[bct] thoughts on independence

  • From: <maryemerson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "bct" <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2005 13:15:22 -0800

Hi all,

I think it was Jake who discussed his need for mobility help. It is definitely 
a challenge learning a new area. I've lived in the same place for over 20 
years. I hired a mobility teacher to just walk me around the neighborhood for a 
couple hours. I took a tape recorder with me to record her comments and mine as 
we went, and from listening to the tape, just went out and learned and 
explored. It really takes a bit of effort but you have to just go and do it. I 
am sure you can. I cannot cross the horrible eight-lane monster intersections 
here, but my needs are met and I go where I need to go. I do wish I could get a 
ride some place occasionally, but will have to cross that bridge when I come to 
it. I had a couple challenges that were fun though; I walked to my dentist for 
the first time without getting any prior help and that was a challenge; also, a 
friend from church showed me how to get to the building we met in, which was a 
couple blocks away. She had no idea how to think blind, so it was up to me to 
find land marks, notice when to turn and where, and that sort of thing. It just 
takes a bit of initiative and a lot of common sense. Next time you take a walk 
with somebody, take a tape recorder, use your cane and walk without using 
sighted guide, making verbal notes into the tape of land marks and such; then  
and then go back home, play the tape back, and go out and walk on your own. I 
am sure you will not regret it for a second. Knowing your surroundings is a  
part of living independently.

We all have different needs and capabilities; for some people, my contentment 
in knowing and navigating my immediate area without needing to take trips 
across the state or across the country independently, let alone across town, 
would be too limiting; for others, crossing a residential street is scary, 
although for me it's second nature. So I am one of those who just goes where I 
need to, without having to prove anything. It's enough for me to have lived 
independently for decades; doing it without sighted help is challenging, but I 
like the challenge. It's all a matter of finding where you're most comfortable 
and having the room to "push the envelope" occasionally. 


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