Experiencing Fireworks as a Visually Impaired Person

by Jessica Minneci
Blue, red, white, and gold fire works going off over a city skyline
Fireworks going off over a city skyline
One of the best things about the Fourth of July is seeing the fireworks at night, that is, if you can see them. I’m visually impaired, so I can’t enjoy fireworks in the same way as everyone else, but that doesn’t mean I have to stay at home. I’ve been lucky enough to have family and friends who encouraged me to come with them to firework shows and who also described everything that was happening. This Fourth of July, make fireworks displays fun for everyone by following my list of tips for describing fireworks to people who are blind or visually impaired.

How to Describe the Fireworks

Sit close to your friend who is blind or visually impaired. Do your best to make sure that they can hear you over the sound of the fireworks.
When the show starts, make sure that you describe everything in real-time. Tell them what is happening exactly as it is happening.
Describe the color of each firework, how bright it is, and how fast it's moving.
Demonstrate the size of the firework by putting your hands over your companion's hands and moving them apart to fit the dimensions of the firework.
Make your descriptions fun and engaging. Instead of saying, "There's a red one coming," say, "Ooh! A neon red firework is whizzing by in front of us! It's shaped like a star!"
Keep yourself and the person you are describing the show to guessing. Say something like, "There are white sparks dancing across the sky. What color do you think the next firework is going to be?" This game helps the two of you bond and become more invested in the show unfolding in the night sky.

Think of others as you celebrate the Fourth of July this year. If you have a family member or friend who is  blind or visually impaired, introduce them to a great American tradition by taking them to and describing fireworks displays!

Jessica Minneci is a  marketing associate at APH. 
A creative writing major in college, she is a free-verse poet and aspiring
novelist who enjoys spending time with her guide dog Joyce.


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