Hang in there! Winter is almost over!
Today's "Welcome Wednesday" is Brian Switzer - Deafblind Athlete.
Brian has been featured in the Alaskan Dispatch News and Runner’s World for his running exploits. He runs with the help of human guides and his running guide dog, Intrigue.
He was on the first team of all blind and visually impaired athletes to successfully complete a Ragnar Relay Ultra. He ran in the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon. He is most known for running in the Equinox Marathon with his human guide, Marco, in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness! It is widely considered to be the fifth toughest marathon in the world.
Brian runs to raise awareness of Usher Syndrome and the abilities of people with disabilities. He also runs to support charities like the Usher Syndrome Coalition.
In April, he will be running in Genoa, Italy with fellow DeafBlind athlete, Alessandro! The adventure will be highlighted on Brian’s Facebook page.
Time for another Welcome Wednesday and today is "Swanson's Holistic Hands".
Gina Swanson provides holistic medicine tips in blogs/vlogs, workshops, and Holistic Life Coaching sessions in American Sign Language.
Gina is a Reiki Master and has 19 certificates from Reiki Rays Institute as well as certified by the International Center for Reiki Training.
She offers Holistic Practice training in Reiki, Essential Oils, Stones and Chakras all in ASL.
To find out more or to book a session, contact her by email at Swanson Holistic Hands.
Let's support a fellow Deafblind business owner!
While living every day with severe hearing and vision loss, or learning how to cope with your new loss and be self-sufficient in your own home, adapting your living environment to accommodate your daily needs becomes paramount.
Among other rooms in the house that have varying hazard levels, the bathroom stands out as one of the most dangerous home environments for those with vision loss.
The bathroom regularly has slippery floors, handles, walls and other surfaces that a deafblind person might have a difficult time noticing. Moreover, standard bathroom amenities need to be replaced with adequate pieces that will help the deafblind individual stay safe and use the bathroom easily on a daily basis.
Here are the five essential bathroom adaptations for deafblind people.
Clean and Simple
The easiest and most affordable adaptation is regularly making sure your bathroom is clean and clutter-free in order to avoid the risk of slips and falls. One of your worst enemies is clutter, and it can accumulate quite fast if you’re not careful.
The first thing you need to do is to declutter your living environment, including the bathroom, and leave plenty of room for easy and safe maneuvering. Be sure to memorize where your bathroom necessities are and always put them back in their place after use. Remember, organization is key.
Start with the Flooring
When looking to introduce adaptations to your bathroom, you should turn your attention to the floors first. The floor can be the most dangerous part of your bathroom, so you want to make sure you introduce non-slip flooring, as well as non-slip mats in the shower and bath.
Another great way to increase the overall safety of your bathroom is to put non-slip fabrics on the edges of your bathroom amenities as well in order to be able to grab every surface without the fear of it being wet or slippery. Make sure you cover the vanity, and the bathtub.
Choose the right Amenities
Speaking of amenities, they need to be able to accommodate your specific needs. This means that you should choose sturdy and durable white baths that contrast the surrounding design, making them easier to locate and use. Likewise, you want to outline the vanity in a distinctive color in order to avoid slips and falls.
If you have storage space or electric appliances, such as the washing machine, in your bathroom, make sure you highlight all of the important areas in hues you can easily discern. You can even put markers on handles and buttons in order to be able to use your appliances with ease.
Colors and Contrasts
In order to transform your bathroom into a safe, warm, and friendly environment, you will need to use colors and contrasts to your advantage. It’s important to divide your bathroom into sections and give every detail its own distinctive color, or even group several different things under one hue.
This will allow you to use the power of contrasts to your advantage, and navigate your bathroom safely. In order to make contrasts work, you want to make sure the bathroom is adequately illuminated at all times.
Install Safety Features
Finally, if your loss is recent and you're still coping and learning to get around on your own, you may feel safer installing safety fixtures. Be sure to install handrails in the bath, the shower, and around the toilet and the sink. You also want to mount a durable seat in your bathtub in order to minimize the risk of injury.
Depending on the severity of your condition, you might also want to cover the rails and other safety fixtures with easily distinguishable color markers as well in order to avoid missing them by accident.
Living with vision and hearing loss doesn’t have to be an arduous task; in fact, by following these essential tips, you will have no problem transforming your bathroom into a safe, and serene oasis you can enjoy for decades to come.
Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people.
That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smoothdecorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time.
Today's Spotlight is on eSight.
Who is eSight?
eSight transforms the way in which individuals with legal blindness experience the world around them, by allowing them to actually see it. As an organization, eSight is guided by the fundamental principle that Everyone Deserves to See. And this bold vision has been made a reality with its breakthrough pair of electronic glasses that allow the legally blind to actually see, be mobile, and participate in virtually all Activities of Daily Living.
