[nfb-talk] NEW THOUGHT PROVOKER #146- Blindness Makes Your otherSenses Stronger

tribble lauraeaves at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 1 20:42:07 UTC 2009

lol -- well is this thought provoker about blindness and the other senses, 
or about the intelligence of a cat?
But back to the topic at hand, I usually tell people that a blind person's 
senses are not necessarily more acute than a sighted person's, but the blind 
person of necessity learns to listen for nonvisual cues.
I especially don't like when people try to put the super-sensitivity label 
on me, especially since I have a sever-to-profound hearing loss that 
thankfully is correctable by hearing aids -- my hearing is NOT sharper. It 
actually scares me that some sighted person will assume I hear better than I 
I once read the biography of Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan by the historian 
Lash (can't remember his first name or the title of the book). It was quite 
an excellent read by the way, if you are looking for a good bio to read.
But in this book, Lash mentions that someone did a study with Helen to see 
if her senses of smell, taste and touch were indeed more acute, and it 
turned out they were not.  What was especially interesting was Helen's 
reaction -- she was disappointed.  She was able to identify many smells and 
tastes, but the test showed her accuity was not significantly different from 
the average sighted person.  The fact that Helen was able to navigate the 
world so well and identify smells, tastes and objects, with the same accuity 
as a sighted person who was not able to match her skill, actually is more 
complimentary than if the test had identified her as supersensitive.  She 
just liked the stereotype of the supersensitive blind person.
Well, breathe deep and enjoy the view...*smile*
--Laura Eaves
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert Newman" <newmanrl at cox.net>
To: "nfbtalk" <NFB-talk at NFBnet.org>
Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 4:30 AM
Subject: [nfb-talk] NEW THOUGHT PROVOKER #146- Blindness Makes Your 
otherSenses Stronger

NFBtalk friends
RE:  Blindness Makes Your Other Senses Stronger

This THOUGHT PROVOKER is about one of the more common misconceptions that I
and you all experience out on the street (maybe at home too). I've learned
to explain it --- how about you? There is some truth to it, right? If you
have not read the PROVOKER, it follows.  Recall that I collect responses and
post them upon my web site for all the WWW to read and learn from and that
URL is- Http://thoughtprovoker.info <http://thoughtprovoker.info/>   If you
wish to receive THOUGHT PROVOKERS sent directly to you, just write me and
ask, at-  newmanrl at cox.net

Blindness Makes Your Other Senses Stronger

 "Blindness has made your other senses stronger," said my friend.

"How many times have I heard that one? Let me count the ways." I was out
running errands and had bumped into a friend. She hadn't seen me for a
while; once after I was newly blinded, going through lots of heartache and
adjustment, But not since blindness training. Our conversation had started
out with catching up, then too predictably morphed exclusively into my
blindness. This "blindness and senses" thing had come as I was trying to
change the topic by mentioning I could smell Lilacs.

Back on task, I got moving; had many errands to complete before heading
home. The reunion with my friend had occurred in an open-air courtyard,
nestled in the center of a local shopping mall. Re-entering the roofed
section, still thinking about my friend's opinion that my sense of smell was
keener than the norm, I started giving my cane an extra hard tap. My
immediate goal was a pet store and knowing from past trips, that its door
was recessed, I knew I could locate it if I could get a good echo read on

"May I help you?" A woman's voice in my path startled me. Then an opening
door to the right brought the sound of birds and puppies.

 "ah, thanks, no." Pointing to the pet store. "I just heard what I'm looking

"Oh --- ah," the woman responded, first in puzzlement, then realization. "I
am always so amazed what you people can hear!"

In the store- "I've heard that some of you can feel color." Says the sales
clerk. I was rubbing the cloth of a cat blanket between thumb and
forefinger; she had come over to answer a few questions I had.

In a different Isle, lifting a package of cat treats to my nose for a quick
smell (knowing how picky my cat Catty is), I jerked it away. Thinking, "OH
MY GOD, get caught, she's going to ask me if you want to taste these?"

Later- "Catty, I'm home. Brought you a present." My cat was a medium size
short-hair tabby and we had a great relationship. Listening for the silvery
tinkle of her collar bell, knowing her movements were so smooth that sound
may not herald her arrival. Since my blindness, Catty had taken to giving me
more physical contact than before. The cutest example is when she will reach
out with a paw to touch me, as though she knew I could not see her and it is
her way of saying, "Here I am." And I heard nothing until the warm length of
her rubbed against my legs. Setting my purchases down on the hall table I
picked her up and stroked her soft coat.

"Okay, down girl. We've got other duties. Tomorrow we have company and we've
got to get this place sparkling."

First was to get the vacuum sweeper going. I had one of those robotic
sweepers, and it did a great job; my nickname for it is Robby. It is a
wheeled, flat disk that is 3.5 inches tall by 13 across and looks like a
ground-hugging flying saucer. With its motorized wheels churning and its
primitive robotic brain processing, it would independently travel around a
room in a random pattern and though it took longer to complete the job, the
key was, it was doing it while you went off and did something else. I pushed
its start button, sending it off to do its job; closing the doors to the
living room to box it in.

Later, I ran across my package from this morning and discovered the blanket
I had bought for Catty. I walked all through the house calling for her;
didn't hear a single TINK of her bell.

IN the living room, Robby was still tracking back and forth doing his thing,
and still no Catty. I started to worry, "Had she gotten out?" Thinking,
"Where were those" near super heightened senses when you need them?"
Standing there, Robby came trundling up and as he went by, I felt a familiar
touch on my bare leg. "Catty!" That darn cat was riding Robby!

Read through the above short story and send me your thoughts at:
newmanrl at cox.net  Recall that I place all responses upon my web site as soon
as I receive them for all the world to read and learn from and that web site
url is http://www.thoughtprovoker.info <http://www.thoughtprovoker.info/>
What IT IS AND HOW IT WORKS: Thought Provoker is an
independent e-mail discussion forum with the purpose to aid in the effort to
change what it means to be blind. Participants, both readers and writers
share their honest feelings and we learn from each other.  I Robert Leslie
Newman am the author and moderator.  At this time a new PROVOKER runs for
four weeks.  THOUGHT PROVOKER can be sent directly to anyone who contacts me
with a request to join the THOUGHT PROVOKER mailing list.  Otherwise I post
VISUAL IMPAIRMENT" for all in the WWW to read and learn from.  In Addition,
all past PROVOKERS are posted there and can be responded to as well.  I do
insert commentary after some responses.  But more importantly know that I do
not edit anyone's response other than run them through a spell checker and
that's not perfect.            Responses can be written to the Provoker
itself or to the responses of others.  Think about it, if you feel that any
response is not complete or does not fully convey the right philosophy,
write in and give your feelings, provoke thought.  There again, if you do
choose to respond on the comments of another, take issue with the content
and not the person.
     For now it is optional to have your name and any other personal
information placed with your response.  You write what you want us to know.
I do feel giving your occupational status and/or location is important (your
city, state or region and country).
In regard to a definition of blindness, I am taking the
broad view that blindness is any level of vision loss which is affecting the
individual functionally, emotionally, socially, economically, politically,
     If you feel this forum would be of value to another, pass the address
on.  Additionally, if you no longer wish to receive Provokers, advise me of
that fact and I will honor it.
Finally, I give my permission to use this material to
educate others.  Do give credit back to the forum and the respondent.  Thank

Robert Leslie Newman
Email- newmanrl at cox.net

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