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, April 20, 2010

Are We The Same Because We're Blind?

by Donna J. Jodhan

One of the most embarrassing mistakes that mainstream folks tend to make is this one: They seem to think that all Blind persons are the same; they look the same, walk the same, and even speak the same. Most of them even have guide dogs!

A few years ago, a lady at work told me that she had seen me walking along the hallway and I seemed to be lost. She went on to say that when she approached me to render assistance, I rebuffed her and she wanted to know why. She even accused me of being rude. I was quite taken aback and started to rack my brain trying to recall my whereabouts on that day. I became quite perplexed and concerned because almost all of the time, I go to great lengths to ensure that I am polite to anyone offering assistance to me. After a minute or so, I asked to describe my physical attributes and what I was wearing that day. I will hasten to add that this conversation took place over the phone.

Just imagine my surprise when she told me the following: She described me as having long blond hair, about five feet six inches tall, heavy-set, and wearing a red suit. I let her finish and when she had done so I politely told her that I was five feet two, had jet black hair, and was slim. In addition, I did not own a red suit. Just imagine the silence at the other end. She quickly excused herself and hung up.

You see, much of society honestly believes that most blind persons look alike but I'd like to dispel this myth. The one thing that blind persons have in common is this: We are all visually impaired but this is where it ends. We do not look alike, we have varying degrees of vision loss, we think differently, we speak differently, and some of us use canes to get around while others use guide dogs. It's like saying that all Americans look alike and speak the same. If you take a minute to think about it, it's absolutely laughable and without logic.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

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