What is eSight?
eSight is a breakthrough pair of electronic glasses that enables individuals living with legal blindness and low vision to actually see. Crucially, it provides sight, without the need for surgery. When a person with legal blindness puts eSight on, they are able to see in virtually the same manner as someone who is "normally sighted". eSight is the only clinically validated wearable device in existence that allows individuals with legal blindness to see, be mobile, work for a living, study, and engage in virtually all facets of their everyday life. These incredibly powerful electronic glasses record high-speed, high-resolution video from a camera positioned in the centre of eSight, to capture what the wearer is looking at in real time. Proprietary algorithms enhance the high definition video feed and displays it on two near-to-eye OLED screens in front of the user's eyes with unprecedented visual clarity and without any perceptible latency or delay. eSight's patented Bioptic Tilt capability also allows wearers to be completely mobile while using the device; so they can be completely independent and participate in virtually all Activities of Daily Living. Other features available to eSight users to maximize their visual experience include: unprecedented control over contrast, focus, and brightness; magnification (24x); and hyper-connectivity with Bluetooth, WiFI and HDMI capabilities.
eSight is available in 42 countries (and counting) An individual can try eSight, risk-free, before they make a full-purchase.
For further information on how to start one's eSight journey, please reach out to one of our Vision Advocates at eSightEyewear.com/Next-Steps or call 1.855.8eSight (1.855.837.4448).
Today is #WorldBrailleDay where we celebrate Braille Literacy and Learning!
We all know what Braille is....
We've seen it on just about every signage on doors, walls, and a multitude of other places.
While I was surfing Twitter I came across this tweet:
This made me sad, these teachers and counselors forget a major group that's usually dependent on Braille - the Deafblind.
Sure, there are some Deafblind individuals who can rely on their limited hearing for auditory input from audiobooks and screenreaders. Then there are some Deafblind who can read enlarged print (like myself). But that doesn't help those who don't have this capability.
Did you know that many Blind and Deafblind are lagging behind in school and colleges because their textbooks and materials aren't readily available in a Braille format? Thanks to technology like the refreshable braille display this problem is being remedied to a point.
These refreshable braille displays are not cheap - they range from $3,500 to $15,000, depending on the number of characters displayed. Some are complete "notetakers" with computing capabilities, while others plug into a USB port on your computer and acts as a keyboard/screenreader.
Thanks to an organization called iCanConnect - the National Deafblind Equipment Distribution Program - Deafblind individuals can obtain equipment and software to help "connect" with their family, friends and the world around them.
Deborah Kendrick summed up why we need Braille in her article in the Braille Monitor and I agree!
Can y'all help me out and support braille literacy through the Braille Institute?
Everyone enjoys a good homemade meal, but before you can dig in, you have to prepare it first. Cooking can be a hard task, especially if you have vision or hearing loss. However, if you only make a few adjustments to your kitchen and get a few aids, you’ll be preparing delicious meals in no time.
Here’s what you can do to create a functional kitchen for people with vision and hearing loss.
If you want to make cooking and navigating your kitchen even easier, you might consider removing all sharp edges and opt for rounded tables and countertops. These will cause less painful bumps and fewer spills caused by bumping into something.
Also, pay attention to how you orient your pot and pan handles on the stove, since knocking them can cause severe burns. Additionally, make sure you don’t have any wires and cables over the floor because they can be serious trip hazards.
Smooth and shiny surfaces for countertops, flooring and appliances easily reflect light and create glare. Additionally, glass cabinet doors and clear glasses can also cause glare, but more importantly, they are completely invisible which makes them a hazard unless you mark them clearly.
Adjust the lighting
When you have vision loss, every space needs ample and appropriate lighting, especially a kitchen with all those knives and appliances. Increased illumination makes it easier for people with low vision to navigate their kitchen and prepare food.
On the other hand, poor lighting increases the risk of falls, bumps and even more serious accidents. So, your best bet is to invest in good lighting for your kitchen. Fluorescent strip lights with diffusers offer great distribution of light while spotlights direct ample light in all directions.
Also, bringing light closer to the task at hand is a great way to improve visibility. For instance, installing strip lighting under the kitchen cabinets will provide good lighting in the countertop area. You can also install some lighting in your cupboards and on the shelves for easier food identification. If you combine these lighting fixtures with some standard lamps and hanging pendants, you’ll get a well-illuminated space ready for meal prep.
Another way to make food preparation easier for people with vision loss is to create contrasts. Painting doors, cabinets and walls in contrasting colors with respect to the rest of the room will make them stand out more and make the space easier to navigate.
You can opt for neutral colors and go with dark colors against bright colors (black and white contrast, for instance) but combining darker and lighter shades of the same color can also work, it all depends on your vision level and your personal preference. You can also invest in appliances that have contrasting surfaces such as colorful Viking refrigerators that come in icy white, black, gray, red, blue and beige. Additionally, get contrasting cooking utensils, such as chopping boards, bowls and knives, which will also make it much easier to locate and handle them.
When choosing appliances, make sure they have some sort of contrast on controls to make setting the dials and pressing the buttons simpler. You can also use tactile markers, such as bump-ons or Velcro dots, and apply them to the controls.
Adapting the kitchen for hearing loss
People with limited or no hearing can also benefit from some easy kitchen adaptations. The main issue in the kitchen is the fire alarm. However, there are gadgets that will send visual signals instead of audio ones if there is a fire situation in the kitchen.
People who are deafblind can find vibrating pagers that will alert them of any kitchen happenings, from fire alarms to oven timers. All of these easy fixes will make cooking a much easier, safer and less stressful experience for people with hearing loss.
Don’t be afraid to venture into cooking waters. These kitchen safety tips will keep you safe, so all you need is some inspiration and a good appetite.