Summer Johnson, a student with a visual impairment in Region 13, shares some common misconceptions she has encountered through personal experience about being blind/blindness.
The general population does not have much exposure to blindness and is often misinformed by portrayals in the media and entertainment. I am a high school student with visual impairments, and these are some of the most common misconceptions I have encountered.
Misconceptions About Being Blind/Blindness
- We don’t have superhero-heightened senses, but we learn to rely on them to access information efficiently.
- Visual impairment and blindness is a spectrum, not all or nothing. A person’s vision can vary and get better or worse over time.
- I’m not inspirational just for existing. I am amazing but for other reasons.
- Blindness isn’t the only aspect of our lives. Just like the average person, we have hobbies, talents, families, achievements, and other hardships that contribute to our journeys. Our vision is only a very small glimpse into our lives.
- We can live independent lives. Though there are things that may make it more challenging when living independently as a blind person, there are many resources we can rely on to combat the struggles we face. New technology advancements have also made the world easier to access for those who cannot see.
- Visual impairment and blindness do not automatically indicate the presence of other disabilities.
- Blind people navigate their environments independently using public transportation, stairs, escalators, etc. The choice is up to them!
- It’s okay to use visual language and say things like “Look at this” or “Let me see.” It is not triggering or offensive in any way. Blind people actually use visual language in our daily conversations.
- Please don’t ask a blind person if they know sign language. Most of us don’t because we are unable to see. That said, many people who are Deafblind may use manual signs to communicate.
For similar content, read Summer Johnson’s blog post about the Dos and Don’ts for Teaching VI Students.