This blog is about how the world is viewed by the visual and the visually impaired. The intent of this blog is to bring the two worlds together. It is administered by two fabulous sisters, Toni, who is sighted and Robin, who became visually impaired in 2002 at the age of 18 due to misdiagnosis.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
If you found yourself in an emergency situation, such as a natural disaster, would you know what to do? I realize that many people do not like living their lives on the what ifs, and I am not asking you to, but I do believe it is important to be prepared. Therefore, being prepared does involve taking the what ifs into consideration so that the proper precautionary measures can be taken. I have been thinking about emergency preparedness a lot lately as I listen to the natural and human inflicted travesties occurring across the world. When thinking about these types of situations, it is always important to have a plan of action; what to do, where to go, and what to take. The best advice I can give you is, know your environment because doing this and having a plan of action can increase the probability of a better outcome. To learn more about emergency and disaster preparedness for individuals with disabilities, you can check out https://www.disability.gov/emergency_preparedness So do you have a plan of action? Beautifully Blind, Inc. wants to know your thoughts!
Posted by Robin at 5/22/2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you without a blog to listen to! LOL listening to Eric B & Rakim "I Know You Got Soul" on my iPod and it just flowed! It's been sooooo long since I've posted a blog, but Robin has been holding it down. We've been super busy this year, let me telling you running a non-profit and working a full-time job is A LOT of work...but definitely worth it. We were able to do 2 presentations with the Colorado Department of Labor, set up educational booths and run a few fundraisers. We're hoping to get out to more employers and educate them on blindness and help them understand that someone who is blind can do a job just as well as someone who is sighted, there just needs to be adaptive equipment. It amazes me and is very sad that in this day and age it is still extremely difficult for one with a disability to find employment. It can be frustrating at times because we see so many holes in the system as far as inclusion and leveling the playing field for those with disabilities and there is so much that we want to do, but it is challenging. I'm an optimist, and I wanted to do it all; transportation, counseling, grants for research, grants for assistive technology, education and home care; getting everything registered with the State and getting funding took a lot of work and resources. We decided to take a step back and and focus on just a couple of areas, education and grants within the State of Colorado. Through our journey we have learned so many lessons and met so many amazing people. It is the wonderful people that we've met who keep us going. Through them we see that we are going in the right direction and are making a positive impact. Thank you to all of the wonderful people that we've met through social media and all other supporters, your support keeps us pushing forward!
Posted by Toni at 4/09/2013
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Continuing with my post, “Don’t Count Out The Green Rose Part I”, I am going to list a few strategies that I used to help me cope with my frustrations. If you have any other techniques that are not on the list, to which helped you deal with a trying situation, please share them. 1. Talking it out: Having a listening ear, whether it is a person or pet be your sounding board can help immensely. Voicing your feelings is an emotional release that allows healing because you are not keeping unresolved pain bottled up inside. In addition, talking is a mechanism that can help a person find a solution to their problem. I know when I talk some things out; I realize the answer to the issue at hand. 2. Journaling: For those who love to write, this is a great way to express your feelings. Some people write in a personal diary or in a more public form, such as a blog. Again, journaling is another way to attain that emotional release. It is a great tool for the shy person, someone who does not like vocalizing their feelings, or simply for the individual who feels better after reading their thoughts. Like talking, journaling is another way for realization because as people write, ideas come to mind, which ultimately gives clarity. With Beautifully Blind Inc.’s being exhibit A, I like to journal because it enables me to gain clarity and express emotions that I don’t necessarily feel comfortable saying in conversation to someone. 3. Music: Playing an instrument, singing, and/or listening to playlists can help a person channel his/her emotions in a positive way. Music is so relatable; there is a tune to fit every occasion. I love, love music! I can feel the emotion of the songs, as though the lyrics were meant specifically for me or at the least, the singer/song writer understands me. 4. Crying: Many people have deciphering opinions on this type of expression, but I believe it is healthy. I know I feel better once I have a good cry, even if it is only for a minute. Out of all of the techniques mentioned, crying for me is the best way that allows me to feel better. There is a quote that I love by an unknown author that sums up the impact of crying, “Tears are words that the heart can’t express.” Crying does not equate to weakness, but rather strength. 5. Nature: Studies have proven that depression is linked to isolation, so being outdoors can boost a person’s mood. The variety of sounds that nature has to offer, gives me a sense of serenity. Taking walks, jogging, hiking, playing a sport, or just sitting outside can do volumes. Fresh air does a soul good! However, I admit with the extremely cold temperatures, nature is a lot harder to enjoy in the winter. LOL.
