Blog Posts by Lynda Jones

Designing a Public Bathroom for Ease of Navigation

In this post, it's not necessary to provide one more frantic public restroom nightmare. We have included several examples in the post Tips on Navigating Public Bathrooms with a Vision Impairment. You probably sighed and said, Been there, done that, or just laughed out loud because you could identify completely with the situation. Even so, you have learned, no doubt, many good tips to try the next time you must venture into a public restroom.


Reflections on Colored Canes

I had the pleasure of interviewing James Boehm, a young entrepreneur who has his own custom cane business entitled Kustom Cane. This personal story is the third in a series of articles on colored canes. Part 1, The Impact of New Colors on the Long Mobility Cane gave a brief historical evolution of the white cane in the U.S. and Europe and explored the perspectives of users of the long white cane, professionals in the field of orientation and mobility, and product manufacturers.


White Cane or Dog Guide: It's Your Decision

Editor's note: With White Cane Day fast approaching on October 15, we thought that this post would be timely. Why I Am Using a Cane and Not a Guide Dog Today by Lynda Jones Although I should have learned to use a mobility cane many years before I did, it took getting lost in the women's bathroom of a large airport to make me call my local rehabilitation agency as soon as I returned home. For the next 15 months, I had


Reasons Accidents Happen and How to Minimize Them As an Individual with Vision Loss

"Would you believe that I’ve been punched in the nose by a refrigerator, a closet door ajar, and even a wall? It’s all been caused by my hurrying frantically to get just one more task done, just one more e-mail answered, just one more load in the washer before my ride comes." Do these scenarios by a very competent, independent blind woman sound familiar? Whether blind or sighted, no matter how careful, we are to make our home environments safe, accidents are going to happen, but we can minimize them by reminding ourselves to slow down, focus on the current moment, and consistently use the safety techniques we often ignore because of our


During National Autism Month, Think About Employment Opportunities for Adults Who Are Blind and Have Autism Spectrum Disorder

April is National Autism Awareness month. The purpose of this post is to increase awareness of autism and to encourage you to think outside of the rehabilitation box! When I was studying for my degree in vision rehabilitation for adults, I learned about self-stimulating behaviors often called "blindisms." Behaviors such as repetitive speech or echolalia, constant rocking whether


Review of "How Do You Do It Blind: Answers from People with Blindness and Visual Impairment"

This review is part of our bookshelf series Author Shares His Story of Blindness In 109 pages, Steven Obremski truly accomplishes his goal—to answer the question posed in the book's title “How Do You Do It Blind” for both the general public and people who are newly visually impaired. Answers are provided by hundreds of visually impaired people Steven has worked with in the blindness field, people he interviewed for this book, and his own life experiences. In chapter one,


Knowing How Doesn't Always Get the Job Done!

Editor's note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter Is Often the Best Medicine. The contributors to this series hope their vignettes provide a chuckle, an aha moment, or dispel myths about visual impairment for all readers. Being Handy Around the House After teaching daily living skills and other courses about blindness for several years at Florida State University, I consider myself quite independent. I'm a pretty good cook and keep


Summer Vacation in Colorado Fulfills Bucket List

Traveling to Central City in Colorado Growing up, my family always took a summer vacation. Sometimes it wasn't to any place in particular. We might head off north, south, east, or west with a vague plan, but, with the intention of stopping for a few hours or even a few days when we came to an interesting place we'd never been before. Some of those trips are my most memorable. This summer was different—destination Central City, Colorado. If you aren't familiar with this little town, it's off I70, west of Denver, and 3000 feet higher. Central City is virtually uphill or down, three blocks wide and possibly five or six miles long. It has no industry except Casinos and a population of only 800 in the winter. So why travel almost 1000 miles to this little town? For two reasons:


