Thursday, July 29, 2010

At the exhibit with Jane

In early May of this year, I had the pleasure of enjoying an exhibit with someone I had met at a conference in Toronto.  Her name was Jane and she had invited me to accompany her to an exhibit of beads.  There were all kinds of things on show; ranging from necklaces and bracelets to objects made out of beads.  I had no idea that so many things could be made out of beads and as Jane described them to me, I used my imagination to bring shapes to life.


Jane placed many objects in my hands and I had the opportunity to feel them and put my own spin and meaning to them.  She also livened the picture by telling me their colors so I was able to use this as well to help me appreciate what was on display.  Not having been able to see them was a definite drawback but I used my imagination and past memory of things to help me enjoy.


I would remember what things looked like and then I did my best to link the shape in my hands to my past memory.  For the most part, it worked and I was able to combine memory, imagination, and shapes to get the total picture.  This is how I do it but I am not sure how other blind persons do it.  I guess that we each have or own unique way of filling in the blanks so to speak.


I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and asking you to go out there and share my experience with others.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Games for Me

One of the most frequently asked questions is this one:  What types of games do I like to play?


When I had enough sight, I used to play air hockey, some pickup basketball, some ice hockey, and the usual board games and accessible computer games.  Nowadays, I have limited my enjoyment to chess, and several accessible computer games.  What do I mean by accessible computer games?


Games on the computer with voice output.  In short, games that have a speaking facility that allows me to hear what is on the screen, hear what I type and enter, and feedback from my input.  


I am a definite games person.  I love things such as Battle Ship, Solitaire, word games, and of course chess.  I can no longer play air hockey but I am just dying for someone to develop an accessible air hockey game or something similar. 


I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and share my pleasure for games with others.  Visit to learn more about how blind persons play games. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

At the Beach with Mom

This is one of my most enjoyable times; going on a beach vacation with my mom.  We have so much fun and she is literally my eyes.  She helps me to negotiate buffets, crowded areas, hotel lobbies, and so on.


She describes so much to me; the scenery around us, people passing and walking, and the activity on the beach.  We have so much fun together and she is never tired of describing, explaining, and helping.  Some may say that this is all in a day's work for her because she is mom; but I never take anything for granted.  Mom is my eyes!  My guide!  My best friend!


When we walk on the beach I kick my memory into high gear and imagine that I can see the rolling waves, the soft golden sand, the cloudless skies, plus more.  I bring swaying trees into my mind's eye.  Then I expand the picture with boats, surfers, and swimmers.  Then I finish off the picture with sand castles, shells lying lazily on the beach, and sun tanners.  O boy!  What a joy!


I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to come and explore the world through the eyes of a blind person.

Visit to learn more.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cleaning Up Spills

It's not one of my favorite things in life but I have to deal with them from time to time and as a blind person, here is how I deal with these necessary irritants.


After locating the spill, I determine the size of it by running my fingers over it.  In doing so I also discover whether or not it is wet or dry.  However, I would know this as soon as the spill occurs.  Next, I need to determine what I would need in order to clean it up.  A damp rag, a hand broom, a paper towel, or what.


Sticky spills are the most challenging for me followed by spills when heavy plant pots tip over and spill their dirt onto my carpet or onto the floor of my balcony.  Spills that entail cleaning up spilled sugar, rice, or flour are also a pain for me as I have to make sure that I have gotten it all.  In the case of those infamous sticky spills, I need to make sure that I have gotten it all or I would probably be left with stains on my counters or even on my clothes.


If I spill something onto my clothes, then I take the safe route and wash it immediately.  If a spill occurs on a surface, then I take the route of cleaning the entire surface and surrounding area.  The same for if I spill anything in my fridge or on my stove.  All in a day's work.


I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell others how blind persons deal with spills.  Visit to learn more.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trusting the One Who Helps Me

This circumstance applies most of all whenever I go grocery shopping; I have to place my trust totally in the one who helps me.  Yes, I usually take my shopping list with me.  I type it up on the computer, print it, and take it to the grocery with me.  However, when I give it to the customer service attendant who walks around with me, here is where I have to trust in them.


Most of the time I come home with what I have asked for but every now and then something falls through the cracks.  That's to be expected; I can't always expect the helpful customer service attendant to get me exactly what I have asked for.  It may be that sometimes they have either misread my request or that they are in such a hurry to get it done that they choose the incorrect item.  Sometimes like everything else they fail to find it and with a good heart they substitute something else which they feel may be sufficient for me or something that I would not mind having. 


I may for example ask for a certain brand of grape juice and if they do not find the specific brand then they would substitute another brand without telling me.  Or, I may ask for a beef pie and when they don't find it then they would substitute a chicken pie.  As long as they tell me what they have done then I am fine but the problem comes when they do not tell me and then I only discover it when I get home and days later I go to use the item in question and realize to my chagrin that I did not come home with my preferred item.


I have to place my total trust in anyone who helps me in the grocery, the pharmacy, the chain store, and in the electronic store.  There is no getting around this so I have to deal with it as best as I can. 


I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell others why blind persons need to trust the ones who help them.  Visit to learn more.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gestures That Do Not Speak

Very often, I need to keep reminding sighted acquaintances and associates that whenever they make gestures, I am unable to know what they are; gestures do not speak.  Gestures are great for those who can see them but when you are blind and are unable to see them, they become a hindrance, a barrier, and an unwanted part of our lives.  Here are just a few examples of gestures that we are unable to benefit from.


The nodding of the head.  Many sighted persons use it to confirm a yes or no but we are unable to see this.  So it's better to speak your yes or no confirmations.

A wave of the hand to signify a greeting.  We can't see this so it's better to call your greeting to us.

The shrugging of a shoulder.  In similar fashion to the nodding of one's head. 


I recognize that most of the time, it is easier to use gestures but when it is not possible to see them, then gestures need to be translated into words.  Of course, when you are blind, it is sometimes a blessing when you don't see someone's gestures; like giving one the finger!  Smile!


To learn more about gestures and how a sighted person could turn them into the spoken word, visit 


I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and help educate others about how to turn gestures into spoken words.