Getting Along as a Blind Person

by Talmalene Addleman.

This article was suggested by Tammy as to how to respond to a blind person, how to help them, and questions and answers about how they get by without eyesight. You might want to read her background first.

At an early age, I learned to love God, not for anyone else, but for myself. Mom would take me to the meetings, where you learned early how to raise your hand to answer questions. Our first talk was out of the Paradise Lost--Paradise Regained book, which had pictures in it. In those days children went out in service, too.

At the same time, my paternal grandmother taught me how to laugh, love music, and enjoy picking out cards with a scripture a day which she faithfully read. That became a daily ritual for us. She taught me how to be thrifty with money, how to fish, and how to plant a garden. She showed me unconditional love, and encouraged games of make believe.

My mom on the other hand taught me independence, by allowing me to ride a bike, skate, enjoy water sports, and some school functions. These women made me who I am, for which I'm grateful. Since my dad wasn't a Jehovah's Witness, making it to the meetings became a challenge at times. When I was a teenager, we seldom made the meetings, but made special events like the Memorial and the big assemblies. Most of my cousins and aunts and uncles worked in food-service, and we had a wonderful time. There was always live music, and dramas, and the assemblies lasted for days. The happy times of fellowship with family and others is what I choose to remember. I disassociated on Sept. 02, 1999.

The purpose of this story is to thank two deserving women (NOTE TO TAMMY:WHO ARE THE DESERVING WOMEN?), and open a dialogue to help those with questions about dealing with someone who is sightless. I'm comfortable in my skin, and won't be offended easily.

Questions People Commonly Ask a Blind Person:

#1. How do you offer assistance to a blind person?

You might say, "Would you like some help?" If they say no, respect that choice. However, if they accept, say, "May I offer you my arm?" Taking your arm makes it easier to keep from hitting things, and puts them slightly behind you.

#2. Do blind people hear better than those with sight?

No, we just learn to concentrate more.

#3. Can you get by living alone?

(answer)

#4. Do you have computer equipment, and if so, how does it work?

Yes, there's a lot of adaptive equipment, which talks, and allows one to scan typewritten books and letters , but handwritten stuff isn't available yet. You can email me as well!

#5. How do you mark cans?

You use a label maker, much like the ones you're familiar with, except that they have braille letters which are embossed on magnetic metal tape, which is reuseable, and costs $25.00 per roll.

#6. How do you fold money?

Since paper money is difficult at best, a method for sorting the bills in your purse is as follows: ones lie flat, fives are folded from right to left, tens are folded from top to bottom lengthwise, and twenties are folded like tens, but folded from right to left in addition.

#7. How do you go shopping, and know what you are buying?

(answer)

#8. What are two or three of the most embarrassing things others ask blind people?

(answer)

#9. What are the most appreciated things you can do for a blind person?

(answer)

10. How do you know what things "look" like if you have never had sight?

(answer)


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