Updated: Nov 16
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. NDEAM is celebrated each October to commemorate the many contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. But as people with disabilities, we know that getting to work can often be a barrier when it comes to employment. And with the rise of workers returning to the office, we know commuting is an important part of that puzzle. That’s why we’re covering how to commute with confidence as a person who is blind or visually impaired.
Orientation and Mobility Training
One of the best things you can do is get orientation and mobility training. In the United States, you can get Orientation and Mobility training through vocational rehabilitation services or if you’re a student, you can get training through the accommodation services at your school.
Take Your Time
We get it. You might be rushing to work and trying to speed through your commute. But one of the safest things you can do is take your time. Whether you are walking, taking public transportation, or carpooling – it doesn’t hurt to take your time to ensure you’re being as safe as possible on your way to work.
Make Use of Apps
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention OKO! OKO is a great tool to utilize when you’re commuting to work. It can help you cross the street safely and independently by utilizing AI to identify and audibly detect when it is safe to cross the street at a lighted intersection. Whether you’re walking to work or even just crossing the street from a parking lot, OKO is the perfect companion on your way to work.
Utilize Public Transportation and Paratransit Services
As a person who is blind or visually impaired, public transportation services can be intimidating. With Orientation and Mobility training, they can help you navigate public transportation safely. Some cities also have travel training programs through the public transit system, such as St. Louis . There are so many different types of options when it comes to public transportation, from trains to paratransit, that it can be helpful to get an orientation and mobility lesson on how to use these services. Most cities in the United States also provide discount fares for those with disabilities!
Just as someone who drives to work considers traffic, commuting to work as a person who is blind or visually impaired requires even more planning. You never know what can happen with public transportation, paratransit, or even walking to work. Building a buffer for yourself can be a helpful way to decrease your stress levels in the morning and ensure you’re on time for work.