I would like to give a big shout out to lifeOfABlindGirland MyBlurredWorldfor making the fantastic: VIP Daily Living Tag! I really hope people new to visual impairment get some guidance and ideas on how to organise their life a little better now that they are facing a new challenge. I also hope that people with no disabilities get an idea of how we organise our hectic lives!
All the tags I have read so far have been fantastic! I can’t wait to read more! Thank you both for nominating me, I really appreciate it, and really enjoyed filling it out!
VIP Daily Living Tag
1. When preparing an outfit, do you have your clothes set out in a specific way so that it makes it easier for you to choose an outfit yourself?
I have always had a wardrobe and chest of drawers so I deliberately kept things separate. I keep my dresses, evening outfits, shoes and bags in my wardrobe, and daytime outfits, trousers, underwear ETC in my chest of drawers and set out in a specific way… I have OCD; this is my personality, not because I am blind 😉
2. When you want to buy new clothes, do you:
Do online shopping on your own.
Go shopping with someone.
I always go shopping with someone, usually this is my boyfriend who I have to bribe with lunch;) I don’t trust online shopping when I can’t see, most websites aren’t accessible, and those that are; very rarely have Alt tags describing the close.
3. When you go shopping with friends/family is there anything that you ask them to do for you to help choose clothes/makeup you might like?
When I go shopping I usually have a specific item in mind, so it’s a case of asking them to describe that particular item, its colour and then let me feel it.
If it is make up, I asked them to check if it suits my skin tone… No girl wants to go around looking like she’s been tangoed!
4. Do you find it difficult to pick out an outfit due to your visual impairment?
Yes 100%. I only have light perception which means I can’t see anything except light. If you were to close your eyes right now your eyelids would be blocking any objects within the room, but you could still distinguish the lights and where it comes from: that is what I see.
No shapes, colours or details. So I ask the person with me to describe the item of clothing (for example a dress), if I don’t like the sound of it then its on to the next one. If I do, then I ask to feel the material of the dress.
5. Do you find online shopping accessible?
As I said previously, I don’t use online shopping especially if it is for clothes. But if it’s items such as perfume, books, DVDs and food then yes. I find most websites accessible for such things and use them regularly.
6. Does your visual impairment stop you from applying makeup? If so, why?
No it doesn’t, I was born sighted and my mother taught me how to apply make up. So being blind it comes naturally… I do get my partner to check that my eyeliner is equal on both eyes quite regularly.
7. How do you organise your clothing/beauty products?
I have explained above about how I keep my clothes organised, when I did see I would even put them in colour order, usually light to dark; that’s how great my OCD is!
I keep my make up in make upbags in a specific draw: I have a bag for my foundation, blusher, bronzer and general items, a bag for lipsticks and eyeshadows, and a bag for lip/eyeliners and mascara 🙂
I also keep perfume, body lotion and deoderants all together in the same place.
8. Do you have any kind of mobility aid? If so, what is it?
I use a long white cane.
Do you prefer using this or to be sighted guided?
I take my cane with me literally everywhere I go, even when my partner is guiding me, I still use my cane as it gives people awareness that I cannot see… Plus it’s handy for wacking people out of the way 😉
I tend not to use it when I go to festivals, as came and grass don’t get on very well… Usually I’ve got it on me but folded up, sometimes I just leave it in the tent. The combination of grass and huge crowds makes it awkward to use your cane properly, so I prefer to be cited guided at times like this.
If you use a cane, do you feel self-conscious whilst using it?
But I used to. Up until the point that my site was becoming a danger to me and others around me is when I finally gave in and started using a cane, but for those few months I s wore a hoodykeeping my hood up and my head down. I didn’t want attention drawn to myself, and apparently have a hood up disguised me completely…
Being extremely tiny and waving a white cane about knowing people watching you, made me very uncomfortable. After I lost my site completely, I embraced it and now see it as my security blanket, in the weirdest way it empowers me.
When it comes to transport, do you go on the bus, train etc.
Yes, and quite regularly. When I am at the train station I book rail assist, which is someone from the train station giving you sighted guide assistance to get you on the platform and then onto your train safely.
How do you feel about travelling independently?
I’m not going to lie, it was a very daunting prospect. But I have always been fiercely independent, and I wanted to be able to travel on my own, so with the aid of rehabilitation officers I tried to tackle it as quickly as possible after learning my initial roots.
13. Do/did you attend a mainstream or specialist school?
14. If you had a choice, which one would you prefer to go to?
Mainstream, I didn’t start having sight problems until my GCSE’s so I wouldn’t have needed any specialist schooling up until then.
