Maintaining Independence as Someone who is Blind or Visually Impaired
To someone who is able bodied, independence may come naturally. It might look like getting your driver’s license, moving to a new city, or even into an apartment. But independence can look different for everyone, especially for those who are blind and visually impaired.
Blindness can be challenging no matter what stage of change you are going through in the process. Whether you lost your vision yesterday or have had vision loss your entire life, maintaining your independence is a huge step of freedom. Today we are sharing some key tips for keeping and staying independent despite vision loss.
Learning what you need is the first step when it comes to self-advocacy. Self-advocacy is the act of asking for what you need. It can be different than just asking for help, whether it is asking for something to be made more accessible or for someone to accommodate your specific needs.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, utilize technology! Apps, like Oko, can provide a level of independence that was not possible before. Do you find crossing the street intimidating, even with your Orientation and Mobility skills? Thankfully, Oko can help.
Keep Items in the Same Place
A simple tip but keeping things in the same place, such as your keys and wallet when you get home, can be a game changer when it comes to independence. No more asking for someone to help you find something! If you keep it all in the same place, you’ll never need help in finding it again!
Ask for Help
It might seem counterintuitive but asking for help can be a sign of independence, especially for those who have disabilities. Asking for help can be a strength, not a weakness.
Get Involved in the Community
Having a disability can be isolating and lonely, especially if you do not know anyone else who might have your same diagnosis. Finding and maintaining your independence as someone who is blind can also look like finding your blind and visually impaired community! Whether it is online through a Facebook group (there are tons for the blind!) or through your local National Federation for the Blind or American Council for the Blind chapters, there are plenty of ways to get connected with others who have the same disability as you. By getting involved, you can even gain more tips and tricks for staying independent because everyone in the community has a unique way to face the challenges of living with vision loss.
How do you maintain your independence? Let us know in the comments!
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