Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Getting Dressed In The Dark

For most blind and visually-impaired persons, this is it! It does not really matter whether the lights are on or off; we literally get dressed in the dark because, for the most, part we are unable to see what we are putting on. True it is that some of us can see enough to decipher colors, but as a general rule of thumb we are unable to see ourselves in the mirror and consequently we have no idea how we look when we step out in to the sighted world.

As for me, up until five years ago I was able to see enough to decipher colors and was able to match my clothes sufficiently so as not to look like a clown when I went out. Now, things are different for me. I have had to spend a lot of time getting my mom to organize my closet for me. She has helped me match up all of my clothes, and I have had to organize them in such a way that I know exactly where to find what I need. I use a color detector to help me decipher colors. This nifty little gadget talks and for the most part is accurate enough to give me an idea as to the color of a piece of clothing, but every now and then it goes a bit crazy and mucks things up for me.

Having had sight before helps me to deal with getting dressed in the dark, but for those who were born not being able to see colors, it is very different. These persons do not understand the concept and meaning of color, and as a result they need sighted assistance to help them match and coordinate their clothes. It is literally impossible to describe colors to someone who has never seen them. How can one describe the color red? I could say that red is like a rose and someone who has never seen the color red would associate it with the scent of a rose and that would be the extent of their mental picture.

I use my sense of feel and touch to identify my clothes, but if two pieces of clothing feel the same but are of different colors, then I use safety pins to help me. For example, if I have white and pink blouses that feel exactly the same, then I place a safety pin in the inner side of the collar of the white blouse.

My closet is super organized, and it is imperative for me to always have everything in its proper place. Blouses and skirts, pants and jackets, sweaters and suits, shoes, and coats all have their designated places. If I make just one slip in replacing anything, then all hell breaks loose and I then have to spend time reorganizing.

If you would like to learn more about the nifty color detector, then visit http://www.independentlivingaids.org.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your accessibility and special-business needs consultant wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and tell the rest of the world: Yes! Blind and visually-impaired persons are able to get dressed on their own despite not being able to see what they're doing.

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