My Experience on a Memorable April Fools Day

Your Check Isn't in the Mail! Years ago, when I worked in staff development at a state agency, we were always paid on the first day of every month. Although our checks were directly deposited, our Department Manager would hand us our paycheck information at the end of the day, usually around 4:45 PM every month. Our manager was great and extremely methodical in his work. His office was meticulous. In fact, among the eleven people who worked in the department, his was the only desk that was always neat and orderly! So we came to expect the same behavior at all times. <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.asp?ImageID=1385" alt="close up of a person filling out a large


Cooking Surprises! We All Have Them

Editor's Note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter is Often the Best Medicine. The contributors to this series hope their vignettes provide a chuckle, an "aha moment," or dispel myths about visual impairment for all readers. How Many Chocolate Lovers Have Eaten Chocolate Mashed Potatoes? By guest writer, Liz Bowden, vision technology instructor. Mashed Potatoes, A Real Staple During the Holidays One food eaten by almost everyone during the holiday seasons is chocolate. There are chocolate bells, kisses, Santas, turkeys, Valentines, angels, and Bunnies. Real chocolate lovers say they wish everything would be


Part 2 of the White Cane Safety Day Debate: The Impact of New Colors on the Long Mobility Cane

Happy White Cane Safety Day!! Author's note: In Part 1, we reviewed the history of the white cane. In Part 2, we will explore the perspectives of users of the long white cane, professionals in the field of orientation and mobility, and product manufacturers. For newcomers to the field of vision rehabilitation,


Part 1 of the White Cane Safety Day Debate: The Impact of New Colors on the Long Mobility Cane

Author's note: The nation celebrates White Cane Safety Day on October 15. As this celebration occurs, the historic white color of this "visible symbol of a blind person's ability to come and go on his own," as President Johnson stated in the original proclamation, is competing with a growing interest in choice of colors by users for their canes. This post is part one of a two-part series that will (1) give a brief historical evolution of the white cane in the U.S. and Europe; (2) explore the perspectives of users of the long white cane, professionals in the field of orientation and mobility, and product manufacturers;


Lessons Learned in the School of Life: Going to School with the Dinosaurs as a Visually Impaired Student

Contemplating my twenty-two and a half years of school as a visually impaired student, I can divide the time into three periods: pre-technology, some technology, and the beginning of assistive technology. Kindergarten The half year I alluded to was kindergarten. For me, it was very disappointing. As I told my mother when I came home the first day, “I did not learn to read!” Reading was the bottom line for me. I did learn to climb the monkey bars and could even pass another student as we scooted along on the top. This was a definite achievement for a five-year-old with ten degrees of visual field. So…I dropped out and waited for first


A Case of Mismatched Earrings

Editor's Note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter is Often the Best Medicine, a series that encourages people who are blind or visually impaired to laugh at themselves and celebrate victories. Dress Up Time A friend was recently invited to hold a month long exhibit at one of the elite art museums in Tallahassee. Four of us decided to attend the opening night before heading to the beach for the weekend. This required dressing in something other than jeans and T-shirt. I chose a colorful, sort of artsy blouse and a pair of black pants. I wore red sandals to draw out the red in my blouse and grabbed my red earrings as I hurried out the


When Your Technology Talks Back to You

Editor's Note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter is Often the Best Medicine, a series that encourages people who are blind or visually impaired to laugh at themselves and celebrate victories. Siri Speaks Up by Empish Thomas As some of you may know I recently purchased an iPhone. In these last few months I have been learning something new almost weekly. It has been an interesting experience for me after years of using tactile phones.


Dog Days at the Dentist

Editor's Note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter is Often the Best Medicine, a series that encourages people who are blind or visually impaired to laugh at blunders and celebrate victories. The Crowning Event by Sue Martin, peer advisor, LVT,VRT I have recently had my four top front teeth crowned. The teeth were not done for vanity. It was just time. I was bulimic for thirteen years and the damage to my teeth during those years necessitated the crowns. The problem was, there wasn’t room for the crowns. What


The Fun and Joy of Motherhood As a Visually Impaired Mom

Editor's Note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter is Often the Best Medicine, a series that encourages people who are blind or visually impaired to laugh at blunders and celebrate victories. Celebrating Mother's Day in Style By Audrey Demmitt, peer advisor Dark restaurants are often very difficult to navigate for


