You said it better than I could've said it Tim. I moved into this apartment
a little over a year ago, and I have not yet had any formal
orientation&mobility instruction. This is a very busy area of town,
especially right now with tons of construction going on.. My first life
skills tutor, who was fully sighted and had never worked with a
visually-impaired person before coming to work at this agency, spent a great
deal of time going on walks outdoors with me and having me use my cane. She
would point out obstacles in the way, and she told me about directional
cues. She has since left the agency to spend more time with her husband and
their two toddlers, and I am now working with a different life skills tutor. She has also been very good about taking me on walks, but recently her mom went into a rehab facility so I've not been getting out as much. When I do get out of my apartment it is only with someone sighted, and I am usually walking sighted guide with them and using my cane only where we both know I will be safe. I have some cab vouchers that were filled out, but I haven't been able to use them yet. I'm hoping to take my roommate out this week to a Thai place, and hopefully then I can use some of the vouchers. But his night vision isn't so good, so we have to try and squeeze it in during the day sometime.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Tim Cross" <tcross@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, 04 November, 2005 8:12 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: street crossings
I understand the fear thing. Crossing streets can be difficult, especially busy ones and unfortunately drivers do tend to have a fair amount of arrogance where they beleive they own the road and everyone else must bow to them. However, having said that, I'd like to try and encourage you to face those fears. What I'm going to say will sound like a cliche, but I believe it is true.
Feat is something which needs to be faced and is something which will just get worse if you don't. The really interesting thing is that fears, once faced and overcome, can give you the best high and good feeling of anything. I'm not just talking academically here, but rather from experience.
When I first lost my sight, I was very fearful about walking into town on my own. Sometimes, I stand at a corner for 20 mintes trying to get the confidence to cross the road. At first I began to give in to my fears until one day I realised things were getting worse. I gradually went from being fearful about walking into town to becomming fearful about walking to the corner shop alone and then fearful about just going anywhere. I decided this was unacceptable as it really began to impact on my life.
So, I decided to make myself do it. I realised I needed some help to get going again and organised to get some mobility training again. In reality, my mobility skills were OK, but by getting someone to come and train with me again, I felt a little more confident. After a bit, I was able to overcome my fears and now regularly walk into town. I've noticed that if I've not done it for a while, my levels of aprehension when I start out are a little more raised than when I've been doing it fairly regularly. So, what I've learnt is that to some extent, our mobility is something we need to practice and use or the skill becomes degraded.
My recommendation for you would be to get someone to help you walk to that shop a few times. they can help you identify various cues which can help you. Once you have reached a certain level of confidence, get them to shadow you as you go to the shop. Tell them they are not to intervene unless something life threatening comes up. do this a few times until your confidence grows further and then when you feel you have enough confidence, try doing it on your own. I guarantee the first day you travel to that shop totally on your own and return safely, it will be one of the best days you have had in a long time. Once you have done that, set yourself a further challenge - find somewhere else you would like to be able to go to on your own and go through the same process. After a while, you will not even think about it and your life will be so much richer from having the experience and because of the increased cntrol and freedom you will have.
I won't delude you. This will be very challenging and there will be times you just want to give up. However, if you keep at it, you will really benefit in the long term. There are no guarantees and there will likely be some close calls and probably some confusion and disorientation at times. However, the benefits are really worth the risk. In fact, you will more than likely find benefits in other areas as your confidence grows. You will get to the point when you can recognise how to deal with fear generally and while you will never totally overcome that tightness in your stomach, shakes and nervousness which can accompany fear, you will learn to recognise it and deal with it. Opportunities will open up and your quality of life will improve. Its not easy, but the rewards really make it worthwhile.
I think I can speak for the whole list when I also say that when you are going through this, don't hesitate to use this list for support. We have all experienced that fear and apprehension associated with getting around, especially in unfamiliar areas. If we can help, we will.
Sabrina Markel writes:
> I'm fearful of crossing streets. A lot of things run through my mind
> will someone pull out in front of me while I'm crossing? Will I get to
> other side or will I end up out in the street? We have a handy way type
> store just up the road but I couldn't walk the route there and back, too
> ----- Original Message ----- > From: "boomerdad" <boomerdad@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 7:00 PM
> Subject: [bct] street crossings
> > Well, I'm not suffering from any hearing loss that I know of, and *I*
> > can't cross streets, or even walk for that matter, in a straight line.
> > I
> > don't know why, but I always veer, usually to the right, even if it
> > feels
> > to me like I'm walking straight.
> > It got to the point that my mobility instructor *insisted* I get a
> > dog,
> > because she felt the dog would help keep me straight. And for the
> > most
> > part, he did. I figured when I started using a cane again I'd be able
> > to
> > retain the straightness, after walking with Boomer for so long ... but
> > such was not to be.
> > ----- Original Message ----- > > From: "Shane Jackson" <jack728@xxxxxxxxx>
> > To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> > Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 3:07 PM
> > Subject: [bct] Re: descriptive video and a couple other things
> >> Howdy, Chris and all. Now, here is a very interesting subject, so we
> >> may
> >> just have to change the subject line if this discussion continues. I
> >> want
> >> to know how you people who are both blind and hard of hearing handle
> >> street
> >> crossing. I can't cross a street, because every time I do so, I step
> >> out
> >> and immediately begin to swerve. I can't keep straight, due to the
> >> balance
> >> problems caused by the way my ears now hear things. Hearing aids
> >> have a
> >> worse effect, and I am afraid I'll get killed. Can we please have a
> >> discussion about this and how to rectify the situation? I'm missing
> >> out
> >> on
> >> a great deal simply because I can't get to it. Thanks so much for
> >> any
> >> responses!!!
> > -- > > No virus found in this incoming message.
> > Checked by AVG Free Edition.
> > Version: 7.1.362 / Virus Database: 267.12.8/161 - Release Date:
> > 11/3/2005