[nabs-l] some more questions...

Jewel S. herekittykat2 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 15 03:00:14 UTC 2010

I had a similar problem with getting lost and having someone guide me
to find my way...the next time, I got just as lost! This is what I
started doing.

Me: Man, I'm lost...I don't recognize anything around me.
Good Person: Can I help you find something?
Me: Yea, I'm looking for <address>. Can you tell me what address I'm at?
GP: You're at <number>. You need to go down the street to your left
and you'll find the place you're looking for.
Me: Thank you. Are there any plants, stairs, or other features that
will tell me that I'm there?
GP: Yea, they have two big crepe myrtles out front and the building
has six steps to the front door.
Me: Thank you!

Then I walk there, and when I find two crepe myrtles and a building
with six steps, I am 99 percent likely to have the right building.

Another method I've used is "Are you going that way? I would be
grateful if you'd let me walk with you." Then I walk beside them and
talk while I walk (I talk too much), and watch out for landmarks. I
have to pay attention to where I'm going because I'm following, but at
the same time, I don't have to try to remember directions (I have a
bad memory).

For following, I have a bit of a cheat in my favour. I can ee some
colours, so if the person is wearing a bright coloured shirt, such a
construction worker's orange vest or a pretty pink shirt, I just keep
the pink or orange blob in my sight and follow that. If you don't have
colour vision, use scent and/or sound. For example, at the bank today
there was a lady with high heels that made it very easy to follow her,
and I have a friend who wears very distinct cologne...as long as I can
smell his cologne, I know he's not far away. If I'm not sure where
someone is, I'll ask. For example, while my boyfriend and I are out, I
might say "Hey, Mike." and he'll say "Yea?" or "Here." and I'll know
exactly where he is based on his voice. This works better with people
you know well, because they'll know that you're just asking for some
audio feedback.