Sharing Our Goofs

Editor's Note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter is Often the Best Medicine, which is a series that encourages people who are blind or visually impaired to laugh at blunders and celebrate victories. Hopefully, these personal experiences will give you potential solutions for coping with your vision loss. Where, Oh, Where Is My Room? by Lynda Jones In 2003, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) hosted a fabulous conference at none other than the Beverly Hills Hilton! Movie stars walked around


Humor for the New Year

The Importance of Confidence by Lynda Jones, CVRT Confidence is a good character trait to possess. It helps us persist when facing difficulties or gives us courage to accept challenges that may seem a bit beyond our reach. Much of the success of people who are blind or visually impaired comes from confidence that they can face any challenge successfully. On the other hand, too much confidence can lead to some of the most embarrassing moments of a blind person’s life. The women who share the following stories are very independent and confident but would tell you they were a bit too sure of themselves in these situations. Remember, sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh at


Holiday Cooking Moments

The Cake That Never Got Baked! During one thanksgiving holiday when I was learning to adjust to my vision loss, I decided to bake one of my favorite holiday cakes to take to my cousin’s for thanksgiving dinner. It was somewhat costly, calling for lots of dates, raisins, and walnuts, but the preparation was fairly simple. The recipe created a rather large cake, so I decided to use my grandmother’s antique tube pan. The pan had a removable center which made it easy to lift the finished cake from the pan instead of attempting to flip it over onto a cake plate. The preparation process went smoothly, giving me a sense of pride and accomplishment. I set the pan on the top of the stove


Stranger Things Can and Do Happen When You Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Editor's Note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter is Often the Best Medicine. Sometimes You’ve Just Gotta Laugh! By Audrey Demmitt Sometimes when you’re visually impaired, you’ve just gotta laugh when mishaps and embarrassing moments arise. One day after shopping alone, I waited on the curb in the blinding sun for my husband to pick me up. I knew it would be a matter of a few minutes before he arrived; so when a reddish car pulled up, I hopped


The Joys of Getting Around in the Public Eye

Editor's note: This is part of a series on the theme of Laughter is Often the Best Medicine. We often find it difficult to laugh at situations when we blunder if we are struggling to find our equilibrium of adjusting to life's demands along with vision loss. In time, we realize one of the best therapies for learning to accept and value our visually impaired selves is to laugh at our faux pas. Read, enjoy, share.... Tweety Bird’s Mobility Instruction Written by Peer Advisor Lynda Jones <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.asp?ImageID=6069" alt="clip


Foibles with Food

Editor's note: This is the 2nd in a series on our theme of Laughter is Often the Best Medicine. We often find it difficult to laugh at situations when we blunder if we are struggling to find our equilibrium of adjusting to life's demands along with vision loss. In time, we realize one of the best therapies for learning to accept and value our visually impaired selves is to laugh at our faux pas. Read, enjoy, share.... Baby Claire’s Night Out! By Maribel


Embarrassing Moments with Our Dog Guides

Editor's note: This is the first in a series on our new theme of Laughter is Often the Best Medicine. We often find it difficult to laugh at situations when we blunder if we are struggling to find our equilibrium of adjusting to life's demands along with vision loss. In time, we realize one of the best therapies for learning to accept and value our visually impaired selves is to laugh at our faux pas. Read, enjoy, share.... Asking for Assistance By Audrey


Readers Want to Know, Part 4: How Do I Help a Family Member Who is Visually Impaired?

Editor's Note: To answer questions posed by readers,we have started a “Readers Want to Know” section of the Peer Advisors Blog. This is the fourth part of that series. Question "How can I help my elderly family member accept her vision loss, and more importantly, accept help and advice on how to adapt and use resources to navigate and stay safe in her home?" Peer Advisor Lynda Jones Offers Her Personal Perspective This is a question near and dear to my own heart. For many years, I was reluctant to get help from vision rehabilitation


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