision, and sharing those tips with other blind people.
This last is one of the crucial missions of Accessible Science, to provide opportunities for blind students, and blind non-students to ask questions, get answers, and generally discuss just how we go about doing this thing we call being blind.