Happy Thanks Giving and What I’m Thankful For Part 3

by Chelsey Zumpano

I’m writing this while the delicious smell of turkey fills my house. Here’s another list of what I’m thankful for.

1 I’m surrounded by a loving family. My family is all healthy and happy.

2 My animals may drive us all crazy sometimes, but I love them anyway.

4 That I have a ruth over my head and food to eat.

5 I’m thankful for this Blog and YouTube and that I’m able to educate and help people with every new post.

6 I’m thankful for every new follower, like, subscriber, comment, and share.

7 I’m thankful for my vision and the fact that being legally blind means I get to help others in our community.

8 My cane helps me get around and for people to recognize me as blind.

9 My coping skills for my anxiety is something I’m extremely grateful for.

10 The fact I will be applying for a guide dog very soon.

Tell me what your thankful for in the comments.

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com

We Need Representation!

by Chelsey Zumpano

A girl walking in the ocean with her white cane out in front of her. She is wearing a red baseball hat, her brown hair in a ponytail, purple sun glasses, Christmas tree earrings, a purple sweater, and blue jeans.

(painting credit goes to Chelsey Zumpano).

Representation is extremely important because it allows you to see yourself in that character, to identify with their experiences, to have a character just like you, and to not feel alone. I know of a lot of LGBTQ representation from Korra and Assami who are bisexual and girlfriends from The Legend of Korra,’ Nico  di Angelo coming out as gay in Rick Riordan’s ‘Heros of Olympus,’ and my favorite character Alex Fierro being Gender Fluid and Transgender in ‘Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard’ by Rick Riordan. Then I can name to characters on the Autism Spectrum Sam from ‘Atypical’ and Shaun Murphy from ‘The Good Doctor'” But there is very little representation of characters who are blind.

Imagine all those lives the characters touched and helped come out, accept themself, or give them hope that they can do more then they think! Now imagine you were born blind, or you just lost your sight or discovered that you were going to lose it over time. You need something to show it’s okay and to help accept yourself. No matter what your trying to accept about yourself you need a little help getting there.

I can only think of three characters that are blind!

• Matt Murdock ‘Daredevil’

Now I haven’t watched much of ‘Daredevil’ and so far the representation is okay. Matt lost his sight from radioactive chemicals, (which according to google), gave him super heightened senses. The fact that his senses are heightened is lots better, then just Hollywood making it out like us blind are all super humans. But the one thing I don’t like is that there’s this seen where matt’s two friends are on a date and they are touching each other’s face, “to see how Matt sees” and no that’s not a thing we do! Please don’t add that in movies’ books or TV shows! If we want to know what you look like describe yourself to us. The reason why I think people think we do this is because Helen Keller, (who was both deaf and blind), so she had to touch people’s lips to feel what they were saying. (Don’t quote me on that because I saw it on facebook, so correct me if I’m wrong about her touching people’s lips).

• Toph BeiFong from ‘Avatar the last Airbender’

Toph was born blind and her parents treated her like she was helpless, but she proved them wrong by learning earthbending from the Badgermoles and she then uses this ability to do echolocation by feeling the vibrations in the earth. She secretly participates in Earthbending tournaments where she has several wins. She then goes to teach Aang Earthbending, (against her parentts wishes). She becomes the first metalbender and starts an academy for it. In ‘The Legend of Korra’ she was the former police chief and raised two daughters.

• Ethan Nakamura from ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ by Rick Riordan

Ethan was a Demigod son of the Greek Goddess Nemesis. Nemesis is the Goddess of balance, retribution, and revenge. Epan’s mother promised him that he’d one day balance the world’s power in exchange for his left eye. He proves just because you have a visual impairment that doesn’t mean you can’t fight with a sword and we can be on either side of a war.

That is only three characters, from three different medias and genres. There needs to be way more! Here are some tips for having a blind character.

• Having your character move your cane from side, to side out in front of them in an ark gives lots more tactile feed back because your keeping constant contact with the ground.

• Less then 10 percent of blind people do not have any light perception at all.

• I personaly wear regular glasses, (with out any prescription), to protect my eyes and sun glasses because my eyes have truble adjusting when I go in and out, so keep in mind that others could have light sensitivity as well. I also wear reading glasses when drawing to help with blurryness.

• Guide dogs do not see traffic lights and so the handler has to tell the dog when to go by listening to the trafic, but the dog can stop if there’s a car right in front of them.

• When using a phone I have the brightness and text at 100 percent. I also use VoiceOver, (which is a screen reader for IOS).

• If your character is in main stream school they will have an IEP, (Individual Education Plan), and this is for kids and teens with disabilities to get extra help and accommodations You can read about mine in ‘My true story growing up visionally impaired.’

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com

In the comments let me know of some good movies, books, or TV shows with a blind character.

Purple Tuesday UK: Accessible Shopping

by Chelsey Zumpano

Chelsey wearing a purple sweater, purple leggings, purple cat-eye glasses, and gray boots. She has her orange, blue, and yellow cane in her right hand.

