[blindkid] O&M maps
CThomson at StrategicAmerica.com
Tue Aug 18 12:06:02 UTC 2009
Wonderful insight Carrie, thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom!!
From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Carrie Gilmer
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 12:28 PM
To: 'NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children)'
Subject: Re: [blindkid] O&M maps
Once while in Washington DC for our NFB causes I was traveling with two
blind adult Minnesotans who are excellent travelers and who had been to DC
and who had for years traveled around the capitol and congressional office
buildings. I found a tactile model map of the area and the mall, everything
was labeled in Braille and had model buildings on it--it was a great piece
of work for both sighted and blind to get a mental map of the whole picture.
They were very excited to see it, they learned something new (as did I) and
all three of us got a better mental map of the whole thing in proportion and
how buildings and streets within the larger picture related to each other.
I know several good travel instructors who use felt boards and tactile maps
to lay out intersections for the simple and new concepts to a novice
traveler and also maps to gain a bird's eye view just as sighted people do
to get the whole picture and form a mental map. We have done this with our
kids at Saturday school too. We have a large 4 story mansion for our center,
you can get "lost" in the details and not grasp the whole picture--I think
you miss something if you don't have both. Exploration of details and a map
I believe work together to form a complete mental map--they enhance each
other. Of course you need GOOD and accurate maps.
That said, What is "a lot of time"? For a familiar large building, once or
twice looking at the map should do it--or a periodic few minute review
perhaps if the school is very large and laid out unusually or if he is
having difficulty finding his way. Even for an unfamiliar place a couple of
times looking at it--or a quick review before heading out--in the same way a
sighted person might review a map of something. Some (of all kinds) people
have trouble with maps and never learned to read them--or have trouble
transferring the concept of the whole to their route within it--for others
who have trouble with direction I have found learning to read a map has been
really beneficial in them forming a mental map (sighted and blind) and thus
their route within it.
Once at a Saturday school a parent did not want to bring their child. He had
autism and the mother said-he can not read maps, he will never travel alone,
this class will not be relevant to us. I encouraged her strongly anyway and
they came. We had a tactile outline of the room (which was not rectangular),
he grasped the concept that the tactile line was the shape of the room. I
had a model house with removable stairs. I handed him the stairs--he
commented "oh this is stairs", we talked about how his house was different
from the model--where the placement of the front door was for example. His
parents were shocked at how much he understood and knew (they were even
living in a new house). It completely changed how they approached his travel
and their expectations for what he could do. It also made them realize that
he could/should! have independence and knowledge WITHIN supervised travel. I
have set up tables (square) and we all walked around them getting an idea of
the several block radius and buildings before we go out--it really enhanced
their comprehension (the really 'smart' kids too).
I am unsure of the value of him creating (or reading) maps of the school
(why not more and new places?) at length--unless he was really having
trouble grasping the concept of the whole. Was this to teach him to create
maps? I can't speak to how often blind people create their own
maps--honestly I have never heard someone mentioning doing it, so I will be
very interested to hear.
Carrie Gilmer, map lover :)
(BTW: so glad to hear you finally got an answer for David's headaches and
it was not something really bad or difficult to treat)
From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Sally Thomas
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 9:00 AM
To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)
Subject: [blindkid] O&M maps
I'm curious about the use of orientation maps by blind people. My son's O&M
instructor has him spend a lot of time creating tactile maps of his school.
Do others do this? Do people use this kind of map in every day life? It
doesn't make a lot of sense to me--if he is familiar with the environment
why does he need a map? If he's not, wouldn't exploration be a good way to
learn about the building?
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