By: Abby Sienko
CNIB National Youth Council Member
As a person who is DeafBlind (low vision), I’ve faced a lot of challenges through childhood and youth. I often encounter barriers at school, at work, and even in my post-secondary environment. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about blindness. So, I thought I would put my spin on things and tell people about some of the positive benefits of being blind!
1. I can navigate well in the dark. If power outages happen, we got the place memorized! I can even make a cup of tea in pitch black.
2. I can ‘part-the-red-sea’ with my white cane. As I swipe my white cane side to side to navigate a path, many sighted people quickly dive out of my way. Also, how cool is it that we can customize and accessorize our canes?!
3. I have so many ways to access information! Large print, enlarged screens, screen readers (thanks to technology), and magnification apps. I also understand braille when technology isn’t available.
4. I have cool accessibility gadgets, tools and colour contrasting things with me at home, in daily living, employment and post-secondary.
5. Blindness is a spectrum, and I love explaining how much I can see by describing my vision loss in various ways and through storytelling.
6. Being able to laugh at myself. When I do walk/collide/fall over an object/item or person, I can usually brush it off with laughter. I once mistook a garbage bin as a person; that was a ‘lively’ conversation…
7. I am a very detailed oriented person and have excellent memorization skills.
8. Being able to communicate in various forms: verbally, sign language, tactile sign language, texting, and writing.
9. I am great at multi-tasking! I can text while using a cane, watching tv, while cooking, etc.
10. People who are blind or partially sighted are very adaptive, innovative, resourceful, and creative. I love how each of us on the National Youth Council are diverse with a unique view of the world.
I think it’s important to look at the positives of being blind. We have various skills, understandings, attributes, and an incredible view of the world only we can see.