15. Overall, was your experience of education as a visually impaired person mostly positive or negative?
It was mostly positive, I really have to take my hat off to my teaching assistance, without their ongoing support I would have struggled to have done my work, and subsequently failed my GCSEs. When I spoke to teachers individually they were so supportive of how they could help, and even gave me one-on-one lessons after school to help me through my GCSE’s. My biggest annoyance was in science: they would print out Athree sized paper, thinking it enlarged the work, however it only enlarged the pictures. I had to constantly explain that it was the text I needed enlarged and not the size of the paper.
Again if it wasn’t for my teaching assistance being so organised and setting up each lesson for me by enlarging the text and reiterating to teachers what needs to be done I wouldn’t have gotten through
I also have to give a special thanks to my mum, I was fortunate that she worked in the same school I went to, so when things were not been done correctly, or getting really tough she would speak to the specific teachers on my behalf, they took note of what she said because she was A member of staff and not just a moaning parent!
How could it have been improved?
Teachers understanding that my lesson plan was about enlarging the text to a bigger font, and not the paper, and writing on the whiteboard with black pens and not light coloured pens
16. Did you carry on into further/higher education? If so, how did you feel about this transition?
I attended a specialist RNIB placement for sixth form. I didn’t have any reservations about it educationally because I knew the support and the work would be structured according to my needs as a visually impaired person.
I went on to university, and let’s just say that didn’t end so well… Definitely it needs a post all to itself.
17. What is your opinion on assistive technology for blind and visually impaired people, do you think it is vital?
Yes, 100% it is a way for us to be able to communicate and interact with our peers on the Internet, to be able to access library books for our uni coursework, and able to help us out with daily tasks such as the colour of a jumper. Technology has come a long way in the last 20 years and if I’m honest I know that I am truly lucky to be blind in today’s society and not 50 years ago.
18. Do you use assistive technology?
Yes! It’s my lifeline to communicating with the outside world. 🙂
19. What assistive technology/specialist apps could you not live without?
Since being severely visually impaired I have used Apple products, and I would not stray away from them… They have built in features as part of the software so anyone with vision loss, hearing loss, physical or cognitive disabilities can use with ease.
For me The specific app has to be Ariadne GPS; when I was first learning my bus routes around my local area, I would turn it on to check where I was on the bus. It has also been great for double checking where I am, especially if I am second-guessing myself.
20. If you could recommend one piece of technology for a blind or visually impaired person what would it be and why?
Personally, I would suggest buying an Apple product: whether that be an iPhone, iPad or Macbook, as they have a built in screen reader software called voice-over. If you turn on any of these products for the first time and do not touch it for the first minute voice-over automatically kickstarts. I think that within itself is a fantastic feature!
If you cannot afford such products, or have a Laptop that you now see as Null and void, I suggest downloading NVDA: it’s a free screen reading software allowing blind and visually impaired users to continue using their computer. It works by using short cut keys essentially disabling the use of the mouse. Of course you would have to learn how to navigate your way around the screen first. Using the specific short cut keys
21. What’s one piece of assistive technology that you’d really like? I would have to say a Braille Note, it would be a great way of me keeping on top of my Braille skills, and as it is so small and light it isn’t as clunky as a Perkins Brailler. It also wouldn’t be as tough on my wrists to use.
22. Do you mainly have sighted friends or blind/visually impaired friends?
Since losing my site completely, I’ve really learned who my true friends are. I have a bunch of cited friends who have been my best friends since childhood. But at this precise moment in time I would probably say I have more visually impaired friends.
23. If you have blind/visually impaired friends, how did you meet them?
I met my visually impaired friends through attending a specialist College for the Blind for my sixth form years: since becoming a blogger and doing volunteering I have met and made more visually impaired friends 🙂
24. Do sighted peers understand your disability and try to help you?
Oh yes definitely! I am very lucky that I have such conscientious friends who really take care of me and look out for me! I do have a couple of friends that forget that I cant see anymore, and will walk off, or not tell me when there is a step coming… But we laugh it off 🙂
25. What’s one thing you wish your friends understood about your disability?
That if you are tagging me in a photo, on Facebook, or pictures in a group chat I would like a description of what the photo actually is please 🙂 Again, I I am very lucky that my friends and family have taken this on-board and try their best to remember. It’s just new friends I have made, or the old forgetful family member 😉
26. Who do you tag to do this post?
Please check out the Bloggers that I have linked within this text, if you are interested in disability, or, just interested in what they have to say on the matter then please take a look!
Much love, Sassy