[NABS-L] Spatial Orientation Experiences

Vejas Vasiliauskas alpineimagination at gmail.com
Tue Jul 30 01:09:14 UTC 2019

Hi Amy,
I'm also totally blind and had always had issues with spatial orientation.
I find it difficult to create mental maps. Tactile maps aren't helpful for me because I can't translate the page into my mental map, although if they work for you that's great.
What helps me is to write a route down. For example, this week I have an intensive program on a campus I have been to, but that is in a building I haven't. My mom and I went to the campus ahead of time and did it a couple times. I took intensive notes on what to do and where to turn. This way, even though I can't necessarily remember the whole route yet, I still have the notes that I can rely on. 
Of course, if you get lost you can always feel free to ask for help if you can't find it, but this can really maxime your independence and boost your confidence.
Hope this helps,
> On 29 Jul 2019, at 15:19, Amy Albin via NABS-L <nabs-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> 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!
> Best,
> Amy Albin
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