Blogging is a very popular hobby. It seems like everyone writes down their thoughts publicly nowadays. There are blogs about absolutely everything, from breeding worms to collecting stamps, and from traveling through Siberia to getting out of teaching. Blogs have also become an important avenue for organizations and agencies to pass along essential information.
Have visually impaired people jumped onto this bandwagon? The answer to that question is of course that they have. There are many blogs that are written by people who have many different disabilities including blind authors, proving that blogging is for everyone.
How does a blind person build a blog? What are blind bloggers writing about and how many of them are there?
The Internet has changed over the past 25 years, and increasing use of audio, as well as improved assistive technology, have enabled blind individuals to gain access to this modern wonder of the world.
A man by the name of Tom Lorimer has a website called http://www.whitestick.co.uk/. A white stick is the cane that is used by visually impaired people and helps them to navigate around town. WhiteStick.co.uk was appropriately named because it is dedicated to disseminating information that is useful to the blind person. One feature that stands out and makes this site helpful is that it has a page where blind bloggers can post links to their blogs.
Another fascinating blog is www.LivingBlindBlog.com. This resource that was created by Stephie2010. She started the site in an attempt to bridge the gap between sighted and blind people. Stephie has many guest bloggers who write about the topic of the day. She has a regular schedule of topics that she writes on such as Tuesday is technology day. Technology can include just about anything such as websites, gadgets, or other helpful technology. Wednesday is the day when she or one of her guest bloggers answers questions submitted by her readers.
Bernadette Bannister publishes an online blog that she calls Positive Living. The blog can be found at http://positiveliving85.blogspot.com/. It is also posted on the blog roll of whitestick.co.uk. Bannister is a published author. Her novel is about a woman who becomes blind and must learn to deal with her new sightless world.
Of course, Bannister doesn’t stop there. Other entries are about the importance of communication in relationships. She also likes to write about her seeing eye dog, Zora. She even named her social group for blind people after her dog, the Zora Explorers. She met husband Phil at a meeting of the Zora Explorers.
Elizabeth Clarke has a blog called Living with RP. This blog can be found at https://livingwithrp.com/, or it can also be accessed at the Whitestick blog roll. She has an entry entitled “ableism.” Ableism is defined as “discrimination against people with disabilities” (Dictionary.com).
In this blog post, Clarke discusses her thoughts on gradually losing her sight. She goes into great detail about her descent from the sighted to the unsighted world and how people are beginning to treat her differently.
In another post Clarke discusses society’s fear of blindness. She brings up a good point when she says that losing your sight causes more anxiety than do most conditions, except of course cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Clarke goes on in a compelling argument to dispel myths about blindness, especially the idea that someone who has no vision is helpless and unintelligent.
D.M. Gutierrez publishes his blog entitled Writing Blind at http://writingblind.com. A link to his blog can also be found at whitestick.com.
Gutierrez was not born blind; rather he had to deal with a degenerative retinal condition. He was not officially classified as blind until the age of 18.
Gutierrez blogged about how assistive technology has helped him in his writing career and how his writing career would not be possible if he did not have these devices.
Gutierrez also contributes to a blogging website entitled https://crackinthewip.com. Here he writes about things that lots of authors do, and his articles about writing are useful to all aspiring and practicing writers.
Useful Blogs for Blind People
The second focus is how blogs can help visually impaired people. Are there any blogs that focus on helping someone who is blind to find the resources that they need, or that can improve the quality of life?
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has a website that features many resources for anyone with vision loss. The resources include many different guides:
- Finding a job if you are blind or partially sighted
- Help for families of blind people
- Guidance for professionals who deal with blind individuals
- Assistive technology updates and developments
The Royal National Institute of Blind People site (http://www.rnib.org.uk/) has additional help on maintaining your ability to read, a library, independent living and gainful employment.
What Can Blind People Blog About?
The blogs mentioned here are about blindness, but a blind blogger can write about anything, just like any other blogger. Having no vision may be a part of a writer’s persona, but it does not have to define the individual.
Any blind person has a multitude of interests in many different fields and may choose to blog about any of them, rather than just on their blindness. Blind people can do many of the same things as sighted people, and blogging is one way to help spread that idea.
Bridging the Gap
Charities such as the Tej Kohli Foundation do great work in training blind people to adapt to their environment and funding a corneal replacement for those who can benefit from it but who have no money to fund the operation.
Many blind people have deteriorative conditions that have caused their blindness. They have had normal sight at one time and have a knowledge of the visual world. Sighted people can gain insight into the world of blindness by meeting and talking with those who are visually impaired, and we need to do much more in this area.