Posted by Robin at 3/31/2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Like a taunting sound, I could hear the clock steadily ticking away, reminding me that the time was drawing near for me to start my task. “Tick tock, tick tock”, the clock chimed as the hours turned into minutes and the minutes turned into seconds. I slowly edged my way into the kitchen, creeping upon the stove. Standing there, with my heart beating rapidly, it’s like the stove was daring me to a challenge; a challenge that I was not going to lose. Taking a deep breath, I turned on the oven; there was no turning back now. Mentally checking that I had everything; chicken, rice, and vegetables, I began the process of cooking dinner. Now, you see, I am accustomed to cooking dinner for myself, but when it comes to making food for someone else, I am an amateur. In fact, I have never cooked for anyone besides myself. So to say that I was nervous about cooking dinner for one of my friends, would be an understatement. Although, baking chicken, boiling rice and vegetables may seem easy, I was still praying that I didn’t burn up anything. When it came time to eat, I acutely listened for any sound that would give an idea of how my food tasted to my friend. However, to no avail, the only thing I heard was my friend quickly retreating from the table to put her plate away. My facial expressions must have been transparent because my friend apologized for being a fast eater and said the food was great. Hmmm… I’m not sure how much she ate, but I’ll take her word for it. LOL. Do you have a similar story to tell? Beautifully Blind, Inc. wants to know!
Posted by Robin at 2/28/2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
I have been thinking a lot about life lately, particularly my goals and aspirations. Therefore, I titled this post “Don’t Count Out The Green Rose”. To me, the color green, coupled with the flower, signifies rarity, life, growth, health, and resilience. I believe that we all are like the green rose; rarity in our form, everyone has the power to grow into the person they are meant to be. If you don’t already know, I am an aspiring social worker with my master’s and license in the field of social work. I love helping people and have felt this way from a very young age. However, when it comes to employment, lately, I have been letting my frustrations get the best of me. I have sent out my resumes and had personal job interviews, but to no avail. I know statistically, it is not against the norm for a disabled individual, particularly a blind person to find themselves in the same situation as me, but I refuse to be just a number. Behind the figures, are real people with real talents and capabilities. It can be hard when you feel that you have so much to give, but some employers don’t want to take a chance on you based on assumptions. So, what am I doing to cope with my present circumstances? Well, stay tuned to “Don’t Count Out The Green Rose” Part II, to find out. As always, feel free to leave your feedback because Beautifully Blind, Inc. wants to know!
