Future Reflections April/May/June 1985, Vol. 4 No. 2

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(Note: This article appeared in the Summer, 1984, issue of The Blind side , a publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota.)

Is it truly amazing that blind people can find a door, open it, and go on their way without mishap? No. But to believe the answer is "yes" can greatly harm a blind person's potential for success. The members of the National Federation of the Blind realize that if we view everyday tasks as exceptional accomplishments for the blind, we will not expect much else.

Here is an example of how a blind person approaches a "not-so-amazing" task. Carol, a homemaker who is blind, hears a television commercial about a product that interests her. However, the store is in an unfamiliar part of town and she doesn't know anyone to accompany her to make the purchase.

What can she do?

Carol calls to get the store's address. Next, she calls the bus company for directions and schedules.

The next step is to call the store to find out how many blocks it is from the bus stop and what streets to cross.

Using her white cane, she heads toward the bus stop. Approaching each intersection, she listens to the traffic to determine when it is safe to cross.

At the bus stop, the bus driver will tell Carol the route number, to be sure this is the right bus, and she will ask the driver to call out her stop. Periodically, she checks the time with her Braille watch so that she can remind the driver when her stop is near.

She enters the store and listens for the sound of a cash register to find a clerk to help her. Carol and the clerk "look" at the product together. She makes her decision after touching the product and hearing the clerk describe its color.

Reaching into her wallet, she can easily identify the denominations of the bills because she has folded each denomination in different ways and placed them in her wallet.

Because her purchase is too heavy to carry on the bus, she calls a cab and returns home.

To some, this story may sound rare, but it's quite common. Yet it is not as common as it can be because too many blind people are sitting at home, unaware that such activities are possible.

The National Federation of the Blind is working to educate the sighted and the blind about the alternative techniques which allow the blind to have equality in a sighted world.

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