[NABS-L] Spatial Orientation Experiences

Amy Albin amyralbin at gmail.com
Mon Jul 29 22:19:16 UTC 2019

Hi All,

I know that spatial orientation has been discussed on here before, but
I was just curious if anyone’s experiences are similar to mine. I’ve
been totally blind since birth.

So the way I am, I can't make a mental map. I think in words rather
than pictures. So for instance, if you told me to imagine I'm facing
my desk, then asked where is my bedroom door. I don't actually imagine
the desk and how I turn to get to the door, even though I've lived
here long enough I do it automatically. Instead I think, hmm. I know
the desk is on the west wall, and the door is on the north wall. North
is to the right of west, so therefore the door is to my right.

It's like instead of just picturing my bedroom, I have to solve a
logic puzzle in my head, and I do it completely verbally. So if that
is for my tiny bedroom, you can imagine how it is for a big hotel or a
college campus. And then, well, the campus zig zags. So you can't just
walk north, or make sensible 90 degree turns at actual defined
corners. It's north, west, back north, now a little northwest... So
then I just follow landmarks. But when I do left and right, I don't
get the full idea because left and right change relative to the
person, so I'd much rather use cardinal directions.

I compensate by learning routes and taking notes I can study like a
cookbook recipe. Like:

1. Leave the student center at the back exit.
2. With the door behind me, walk forward and to the left, diagnol about 10 feet.
3. Follow the benches on the left. It's one bench, a garbage can, then
another bench... And so on.

But when I'm writing that description of a college campus, I'm not
really picturing myself walking out the door and doing that, or if I
am, the image is extremely dim. It's all the words that I wrote that
are the way I think about it.

I am working with a wonderful teacher to help me learn spatial
concepts. However, if anyone has similar experiences and/or
suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!


Amy Albin

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