Posted by Robin at 1/31/2013
Saturday, December 1, 2012
“Listen to what you hear, and you will understand what is near.” As expected, since I lost my eyesight, I definitely pay more attention to sound, as it helps paint a picture of my environment. Through sound, one can pinpoint a particular person, place, or thing. In addition, he/she can assume the size, depth, and location by the noise that is transmitted. A term coined for this phenomenon is echolocation. Whether sighted or blind, people who do not have hearing impairments, use sound in their everyday lives. With this said it is authors/practitioners like Tim Johnson who seek to help people, such as blind/visually impaired individuals maximize their sense of sound through echolocation. Mr. Johnson is the author of “BEGINNER’s GUIDE TO ECHOLOCATION FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED: LEARNING TO SEE WITH YOUR EARS.” Through the history of echolocation to the offering of several helpful exercises, this book seeks to introduce a person to the capabilities that rest behind the ear. It is pointed out by Mr. Johnson that although the purpose of echolocation is to help blind/visually impaired individuals become more oriented with their surroundings, it can still be practiced by sighted people as well. In fact, as mentioned above, if able, sighted people use echolocation already. I really like how Mr. Johnson illustrates this point, because in my opinion, his statement creates unity rather than divisiveness. Echolocation is something that both blind/visually impaired and sighted individuals can partake in separately or together. Personally, as I was reading this book, I found myself following along with the exercises while also thinking about how I engaged in similar activities with my co-workers in the past. We were practicing echolocation without really knowing it. Reading further into the book, I became more intrigued and was eager to learn more. In my opinion, the whole idea of fine tuning our ability to use echolocation seemed overwhelming, but Mr. Johnson’s book lessened my anxiety because the given material gradually introduces harder exercises as the reader’s skill level increases. I felt at ease when Mr. Johnson reiterated that what may work for one person, may not be the same case for another, and to gear the material to what best suits you. In addition, he kept inspiring by saying that if one person can do it, then it is possible for anyone to do it. Having completed an independent study on sound, to say that I am intrigued with echolocation would be an understatement. This is why I was excited to read Mr. Johnson’s book, to which I found enlightening. If you want to purchase Mr. Johnson’s book, please click on the below links. Out of curiosity, please tell us your thoughts on echolocation. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1478371080/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1478371080&linkCode=as2&tag=ti00-20 Accessible Version: http://www.humanecholocation.com/echolocation-guide-msword-format/ Audio Version (Currently available on Tim Johnson’s website, but will soon be available on Amazon and iTunes): http://www.HumanEcholocation.com/audiobook
Posted by Robin at 12/01/2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Descriptive videos becoming more of a reality it seems to be, the services enhances curiosity and accessibility for many. I cannot say it enough, but I truly love watching movies. They are fun and evoke many emotions such as, laughter, sadness, fear, and anger, just to name a few. However, one main drawback for me, being a blind viewer, is the visual aspects. When watching a movie with someone, it is easy for me to fill in the gaps by having my friend or family describe to me what I am not able to see. But, what happens when I am watching a movie by myself? The answer is that I miss out on some crucial parts of the movie. With this said, it is with great appreciation to the companies, such as Hollywood Access Services, who make descriptive videos so that blind/visually impaired individuals can watch movies independently or alongside someone without having to rely on that person’s narration. Descriptive videos offer me a sense of imagination, allowing me to create visual images of what I hear. It is correct when people say that a thousand words can be painted into a picture. For example, like many movie theatre frequenters, I had great anticipation to see “The Hunger Games”. So, when one of my friends said she would attend the movie with me, I jumped at the chance to go with her. In my opinion, “The Hunger Games” is an action filled movie with several visual aspects, and for me, without my friend’s descriptions, I would have been lost. Most recently, I was given the opportunity to view the movie again, but with professional descriptive services from the company Hollywood Access Services. From the clear and precise descriptions of the characters to vivid illustrations of the scenery, the audio track broadened my movie viewing experience. I formulated images of what I thought appeared on the screen and I felt that the descriptions gave me a better understanding of the plot. The only thing is that throughout the viewing, sometimes the audio track and the movie fell out of sync with each other. Solo-DX is the name of their new descriptive product. Specifically, Solo-DX is a MP3 audio file that can be played along with a movie. So, you only need two things to enjoy the descriptive services; the Solo-DX audio track and your movie. In other words, “The Hunger Games” audio file can be played on an iPhone, etc., and the movie can be listened to on a separate device. All in all, I was pleased with the Solo-DX track and commend Hollywood Access Services on their efforts. The Solo-DX is at an affordable price; around two dollars per track. The Solo-DX files are available on iTunes, but “The Hunger Games” wont be available until later this month. Like most files on iTunes, the product can be previewed before purchasing. To learn more about Solo-DX, check out their website at http://www.solo-dx.com
Posted by Robin at 10/25/2012