Purple Tuesday is on November 13th in the UK and is an accessible shopping day for those of us with disabilities. I think this is a great starting point and should be an on going thing! Now I’m not in the UK, but I’m in the US and I’m going to give some of my tips to make shopping accessible for us blind.

1 Treat us like everyone else and ask us if we need help when we walk in the store.

2 Say I’m looking for a sweater and you say, “It’s over there.” Yeah don’t do that! Take me to the sweaters by doing sighted guide, “my hand on your arm just above your elbow.” I can also follow you or you can tell me where the sweaters are by saying, “The sweaters are to racks to your left.”

3 If I ask what colors you have, then you describe them to me. Don’t just say, “it’s purple.” Say, “It’s dark purple with red tones.”

4 Then when I’m paying let me know where the card reader is. I can put my pin in myself, and let me know if it asks me for cash back. If the keypad doesn’t have the little dot on the five, I’ll do credit instead. Then you will direct me where to sign.

5 Please let me know what bag you put the receipt in. When handing me the bags make sure you hand me both handles.

6 When shopping online please have ALT text on your pictures and this allows you to add image desscriptions. Make sure image descriptions are extremely detailed, from the style of the outfit, to the color, if it has any graphics, lace, if the jeans have holes, or if the shirt falls off one sholder.

7 Make sure all the links are readable with a screen reader and able to be clicked on when using a screen reader.

If you have any tips leave them in the comments and if you went shopping today let me know what you got.

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com

An Idea To Help Us Blind and Others With Disabilities During Disasters! #LetsStartTheConversation

by Chelsey Zumpano

With all the fires going on here in California: there needs to be something to help us with disabilities! A lot of us with disabilities can’t drive and there for when something like these fires are going on we can get traped! We need a service that can come check on us during an emergency and make sure we have some way to get out, then if not they can provide a ride to a safe place.

This service can be provided if your on social security, (SSI and SSD), if you were recently released from the hospital after surgery or some other health problem that means it would make it hard to leave in a hurry, people that have a Dial-A-Ride card, people who are in a wheel chair, people who have a seeing-eye-cane, people who have a service dog or emotional support animal, and more.

You might be wondering, “but how is this going to work?” It would be a volunteer service and the volunteers would check on the clients during a voluntary evacuation and if the client wanted to leave then they’d take them to somewhere safe, (which could be the volunteers’ home). We’d spread the word about this service at all different organizations.

In the mean time here is a list of things you can pack in an emergency!

1 water

2 nonperishaple food

3 gummy candy/something sweet for low blood sugar

4 first aid kit

5 a pair of PJs

flashlight and batteries, (even if your blind because you can use it to get others attention).

7 extra food/water for your service dog

My prayers and thoughts go out to everyone who has been effected by the fires. I hope this is helpful and if anyone does want to help me with this project send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com

5 Things I’m Thankful For

by Chelsey Zumpano

I know it’s my 5th day in, but here are afew things I’m thankful for.

1 my BrailleNote Orbit Reader 20 because with out this writing blog posts would be hard. I’m able to read and write on my Ipad and Iphone via bluetooth with out straining my eyes. I can get better at spelling and grammar. I can edit my posts better and actually do spell check.

2 My Amazon Echo is great to ask how to spell words or to define them. Also listen to all my music on her and I’ve created some writing playlists.

3 With my Ipad and Iphone I read and write using VoiceOver. I can film and edit videos.

4

My braille writer is awesome because I make labels, transcribe my book, and right out story ideas. I also can teach people how to write braille.

5 With my cane I’m more confident and I can walk faster. She helps me to be indeppendent and to help people notice me.

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com

An orange, blue, and yellow cane leaning against a wall that is white on the bottom and blue on the top.

An Interview with Meghan the Cane

by Chelsey Zumpano

An orange, blue, and yellow cane leaning against a wall that is white on the bottom and blue on the top.

(Picture credit goes to Chelsey Zumpano).

In honor of white cane day being on October 15th: I decided to interview my cane.

1 Welcome, Meghan tell me a little about yourself?

I’m a Seeing Eye Cane and my name is Meghan. You can also call me Meg, or Cane, but never Stick! To me being called stick just sounds disgusting and that’s just not what I am! I’m only a few months old, but that doesn’t mean I don’t move as fast as Chelsey’s previous canes, ′Fred and George′.

2 What’s your favorite part about working with me?

I get to be on camera and I love that we can go anywhere, also that I help people notice you more.

3 What’s your favorite place we’ve gone so far and where would you like to go?

I loved going to the pumpkin patch and seeing all the animals. I would really love to go skate boarding.

4 What do you think about the fact that you’re colorful?

I love it! It means I’m more noticeable and little kids love me. I think we cane’s should be able to be whatever color our humans’ want’, ′not just the traditional white′, because everyone is different and our inside’s should match our outside’s.

And there you have it strate from a cane herself! You will be seeing more of Meg because I wrote a book about her. It’s going to be called “Meghan the Seeing Eye Cane,” But we aren’t sure of the release date yet.

