Our First Experience day was organised in October. Our sighted and visually impaired volunteers learned together in our interactive programme how to keep sensitisation programmes on a high level in accordance with the mission of our Foundation.
We made simulation eye-glasses.
At first, we created seven subgroups. There was a visually mildly or severely impaired volunteer person in each group. The other members of those groups were asked to make simulation glasses which help them to experience how their visually impaired group mate can see the world. In most of the groups there was a blind friend of us as well, who explained the others how he can solve different tasks of his everyday life.
The most important message of this task was that when we talk about people with visual impairment it is not only about blind people but about people with mildly or severely impaired vision. We called the attention to the fact that depending how those people are able to use their remained vision, and in what circumstances, they may need help or a guide-dog as well as a blind person needs.
During completing this task visually able and impaired people had open and informal communication about how the remained vision helps and what is already difficult in everyday life, as this was needed to make the simulation glasses. To give further help to complete the task, previously asked questions were answered by the visually impaired persons, such as:
- Can you use your remained vision in traffic? If yes, what part of the day, in what light circumstances
- Can you watch TV, if yes from what distance?
- Would you able to recognize familiar person’s face? If yes, from what distance, in what light circumstances?
That’s why the sighted guide technique is useful
In the following time the participants were divided into two subgroups. The participants of one of the subgroups learned the sighted guide technique, which showed how to help a visually impaired person if for example he wanted to cross the street or if he wanted us to escort him somewhere.
Let’s imagine a busy street or a building full of obstacles and doors. How we would help a visually impaired person not to barge into anything or anyone? This technique includes how we should start to communicate with the visually impaired person, how we should offer our help. This is very useful in everyday life, and our volunteers acquired it so they can introduce it to others from now on.
What an artificial dog can be?
Meanwhile, the other group could try the „artificial dog”. The harness of a guide-dog was used, with the help of a person who was able to see, anyone could get experience how it feels to walk with a guide dog. Demonstrator and our dogs being under training leads those who are interested in our sensitising programmes. The trained guide dogs for blind can only guide their own owners. Therefore the „artificial dog” is used in case a blind or visually severely impaired person and one of our volunteer carry out sensitising programme.
After this part of the day the two subgroups changed their activities to enable everyone to experience the whole repertoire.
With the help of our visually impaired colleague, we held a mini sensitizing programme in the following part. Our volunteers could share their experience and observation. They could ask such questions for each other which they always wanted to get the answer to. Among others, how a blind person dreams who has never seen and if he knew what like the colours are. The day was closed with an interesting „forest game”, which can be played mostly in primary school classes. There were people who played the role to be the trees of the forest, the others were calling the persons to the other side of the “forest”, and the one who was supposed to get through the forest by covered eyes and using white cane, to reach the callers.
We are grateful for our volunteers that so many of them participated and they were enthusiastic. Thanks for Yettel for providing the place for us to keep our First Experience day.