[blindkid] running, treadmills, etc

Carol Castellano blindchildren at verizon.net
Mon Jun 14 23:08:50 UTC 2010

I'm with you, Jan.  Outside or bust!

At 04:33 PM 6/14/2010, you wrote:

>Even a treadmill is not like running outside.
>I, as an adult, realize that I always need to keep one hand on the 
>treadmill bar.
>I notice that my sighted peers can walk/run hands free and read a 
>book (turning pages as needed.) I can't and fell off trying.
>The feel, the bounce, the texture underfoot is just different. For 
>me, it is a bit less secure. I have gotten use to it, but still, it 
>is not the same as the ground outside.
>As far as running, I know that USABA (United States Association for 
>Blind Athletes)  does it by tethering  a guide to the blind person 
>(usually around the arm of the guide and the arm of the blind 
>person). . The blind person feels a slight tug or push on the arm 
>when they are veering the wrong way.
>  They will eventually perseptively feel the slack of the tether and adjust.
>Most blind people that I know don't walk or run straight. Yes, I 
>know about "imagine that you are on a tight rope." I have even 
>walked on a balance beam, yet, I still don't walk straight without 
>trailing landmarks.
>If you are going to do the "hand on the rope with a ball of tape on 
>the end to indicate the stopping point,"  you need to remember that 
>every child has his own reflex time. You will have to adjust that 
>time. Sometimes, it is good to put two pieces of material or 
>stopping  identifiers and let the child practice. Also, if it is 
>just a straight line where the child will have to run back and 
>forth, they are not really relaxed because they are always looking 
>for the stop and having to pivot quickly. I do recommend a circular 
>kind of track verses a straight line (there and back), but those 
>tracks have their own problems.
>You know, usually sighted people can't stop on a dime. If blind 
>people run full throttle, they can't either.
>So, if you put a thin piece of material as the warning and a thicker 
>piece when they are suppose to stop (remembering  to leave some lag 
>space for the slowing down process, it can work).
>I've tried those indoor tracks. I don't know how people can run on 
>them. A swift walk is all that I can muster.
>And, personally, although I will use a treadmill, I find them ... 
>... kind of artificial. My preference certainly is to get outside 
>and run. But, maybe that is me and only minimally is a result of  my blindness.
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Carol Castellano, President
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
carol_castellano at verizon.net

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