Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rain is so inaccessible!

The following article was posted by Jemma Brown on the Ouch weblog in December, 2007. I thought about what the author has to say, and I must agree with her, rain truly is inaccessible.

It's true it really is! See today has highlighted all the issues I have with the wet stuff, its been raining pretty much all day; ranging from thin drizzle that's slightly pathetic but still manages to soak you right through, to really heavy fat rain that just pelts down on you.

Lets start with the blatantly obvious, everything is wet therefore slippery for someone with a condition that affects there balance the chances of falling over are very high. What's worse still is that if you fall over in the rain not only do you get the standard 'ouch that hurt' (or expletive) but you also get the 'great now I'm soaking wet' effect. There are also more outside risks; manhole covers are very slippery when wet.

The thing is that the slipperyness does not just apply to being outside on pavements for example, when you go inside everything's slippy too, or your footwear is wet and slippy, thus again increasing the risk of falling over in the dry!

Then there is the whole rain on glasses issue, not a good mix especially if you are already partially sighted. furthermore when you get out of the wet the glasses are not only covered in rain but then steam up.

In desperate attempts not to get soaked through one chooses to wear a sufficiently waterproof hooded coat. In the attempts to stay relatively dry this causes another issue, when wearing a hood it is very difficult to hear traffic and it significantly reduces the already somewhat sketchy field of vision.

Then there's the waterproof footwear issue, the problems with this particular coping strategy start early on while trying to purchase suitable walking boots. I will be the first to say I have VERY odd feet; this is due to my disability. My feet are very flat and very wide and for a woman very big (at least a UK size 9) add to that the fact that I have to wear supportive orthosoles inside my footwear of choice. It all makes finding walking boots very tricky!

As a long cane user there is also the 'ewww my cane is soaking wet I don't want to put that inside my bag now' reaction when you reach your chosen destination. Using a long cane in the rain also has other issues, a wet hand usually equals a cold hand, other people would perhaps wear gloves in such circumstances but I myself find that wearing gloves reduces the tactile feedback of my cane to much, so I have to put up with a numb blue hand.

As a future guide dog owner there is also the smelly wet dog issue and the necessary towels required to dry said disgusting but still loved small pooch. It is also a fact of life that a dog will run in to the muddiest possible puddle when off the lead but cannot stand getting wet on the lead so rain usually equals a sulking miserable dog!

Then there are even more issues when it finally stops raining, for example the sun comes out. I absolutely hate it when it has been raining and the sun comes out, I can't see a thing! People that know me are usually completely shocked by my sudden blindness and I am frustrated when it takes me an eternity to travel what should be a 2 minute walk from the bus stop into college and popping up every lamppost on the way.

See rain, its disabling and it does not make reasonable adjustments to include disabled people who can't drive, it makes our life harder.

It's completely inaccessible and I am seriously considering taking up a case under the DDA (ADA in the US>!

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