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The Checkered Eye Project

People wearing this symbol have partial blindness aka low vision.

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Assumptions

I recently read and shared on Facebook an article called "10 things not to say to a person in a wheelchair".  It’s great to have a venue for informing people about things that they may say which can cause offence.

Here’s the thing: in the comments people posted after the article, some added other insensitive remarks.  Fine.  However, I noticed one that implied that we should assume anyone wearing glasses is not "blind".

I’ve met many people, and I happen to be one myself, who has blindness of some degree AND uses glasses.  So while the glasses sharpen up the edges in my periphery, they cannot fill in the big blank spot in the center of my visual field, so even with them on I am legally blind.


  (That's a photo of me shuffling cards, wearing glasses, in 1982.)

The point I’m making is that we all make assumptions.  In the "10 things…" article it’s not necessarily the content of the statement but rather the ignorance and certainly insensitivity behind it.

Everybody, including people with disabilities, makes assumptions.  Problems arise when we are not open to learning our assumption was wrong.

The whole point of the checkered eye is to add a bit of information in face to face situations that may reduce the difficulties caused by the assumption that "this person is fully sighted".

My pet peeve awkward insensitive remark comes from someone who actually knows me, witnesses me do something clumsy due to my eyesight and says "what are you, blind or something?"  I suspect it's an attempt to defuse awkwardness with humour, and I must admit that humour is my default so I might have done the same thing.  Also, I realisze that my experiences and my feelings are my own responsibility, so, while I still do bug myself over that one a bit, I'm much better at letting it go.

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  • Comment by midge10 on Sep 10, 2013

    As a fellow Stargardts sufferer, I have a pet peeve of my own! Friends that are very aware of my limited vision often say "You will not be able to see this but ...." instead of simply telling me what they are looking at/seeing! They mean well ... and one day(!) I will ask them nicely not to use that particular phrase anymore!

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