Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hannah is not different, she is just blind...

Don't think I am leaving Jonas out in this at all... He is visually impaired, but has a lot more sight then Hannah ever will. She and Chun Yan are totally blind, not even one ounce of light perception. Plus, Jonas will always need much more assistance than the girls... My girls will be independent some day just as your children will be...

Remember these tips if you ever encounter a blind person. Remember, you are the only one intimidated about talking about their blindness, not them. To a blind person, being blind and talking about it is no different than me telling you that I have freckles and blue eyes... Hannah has never been ashamed or embarrassed about being blind, actually she is very proud of her blindness and her crazy, extreme, braille reading skills!!! I want to keep it that way for her and for Chun Yan.

Courtesy Rules for Blindness
From the National federation for the Blind.


Ten simple, straightforward pointers which encourage sighted persons to feel comfortable and at ease with blind persons, is also helpful to know.

When you meet me don't be ill at ease. It will help both of us if you remember these simple points of courtesy:

I'm an ordinary person, just blind. You don't need to raise your voice or address me as if I were a child. Don't ask my spouse what I want—"Cream in the coffee?"—ask me.

I may use a long white cane or a guide dog to walk independently; or I may ask to take your arm. Let me decide, and please don't grab my arm; let me take yours. I'll keep a half-step behind to anticipate curbs and steps.

I want to know who's in the room with me. Speak when you enter. Introduce me to the others. Include children, and tell me if there's a cat or dog.

The door to a room or cabinet or to a car left partially open is a hazard to me.

At dinner I will not have trouble with ordinary table skills.
Don't avoid words like "see." I use them, too. I'm always glad to see you.

I don't want pity. But don't talk about the "wonderful compensations" of blindness. My sense of smell, touch, or hearing did not improve when I became blind. I rely on them more and, therefore, may get more information through those senses than you do—that's all.

If I'm your house guest, show me the bathroom, closet, dresser, window—the light switch, too. I like to know whether the lights are on.

I'll discuss blindness with you if you're curious, but it's an old story to me. I have as many other interests as you do.

Don't think of me as just a blind person. I'm just a person who happens to be blind.
In all 50 states, the law requires drivers to yield the right of way when they see my extended white cane. Only the blind may carry white canes. You see more blind persons today walking alone, not because there are more of us, but because we have learned to make our own way.

For more information about gifts, bequests, programs for the blind, or other matters concerning blindness or the blind, contact the local chapter in your area or contact:

The National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Phone: 410-659-9314
E-mail: nfb@nfb.org


One Crowded House said...

very good tips.... I especially always wondered if it was hurtful to say the word "see" in conversation... I am glad to know that it is ok :)

Rebekah Hubley said...


Definitely okay. Hannah talks about 'seeing' things all of the time. Because to her she 'sees' things by hearing and touching. I have heard people to say that their fingers have 20/20 vision. :-) We were told when we took her to Duke at 3 weeks old, to raise her as we would any other child and use the same vocabulary. They were soooo helpful at the most critical time. They really made us feel good and okay with her blindness. I should call them and let them know how she is doing.... They were so sensitive to our 'new' journey and very inspiring. I remember the lady telling us that Hannah would be able to do anything in life, minus being a airline pilot... :-) We all laughed...

We have made it through these years not taking it 'so seriously'. I know this is probably hard for people to believe, but I don't even think of her being blind. I don't focus on it hardly ever... She is just Hannah. :-)