Safety First: Adapting your Home for a Child Who is Visually Impaired

I have great pleasure in sharing the article below, written especially for us by Jackie Waters from hyper-tidy.com

You can read more about her at
About Me | Hyper-Tidy
and feel free to check out the rest of her site as well. Many thanks, Jackie, for giving of your time and expertise. It is much appreciated.
Also, be sure to see the resource list that Jackie has provided at the end of the article for more information.

Safety First: Adapting your Home for a Child Who is Visually Impaired
by Jackie Waters
hyper-tidy.com

If you’re a parent of a young child or toddler who is visually impaired you obviously have concerns about your child getting around your home safely and comfortably, especially as she becomes more mobile and independent. There are a number of relatively simple changes you can make to ensure your child can move safely within your home using her limited sight and her other senses.
As well as thinking about safety issues, it’s important to consider how you can reorganize things at home so that your child can learn how to manage things independently.

Take a good look around your home and assess what changes would be helpful. Some things to consider may be:

Lighting: Are there areas of the house where you could add extra lighting, such as the bathroom or kitchen? LED lights can be very helpful in these areas. Lamps are a good idea if you want to focus light on a game or a particular project your child is working on. Try to eliminate glare; for most visually impaired children, light reflected from a shiny surface can be very uncomfortable.

Contrast and color: Using colors that contrast strongly can help your child distinguish different objects. For example, a red towel hanging on a white bathroom wall, or a blue plate on a white table cloth. Choose some of your child’s favorite colors and use color coded boxes in her bedroom to store different types of toys. You can also use contrast in cupboards and draws by using colored liners.

Texture: Using different textures can help your child learn to use her sense of touch to recognize different things around your home. For example, different textured ribbons tied around bottles can distinguish toiletries. You might put a textured rug in the corner of her room to help her find her toy box.

Labelling: Large print or braille labels can be used on food items, personal hygiene products and toys. Tactile labels are a great way to help your child recognize a wide range of items including food, toiletries, the contents of cupboards and drawers, and puzzles and games. You can also use an audio labeler to help her identify things around your home.

Clutter: Try to avoid crowding things together on shelves or countertops; this will make it very difficult for your child to pick out specific items. Eliminate clutter from her cupboards, dresser, nightstand and bookshelves. Keep bathroom counters clear of everything but necessities, such as soap dispensers. Putting space between items on shelves and surfaces will make them more visible.

Height: Look around your home from your child’s perspective. Imagine what she can and cannot see from her height. Make sure you put things she needs to see at her eye level. You don’t have to reposition every single thing in the house, but objects she needs to reach for should be at the appropriate height and depth.

Encourage your child to use her sense of touch to garner information about where things are throughout her home. For example, in the bathroom, you could put a rubber band around her toothbrush so she can distinguish it from everyone else’s or you could put tactile labels on the kitchen cabinet where her cereal is kept. She may also begin to use clues such as the difference in floor surfaces between rooms. She may begin to trail her hand along the wall at waist height as she walks around the room, or slightly in front of her to avoid obstacles.

Gradually she will build confidence in her ability to orient herself in your home and, as she gets older, other, less familiar and more complex environments.

Resource Links:
Tactile Marks and Labels for the Blind | Braille Superstore

PenFriend Audio Labeler for the Blind (Version 2) | Braille Superstore

Home Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

What is visual impairment?

lighthouse-announces-the-holman-prize-for-blind-ambition/”>

I would like to share the link below in spite of the fact that the closing date for entries is just two days away.

Many or perhaps most of us are quite comfortable with our fairly familiar environments and predictable daily routines, but, there are, among us, those who could be described as true adventurers or explorers. Blindness or other disabilities are not likely to stop those who feel the need to conquer the unknown, no matter what adaptations they have to make to achieve their goals. In fact,
constant adaptations and innovations may just be one of the advantages needed for success in this competition. However, the Holman prizes are not only about an exploration of the physical world by blind or visually impaired people. It has a much wider scope as described in the post at the link below.

“The ideal candidate is someone who is willing to probe their environment and eager to savor the richness of a world that is so often thought of as inaccessible to the blind. This exploration may involve travel, community organizing, scholarship, daring art or projects we haven’t even considered. We’re looking for intrepid travelers, creative problem solvers, effective communicators, natural ambassadors, passionate advocates, joyful builders, active boundary-pushers and experience seekers.”

Good luck to all participants. For more information, visit
LightHouse Announces the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition | LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Braille Resources from Hadley Institute

I recently came across some past seminars of the Hadley Institute for the Blind in the category for braille literacy. As a long time braille reader I am always interested in resources pertaining to braille and related matters. The topics listed at the link below cover a wide range of subjects, all relating to braille literacy, including how to draw using braille, braille in everyday life, how to have fun with braille, and more.
So, feel free to explore this valuable resource and to share with others if you find it helpful or interesting.
Seminars@Hadley – Hadley Institute for the Blind hhjand Visually Impaired

The Neighborhood News – Double Decker Version Now Available

Patty L. Fletcher is the author of “Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life”, in which she recounts her journey from being a long-time cane user to acquiring her first guide dog.

She is also the creator of The Neighborhood News, a digital publication with lots of info and entertaining content.
If you have not downloaded the latest January/February double decker version of this popular publication, feel free to go to
The Neighborhood News | Campbells World
If you have a small business, work from home, or have something you would like to advertise, be sure to find out how you can be a part of this publication.
My best wishes to Patty for continued success with her writing and the wonderful work she is doing.

Blind Man Sets Out Alone In Googles Driverless Car

I thought I would share this very interesting article from The Washington Post with you all. I’d say this is moving forward in a very real way …
I also found some of the comments below the article quite interesting.
Hope you will enjoy reading and feel free to spread the info …
Blind man sets out alone in Google’s driverless car – The Washington Post

A Toronto teen is hoping to change the lives of visually impaired people around the world with a new app that can identify virtually any object with the quick tap of an iPhone or iPad.

Jason Fayre, the head of accessibility and assistive technology at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, tested out the app and, although there are similar apps on the market, gave it a rave review.

It is called iDentifi and it’s free, something Tukrel doesn’t plan on changing.

“I want people who are visually impaired to use it without thinking of the financial consequences of doing so,” he said. “We have such great technology and I think it’s important that everyone has access to it.”

The full article by Andrew Francis Wallace from the Toronto Star can be found at
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/11/28/toronto-teen-uses-app-to-give-visually-impaired-a-new-look-at-the-world.html

Toronto teen uses app to give visually-impaired a new look at the world

A Toronto teen is hoping to change the lives of visually impaired people around the world with a new app that can identify virtually any object with the quick tap of an iPhone or iPad.

Jason Fayre, the head of accessibility and assistive technology at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, tested out the app and, although there are similar apps on the market, gave it a rave review.

It is called iDentifi and it’s free, something Tukrel doesn’t plan on changing.

“I want people who are visually impaired to use it without thinking of the financial consequences of doing so,” he said. “We have such great technology and I think it’s important that everyone has access to it.”

The full article by Andrew Francis Wallace from the Toronto Star can be found at
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/11/28/toronto-teen-uses-app-to-give-visually-impaired-a-new-look-at-the-world.html