The Sky Is The Limit: Spotlight on Allie Parrish

Originally, I wrote this post for The Lighthouse, and it was never published there. It’s a bit different from my usual posts on this blog, because it is a profile. But this lady is awe-inspiring, and a role model for anyone, blind or sighted. I’d like to introduce you to Allie Parrish.
Continue reading “The Sky Is The Limit: Spotlight on Allie Parrish”

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Concept Development for Blind Children: A World of Wonder

It is estimated that 40% of human sensory perception is visual. If you are sighted, you might think this would be bad news for a totally blind baby. But my loved ones found countless ways to let me see the world and develop “visual” concepts right along with my sighted peers. Whether it was colors, animals, changing landscapes and seasons, or intangibles like height and distance, they always found a way. If you are concerned that your visually impaired child will miss out on things, I give you the following examples from my own life to prove that her world will be as big and as interesting as you show her that it can be. Use any or all of the following ideas to give your child the world!
Continue reading “Concept Development for Blind Children: A World of Wonder”

Seeing the World Without Sight

It is estimated that 40% of human sensory perception is visual. If you are sighted, you might think this would be bad news for a totally blind baby. But my loved ones found countless ways to let me see the world and develop “visual” concepts right along with my sighted peers. Whether it was colors, animals, changing landscapes and seasons, or intangibles like height and distance, they always found a way. I never thought much about this until recently, when a sighted friend remarked on how “you know a lot of things that I don’t know how you know.” Since I never had sight to use as one of my learning tools, it never occurred to me to think what sighted children would learn through their eyes, and no other way. But once I considered all the ways my loved ones taught me things, I came up with the following. Continue reading “Seeing the World Without Sight”

Darkness Be My Friend

Certain events stamp themselves in our memories, so that we never forget where we were when we heard the news. The day JFK was assassinated, the Challenger explosion, 9/11 . . . collective experiences shape the perspective from which the world will view events from that point forward. This is also true for personal experiences.
On a Wednesday afternoon in 1996, I went to the mall with a friend to buy a Christmas gift. I was twenty-two, college finals were finished, and I was looking forward to the holidays. The sun was warm for December, bright with a soft winter light. I noted how pretty it was, but I had no idea that it was the last “normal” light I would ever see.
Continue reading “Darkness Be My Friend”

Bug Vs. Blind Girl: A Battle Royale!

July 10, 1995
Midafternoon in the piney woods of Texas was a scorchfest, and the overcast skies did nothing to alleviate the discomfort of 95-degree temperatures with high humidity. However, I was serene. I had my own apartment in a college town, things were cool inside, life was cool outside. I had classic rock on the stereo, a Sonic Diet Coke on my desk, reading for class was done for the day,,, what more could a 21-year-old girl ask for?
Cloudy days force you to be creative, finding things to do indoors. I decided to sort through my cassette tape collection, keep what I wanted, throw out what I didn’t. Since I was back and forth between home and college, I carried ten years worth of the soundtrack to my life in a good-sized zippered bag. I began sorting tapes, enjoying the walk-shudder down memory lane.
Mili Vanili? What was I thinking?
Debbie Gibson? Tiffany? . . Yeah, not so much.
There are labels on cassettes, the adhesive kind that you can write on, then peel them off, and stick them on the tape of your choice. I had discovered that I could put the label in a Brailler, so my tapes were labeled that way, in Braille. I reached into the bag, into a corner, and took hold of a loose label, one that had obviously peeled off of a tape. I pulled the label out to see what it said, so I could find the matching tape and put it on. (I can identify cassettes by the feel of them, and/or the sound they make when you shake them, but Braille labels make it faster.)
As I held the label in my hands, a shadow fell over the summery college afternoon, a pall of slowly dawning horror, as I came to the conclusion that the “label” in my hand was a leg, a dry rubbery-textured crinkly-sounding leg that was attached to the body of my lifelong sworn enemy, the water bug. Continue reading “Bug Vs. Blind Girl: A Battle Royale!”

No Shame In My Game: On Guilt and Blindness

We may have been at a museum, or maybe it was a park.
I don’t remember the location, but I will never forget the realization. I was with my parents, and younger brother. My Dad was describing something to me, and as my nine-year-old-girl mind contrasted that with the shouts and laughter from the other families, I suddenly realized a terrible thing!
My family, the best family in the world, couldn’t have fun like everyone else. They couldn’t have fun, because they had to stop and describe things to me. I was slowing them down.
I was keeping them from enjoying things.
It made my stomach hurt.
It made me want to cry. Continue reading “No Shame In My Game: On Guilt and Blindness”