A teenager travels with his cane outside a bank.

Conquering the Challenge of Mobility

A student in the Secondary program at Perkins School for the Blind reflects on facing the challenge of mobility.

Perkins student, Bronwen, shares her first blog post today.  Her English class is studying personal narratives and she submitted this post as part of her work for the class.

Traveling as a blind person raises questions for a lot of people.  It can raise so many that their first instinct is to “help the blind person.” Mobility, or learning to travel safely and efficiently, is extremely difficult for blind people, and that is why many choose to live their lives at home.  For me personally, mobility is a battle I have conquered.  It started as a child who hated her cane and never listened, and struggled to learn a route, or listen to traffic when crossing a busy street.  When I was a child, I hated my cane so much my parents would beg me to bring it just so people would recognize it and move out of the way.  After I learned how to sweep my cane, I learned how to form routes; thinking about the landmarks between point A and point B.  After that, that’s when the struggle began.P

It’s not that hard to remember where you started and where you stopped, catching every detail is the hardest part.  If you miss one simple detail, you can be completely lost! When I lived in Arizona and I was going to the grocery store, I missed the thicker cement lip that signified a wash, kept going, and turned at the end of a drainage ditch.  I ended up in a parking lot that took me twenty minutes to get out of.  One important thing, gathered from that, would probably be to pay attention the entire way when you’re traveling, but also, when choosing which landmarks to use, never use one if it is similar.  You want to make sure that you cannot mistake it for anything else! Paying attention to your surroundings is just as important.  Even when I didn’t mistake landmarks or miss them, I wouldn’t always end up where I wanted to be.  To me, it was so upsetting because no matter how many times I traveled a route, I just wouldn’t make it, but I’d be “so close.” I never gave up though, and usually by the fifth or sixth time, I would make it.  “This isn’t gonna work when I’m an adult,” I once thought.  I want anyone that has these challenges to know that it takes a lot of time and patience.  I used to wonder if I’d ever be able to live on my own.  After so much time and progress, I realized that I could, but traveling on your own just like anything else, takes practice.  Think positively and don’t beat yourself up.

Collage of mobility challenge

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Ish book cover with an illustration of a child running with a paintbrush and text: Peter H Reynolds

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Image of the graphed y = sin(x) equation

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A young man who is blind sitting in the back seat of a car

Looking forward to moving out