There is a point about Blind How that some visitors may find confusing. Question: “Who is Blind How for?”
If you can’t see and already have an extensive skill set for doing whatever you want to do, Blind How may be somewhat interesting, but isn’t for you. At the same time, I hope you will take the time to share what you’ve already figured out with those who haven’t. Send your tip or strategy to Tips@BlindHow.net. Please give others the benefit of your learning and experience.
Let me share an anecdote that speaks to who Blind How is for. I was listening to a podcast called iBUG Buzz. It’s produced by the folks at http://www.iBugToday.org. iBUG is a Blind Users Group for people who use or want to use iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Apple TVs and everything related. The website and the iBUG program has been around for more than ten years, but I just found out about it this week. I’m going to spend more time exploring its resources and options, and definitely recommend that you spend some time with it too.
Back to the anecdote. An individual (I’m calling her Sue, but I have no idea what her name actually is.) commented that she has been unable to see all of her life. As a child and on to being a young adult, Sue’s parents and others in her family were very supportive and also quite protective. With the best of intentions, they developed a pattern of doing most everything for her that children and adults who can see do without much thought. They obviously wanted to do everything they could do to make Sue’s life frustration and friction free. Their love was strong and heart-felt.
To her surprise and that of her family, Sue discovered that there are lots of people who can’t see who have learned to do most things they want to do without needing someone to help or to do them for them. Many people who can’t see have developed a skill set that neither she nor her family knew was possible.
Sure, Sue had developed her own skill set, but limited by others doing for her instead of her learning to do for herself. Her new awareness was that she could learn to use iPhones, computers and a range of other tech-toys that could open a world of experiences and opportunities that had been hidden from her. “Thanks, but I’ll do it for myself,” was a new and freeing experience. In addition to the tech-toys, she discovered a growing range of resources for people who can’t see that range from how to do most anything, to how others have adjusted to not being able to see, to techniques and strategies for managing more or less independently when she had things to do, places to go and people to see.
Is all of this easy peasy, a piece of cake, as they say? Definitely not. Is it doable with time and effort? It is, to the extent you can develop the skills and so long as you are willing to manage the frustration and hard work. Developing the know-how and skills is tedious. Having the knowledge and skills is totally terrific.
For this episode of Blind How, let’s start our tech journey with rubber bands, paper clips and safety pins. In the kitchen, put one rubber band around the cans of beans, and two for corn. In your closet, put one small safety pin inside the black pants, and two for the brown. Put a paper clip on the mail you want to keep, and none for the junk mail. I’ll bet you get the idea. Use something to designate which type of thing is which. Doing for yourself starts with being able to tell this from that. If you could see, it would be easy. When you can’t see, you need a system.
There are better ways of labeling your stuff, and we will get to them in time. For now though, get a good supply of rubber bands, paper clips and safety pins. Pro tip: You can also use big ones and little ones to add to your labeling options. Just be consistent, and – the most important tip – remember your system.