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com

Meet the Blind Month: Amanda’s Life.

By Amanda Gene 

I was asked by Chelsey, who runs the blog, VIBlindResources, to join in her project meet the blind month.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Amanda Gene. I’m 30 years old, I have a Bachelors of Arts in Print Journalism with a minor in Professional Education. My blog, www.amandagene.com has been going strong for nine years and it covers a variety of disability topics, day in the life, ect.

I have an eye condition called Congenital Nystagmus which I have had since birth. My vision is like looking through a piece of Saran Wrap. My vision is at its strongest in the morning, and it deteriorates through the day. I have Night Blindness and was diagnosed with it in 2011. I noticed my Night Blindness in the spring on 2008 on my senior trip to Disney World, but I was not sure if it was stress or something else. So, the next time I saw my eye doctor I asked about my symptoms and was told I had Night Blindness. My Night Blindness has been fluctuating recently. Sometimes I can see just fine, sometimes I can see just light and shadows and on really bad night’s I can’t see anything at all. 

I use some assistive technology aids to help me live as a normal life as I possibly can. I use a screen reader called ZoomText to help me see my computer. Kurzweil 3000, to help read books, emails, and other printed material. I have a talking book player and I’m signed up with BookShare.org to access books in audio format. I have my Apple Iphone 6 S plus with voice over and speak tool to access my emails, text messages, ect. Lastly, I have the Amazon Echo to help me with looking up recipes, to check the time, to check my spelling of words when I am writing, and the list to keep up with my To-Do lists and my shopping lists.

In the kitchen I have a talking thermometer, a black/white cutting board and long oven mittens. 

 

Places you can find me:

www.AmandaGene.com  Blog

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt7ecLXRimvYFUZJ9WYYXXw/featured?view_as=subscriber -YouTube

https://www.pinterest.com/amandagenenelso/ Pinterest  

https://twitter.com/AmandaGeneN Twitter 

https://www.instagram.com/amandanelson88/ Instagram 

amanda@amandagene.com Email 

https://www.facebook.com/AmandaGeneN/ Facebook 

If you would like to be apart of meet the blind month, please email either a blog post of five minute video to Chelsey by October 13.

Email:

 viblindresources@gmail.com

 

 

 

Should I use a handicap placard?

By Chelsey Zumpano

To use or not to use that is the question!

I personally use one and I’m not in a wheel chair. And that’s the thing you do not have to use a wheeel chair, you just have to have a disability.

There are many benefits of using a handycap placard such as…

1 knowing exactly where the car is

2 being able to avoid walking through a busy parking lot

3 if there’s an emergency and I need to get out of the store, but can’t find the person I’m with, I can find the car

4 If i’m having a panic attack and need to get out quickly the car is near by

Here some qualifications for California.

• Your mobility is severely disabled because of a disease or disorder

• rictedddddddddddd by lung disease, specifically with a forced expiratory volume (FEV) for 1 second, when measured by spirometry, is less than 1 liter or your arterial oxygen tension is less than 60mm/hg at rest

• You’re missing or loss the use of one or both hands

• You have a significant impairment, are missing or loss the use of one or both legs

• You have vision issues, such as low vision orblindness s

This info comes from disability-benefits-help.org

How do you apply?

You go to your Department of motor vehicles,(DMV), and get an application or you can print one offf line. Your doctor does have to verify your disability.

A handycap placard might not be right for you if you use public transportation every where, but you might like it if you get rides with other people. If you want one, the choice is completely up to you.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments and if you want to contribute to this blog or YouTube channel send an email to: viblindresources@gmail.com

Great America VS. six Flags, (Who is more accommodating for disabilities)?

By Chelsey Zumpano

I’ve been to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo California and California’s Great America in Santa Clara California, (in my vlogs you’ve seen me go to Great America twice), but you’ve never seen me go to Six Flags and I have season passes for them both. Now I’m going to compare the two.

At Great America I use an attraction pass, which means I get to go in the front of the line. All you have to do is go to the guest relations office and they will ask you some questions like…

1. Do you have a disability?

2. Can you stand in line

3. Can you get on rides with no assistans?

So its pretty simple and you don’t have to show anything to prove you have a disability. When you go on rides you go to the exit and show them your paper, then they give you a time to come back or you get to go on right then. Being able to go to the exit means its easier to get on the ride with out being trampled and you can get guided to the ride easier. I also have trouble standing for a long time, so I’m able to sit down with out having to move or worry about being steppedon. I like the rides at Great America better because they are softer rides, (if that makes sense), and I’ve been Six Flags so many times before that they are boring. The people at Great America are good at guiding me on and off rides.

According to the Six Flags website you need to have a Doctor’s note stating you have a disability that makes it hard for you to stand in lines, so that’s why I’ve never used it before. But I do love looking at all the animals at Six Flags.

In conclusion Great America is more accessible then Six Flags.

If you want to contribute on this blog or YouTube send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com