Hope that helps,

On 8/14/10, Arielle Silverman <nabs.president at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Kerri,
> It'll be obvious when your tip needs changing because you'll hear a
> noise like a piece of metal dropping on the ground while you are
> walking, and then your cane will stick on everything and won't give
> you nearly as much feedback. If you have a lot of extra tips, you can
> change them as soon as you start to notice scratches on your tip, but
> if you want to be more economical, you can wait until the ring falls
> off.
> Regarding getting help when lost, if I'm getting help from a stranger,
> I'll almost always follow behind them instead of taking their arm, not
> only so I can know where we're going, but also because I don't know
> the person and don't want to be led somewhere I don't want to go
> without realizing it. If I'm walking with someone I know and trust,
> then a key factor in the decision is "is this a route I'll likely be
> taking again?" If so, then I'll want to follow behind them using my
> cane so I can really be aware of where we're going and be able to
> remember the route for later trips. Most people will understand and
> not be offended if you say "I'd like to just follow you so I can
> remember how to get here next time". If it's not someplace I'm likely
> to go back to again, then the decision really depends on my mood, how
> crowded the place is, whether I want to be carrying something in my
> non-cane hand (which makes sighted guide inconvenient), etc. If it's a
> good friend they should be understanding that you might move a little
> slower or more awkwardly without holding their arm but that the
> practice and confidence is good for you.
> Arielle
> On 8/14/10, Anmol Bhatia <anmolpbhatia at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Kerri,
>> When you do let someone guide, try to mentally remember the directions as
>> you are walking. Basically don't just let them guide but try to follow
>> along
>> the directions as you are walking. You have the right idea of traveling
>> independently "practice practice practice". After all practice makes
>> perfect.
>> Anmol
>> I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps
>> there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze
>> among flowers.
>> Hellen Keller
>> --- On Sat, 8/14/10, Kerri Kosten <kerrik2006 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> From: Kerri Kosten <kerrik2006 at gmail.com>
>>> Subject: [nabs-l] some more questions...
>>> To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
>>> <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
>>> Date: Saturday, August 14, 2010, 6:28 PM
>>> Hi All!!
>>> I have some more questions!
>>> First, I have decided to get a braille watch. My friend has
>>> a Seko
>>> watch which she says is very good, but I can't find it in
>>> the NFB
>>> Independence market. She told me that they have stopped
>>> making this
>>> kind of watch. When I looked at the watches online in the
>>> independence
>>> market there were like three different ones ranging in
>>> price from $45
>>> to like $60-something. I am pretty sure they were all in
>>> the Quartz
>>> brand...so I was wondering what the differences between
>>> different
>>> braille watches are and which one you recomend I get that
>>> is still
>>> being made today lol! I looked at my friends watch at
>>> convention and
>>> she told me how to read time on it so I should do fine in
>>> that area.
>>> How do you know when your cane tip needs changed? I've been
>>> told when
>>> the ring falls off. What does this mean? What ring? I got a
>>> free white
>>> cane from the NFB in January so it came with a tip already
>>> on it. I
>>> bought five tips during convention and have been told how
>>> to put them
>>> on. The reason I am asking about this is I am noticing my
>>> tip is
>>> scratched. It is still on but it's scratched. It's starting
>>> to
>>> stick...it doesn't feel as smooth when I tap...it feels
>>> more rough
>>> somehow...if that makes sense! Does this mean it's wearing
>>> down? If
>>> so, how much should you let it wear down before changing
>>> it?
>>> Also I want to make sure I know how to change
>>> properly...you basically
>>> twist the tip off where the rubber is...and then to put the
>>> new tip on
>>> you just stick the hole of the new tip onto the cane...is
>>> that right?
>>> Is it pretty easy/straightforward or is there anything else
>>> I should
>>> know? Is it hard to get the new tip on or does it fit onto
>>> the cane
>>> easily? Is the old tip hard to twist off? When putting the
>>> new tip on,
>>> do you have to twist it or anything like that? I just want
>>> to make
>>> sure so I'm not left with a cane I can't put a new tip on
>>> lol!
>>> A few weeks ago, I posted about navigating outside, getting
>>> lost, and
>>> going through parking lots. Last week, I decided to try
>>> going to the
>>> dumpster. It went okay, but not the best. When I got to the
>>> open
>>> driveway you have to cross, I tried to center my cane and
>>> go straight.
>>> I must've really veered horribly because I ended up hitting
>>> either a
>>> gate or fence that I had never seen before. Someone helped
>>> me to the
>>> trash (I was going the right way but was on the wrong
>>> side), and I
>>> just had them guide me back to my building but I want to
>>> try it again
>>> and to improve so had some questions. First, is there
>>> anything more I
>>> could do to correct my veering? I tried to center my cane
>>> and walked
>>> faster though I know I could've walked faster than I was.
>>> I've read
>>> that an arc that is even from side to side keeps a person
>>> from veering
>>> to one side or the other. I read how you can measure your
>>> arc by
>>> standing at a doorjamb and tapping the cane from side to
>>> side making
>>> sure the cane hits each side of the doorjamb. I also read
>>> that it
>>> needs to be about shoulder to shoulder. So, I stood at my
>>> doorjamb and
>>> tried tapping my cane from one side to the other. Then, I
>>> put my cane
>>> in front of my right shoulder, tapped it, then tried
>>> tapping in front
>>> of my other shoulder. I noticed that in both instances my
>>> arc became
>>> much much wider. I also noticed I had to kind of
>>> strain...like it felt
>>> as if it was too wide. Basically, it didn't feel natural
>>> somehow...Is
>>> this feeling normal when first starting out? The reason I
>>> am asking
>>> these questions is because the more practice I get with my
>>> cane, the
>>> better, faster, and more efficient I will become. Is there
>>> anything
>>> else I can try to maybe keep from veering so much?
>>> Since I am not yet in training, and haven't had much
>>> practice with a
>>> cane and am very slow and clearly need all the practice I
>>> can get,
>>> when going out when should I take an arm and when should I
>>> use the
>>> cane? I know this question always brings up much debate and
>>> I've been
>>> told it's up to me, but when you haven't had training
>>> what's up to me
>>> isn't always the best because I need practice, practice,
>>> practice. I
>>> know that if I am in a very very noisy place or I want to
>>> talk to
>>> someone/carry on a conversation taking an arm is probably
>>> better but
>>> other than those situations should I be using the cane on
>>> my own? Ever
>>> since convention, when taking someones arm, I always use my
>>> cane on
>>> the other side which is nice but that isn't helping me
>>> gain
>>> confidence, gain trust, and walk faster with the cane. Is
>>> it hard from
>>> the sighted persons perspective to follow or walk beside
>>> them? The
>>> main reason I end up taking an arm so much is I don't want
>>> to put the
>>> sighted person in an uncomfortable situation or irritate
>>> them...
>>> Also,when I am trying to go somewhere, such as the
>>> dumpster,and I end
>>> up getting lost, when a sighted person asks if I need help,
>>> should I
>>> either follow/walk beside them, or get directions and use
>>> my cane or
>>> let them guide me? The reason I am asking this is because
>>> too many
>>> times I have gotten lost when trying to go somewhere. When
>>> someone
>>> assists me, I end up letting them guide me, and then the
>>> next time I
>>> have no idea where to go because I was just guided. At
>>> convention, by
>>> the end of the week, I still had no idea of even which
>>> direction to go
>>> because I was pretty much just guided all the time and I
>>> have a very
>>> hard time of knowing where to go if I don't use my cane on
>>> my own.
>>> I am very sorry to bring this up, or if I offend anyone. I
>>> think once
>>> you've had training, you just know you can do whatever, so
>>> this kind
>>> of thing doesn't matter but for someone just starting
>>> out...I need
>>> practice, practice, practice. And what is always easiest or
>>> just
>>> leaving it up to me isn't always the best for me because I
>>> don't want
>>> to put the sighted person in an uncomfortable situation.
>>> But, if I am
>>> guided all the time I don't get that practice I need!
>>> The few times I have used my cane on my own and either
>>> gotten
>>> directions, or followed someone, I have done very very
>>> well. It gives
>>> me a little sense of pride, motivates me to use my cane
>>> more, and
>>> makes it so I actually like using my cane! For example, my
>>> apartment
>>> complex has a pool. You have to walk a little to get to the
>>> pool. My
>>> parents live nearby, and like to come to the pool
>>> sometimes. They
>>> called me, and I walked to the pool using my cane all on my
>>> own. My
>>> parents were sitting all the way across the pool from the
>>> gate at a
>>> picnic table. Instead of getting up to guide me, my mothers
>>> fiancae
>>> just gave me directions. He told me to keep these poles on
>>> my left
>>> side, and soon enough I came to the picnic table where they
>>> were
>>> sitting. Because of how I used my cane, I successfully told
>>> him just
>>> like that how to reverse and get back to the gate all the
>>> way across
>>> the pool! I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had
>>> been guided.
>>> I know this is a very long, detailed message and I know
>>> I've rambled a
>>> bit...but I wanted to give an example of what I am trying
>>> to ask and
>>> why I am asking these questions!
>>> Thanks so much!
>>> Kerri
>>> _______________________________________________
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> --
> Arielle Silverman
> President, National Association of Blind Students
> Phone:  602-502-2255
> Email:
> nabs.president at gmail.com
> Website:
> www.nabslink.org
> _______________________________________________
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