[NABS-L] Spatial Orientation Experiences

Amy Albin amyralbin at gmail.com
Tue Jul 30 01:19:19 UTC 2019

Thanks, Vejas.

Also, out of curiosity, did you have trouble as a kid with things like
buttoning, tying shoes, etc?

On 7/29/19, Vejas Vasiliauskas via NABS-L <nabs-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> 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,
> Vejas
>> 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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