One of the most frequently asked questions that I have had to answer throughout my life is this one: When did I first discover that I was blind? In other words, how early in my childhood did I realize that I was blind? Boy o Boy! A simple question but not a very straightforward response on my part. You see, I really do not remember how or when I discovered.
Thinking about it now, it seems as if I always knew that I was blind. I seem to remember as a child that I always knew that I could not see very well. I knew that I could not see well enough to run around and play hide and seek but my brothers never let this get in the way. I always played with them and played with their toys. I knew that I could not read and write print but my parents and granny were always there to read things to me and as for writing? I remember trying to write with a pencil like my brothers but I would make up what I wrote and then commit it to memory.
I remember that my dad used to play soccer with me using a brightly colored ball and when it came to cricket; both dad and brothers used to use a huge bright red ball. Then when it came to flying kites; my dad always let me fly brightly colored kites. Everything that required balls, bats, kites, and so on, were always brightly colored. However, I was unable to draw or paint because I did not have enough vision but it did not prevent me from trying.
My first days of primary school were spent at a school for blind children and I had to get used to reading and writing in Braille; the use of dots and devices used for us to communicate. Braille was first developed in the days of Napoleon so that his soldiers could communicate with each other in the dark and was then quickly expanded to include helping blind persons to communicate. Braille was invented by a Frenchman named Louis Braille and the year 2009 is being marked to commemorate his 200th birthday.
I can tell you with great delight that I have had the privilege of being able to function in both worlds; the blind and the sighted and I owe all of this to a wonderful and devoted family made up of two terrific parents, brothers, granny, and cousins, aunts, and uncles. In addition, to friends, and teachers and mentors. I can also say that having received an excellent foundation as a blind child has enabled me to walk through life listening, learning, and understanding how to adjust to my blindness without too much difficulty. True it is that I have and continue to face many challenges as a bind person but that's okay. It's what makes life interesting and exciting.
I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell the world that yes indeed! Blind persons can certainly enjoy things by using their sense of touch. 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: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm