What Is Facial Vision


What Is Facial Vision

     "What is facial vision?” a young sighted kid had just stopped me, curious about how I knew his father's car was parked across the sidewalk; he had observed my progress coming down the walk and my swerve around the silent vehicle , cane not touching it. I loved these opportunities to educate some one of the sighted public. We know that most people when seeing a blind person, will just stand back and watch and though we understand their motivation is more then likely born of a natural curiosity of how we travel, how we live, it is also true that we and they rarely get to talk about it. And in response to this youngster's boldness and politeness in stepping forward to confront his curiosity, I had started to tell him how I know where I am going, track things in the surrounding environment and had just put a label to how I could feel some objects around me. I wanted to give him a good and clear answer and I was figuring out how I'd would explain this facial vision thing, this unique ability which is too many times seen as being almost magical , and always amazing. This wasn't the first time I'd been asked about it and over the years I'd given many long and short explanations as to what it was for me, how I thought it worked and how I made use of it. And now gathering my thoughts, I had a collage of facts and remembrances flying through my mind at light speed-

     I went blind at age 15 as a result of a car accident, going from normal vision of 20-20 to no light perception. When just a couple of months into my blindness, walking across our backyard I became aware of a presents off to my side. Reaching out I found it to be the painted metal surface of my mother's clothes-line pole. And in traveling around after that, indoors and out, I became aware of being able to pick up on other objects around me, like an oncoming wall, the with of a hallway, a recessed doorway, trees and/or poles off to the side of my path, a parked car setting across the sidewalk, a building across the roadway, an oncoming curb as I cross a street, and more.

     Other blind people have it too. I'm a good traveler, a cane user, but I have friends who are dog users and they also speak of this awareness and their skill in using it.

     then there are a few blind people I've seen who apparently have this ability in a larger measure than most of us. They travel about without the use of a cane or dog. And frankly, I'm not sure how good they are or what difficulties they experience --- picking up on all steps up or down or objects high or low or how is it for them when the environmental conditions change like in heavy traffic sounds, rain, snow and ice, a cluttered area, potholes, of which all these things I use a combination of cane, echo and facial vision to find for me.

     Then here is one I don't know the answer to. What of this facial vision can a deafblind person pick up on? I mean, in my experience, I can't totally say that hearing isn't part of this facial vision thing.

     I'd also say to this kid, "Hey, bet you've experienced it. Did you ever get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, didn't turn on the lights, and you are walking along and all of a sudden you jerk back and say, 'WOW!' Reaching out you find that you almost ran into a wall."

     Or, “Hey kid, go talk to some sailors. See if any of them will tell you of sailing on a dark night, no moon or starlight and being able to feel or sense the loom of a towering rock off to the side or that of an oncoming island."

     So, what was I going to tell this kid?


e-mail responses to newmanrl@cox.net

**1. Robert, thanks for another most interesting story this week. About facial vision. I think that I had the fortunate experience of growing up well, after I left the confines of my grandparents' home. I mean, I moved in with foster folks, one of whom instructed blind kids for the NJ Commission for the blind, and as such, she was privy to all of the quirks and foibles of the blind, like rocking, poking one's eyes, making those hideous sounds like clicking and such while a blind person walks to supposedly know where he or she is. I had none of these traits, strangely, though I was a sheltered kid, because my grandparents knew nothing about raising or caring for a blind child, so they pretty much sheltered me and let me do as I wanted. Thus, when the opportunity arose that I might leave their home and became a foster child, I took to the task with vigor, learning all that I could about what I'd missed, like riding a two wheel bike, learning how to tie a neck tie, eating with proper table manners, learning etiquette and social graces and the like. And, one of the things I liked to do most was working on my new foster father's cars, because it gave me a sense of gratification. After living their for a while and getting pretty good at riding my bike, which was a modified frame and made into one of those sting Ray bikes with the banana seat and the sissy bar, the local newspaper came to do a human interest story on me. I was one of those unique oddities: the blind boy in the public school setting that everyone was curious about. How did I do my homework? How did I get to school? How did I type on a regular typewriter? How did I...? And the list went on and on. Well, I answered as many questions as I could, and then the writer of the story asked me if I had any unusual hobbies. I told her about working on cars, and she was amazed. I showed her how I could put a set of brake pads on the Jaguar we owned. I showed her how I could wax the car's surface to a high shine. Then, I told her that blind people had a sort of radar that allowed them to do crazy things, and that we could hear objects around us and avoid smacking into them. To demonstrate this, I jumped on my Sting ray bike and sped towards her at top speed, weaving around her and skidding to a stop. She didn't move. She was too scared. She didn't want a second attempt at this crazy blink's antics, but took my word for the facial vision.

Having worked with a cane from Junior High to college and then getting a guide dog, and having used guides for 34 years, I have treated this facial vision thing as a gift, but a great necessity in which to indulge to deal with life and meet the challenges of daily living head-on.

Thanks for the post and I certainly enjoyed it.

Mike Townsend and Seeing Eye dog Brent
Arlington, VA 22204

**2. Wow, I thought I was crazy because I never heard anyone talk about this before. I, too, suddenly went blind and have no light perception do to bypass heart surgery.

I could not explain it to many folks either. I did not know if I felt it or what. It does seem to be related to movement for me. I can walk down the sidewalk and know when I am passing the telephone poll with out touching it with my cane. If I hold my hand out and move my fingers or arm I see the movement. Yet if I hold it out and hold my fingers still I think I can detect my arm shape, but the fingers are not there to detect. I have also tried this with someone else moving their arm and I can tell where it is moving, but not as good as when I do it myself.

Have you ever noticed depending on the light available if this works better or worst? It seems to me that if the light is not bright, more or less low to medium light I notice it best. Now that I just said that, when I am traveling outside I do notice it when the sun is out or cloudy regarding the polls.

I really thought I was crazy when one night I came home and there was no lights on or moon shining. I walked up my back porch and turned around and saw the shape of my husband walking toward the stairs. I asked him to go back to the car and turn around and stand there. I told him what way he was facing and what part of the car he was standing at. I was a good 30 to 50 feet away from him.

Thank you so much for this one. I had no idea there was a name to this.

Joyce Kane Connecticut

**3. I've seen several of these thought provokers before and never found them rising to my response threshold. But I feel that I need to respond to this one because I have some knowledge that I want to share and I feel some responsibility for the knowledge base's not being larger because I did not complete the doctoral dissertation that I planned to do some 40 years ago on the subject.

I think the term facial vision came from a "Letter on the Blind" by Diterot in the eighteenth century. Dallenbach and his associates at Cornell proved to my satisfaction in the 1940s that it is hearing. I believe, and I was going to try to show with my dissertation, that differences in hearing ability explains differences in people's ability to do echolocation or facial vision. So, for example, it's simple physics that you can't hear a thin pole if you can't hear high frequencies. In fact, the first way I noticed that my hearing was going was that I lost the ability to hear things like poles. The other thing I wanted to do was find an ideal sound to use which could be generated by a hand-held device or the like. Bats and whales are lucky that they have evolved the right sounds to make to optimize their abilities. Unfortunately, psychoacoustics is primitive as compared to visual perception research. A professor told me that in the field of perception, 90 per cent of research was in vision, 5 percent in hearing and the other 5 percent is the rest of the senses.

Roger Petersen Mountain View, CA

**4. The expression "facial vision" has been around so long as an explanation of the ability of blind persons to navigate that it has almost reached the status of a truth. I can recall reading an article around 1947 about the famous training program for veterans at Valley Forge that explained the ability of blind persons exclusively in terms of a phenomenon they called, "facial vision". For several years prior to that, the teacher I had at the residential school in Vancouver, Canada, explained the phenomenon as an ability to detect temperature differences that radiate from objects in the environment and which are projected onto the face. Shortly after losing my sight at the age of eleven, I detected this phenomenon when passing trees and other objects. My dear old Swedish grandfather was so excited by what he thought was the return of sight to his grandson that he trotted me down to a local automobile repair garage and had the mechanic turn on his welding torch so that I could see the sparks. It didn't happen, much to his disappointment. Nevertheless, I was locked into the facialvision paradigm so fully that, when I read about an experiment with earphones in which a person detected the presence of objects as if they were in front of or beside him when the experimenter was, in fact, simply moving about, even though the subject was standing in the same place. Since that time, more than fifty years ago, I have not encountered any experience of my own, or other persons' reports, that could not be satisfactorily explained by reference to auditory cues. Granted, atmospheric and other ambient conditions can distort the acoustic effects, but each different kind of environment with different objects in it and with different sound sources has its distinctive pattern of sound. The more a blind person attends to these differences, the more efficiently they will be able to navigate their world. The expression "facial vision" implicitly invokes the notion that contact with the environment has to be understood visually and, to that extent, distorts the ability of blind persons to confidently utilize the senses they have remaining, particularly hearing.

James S. Nyman Lincoln, NE

**5. This was an interesting and quite misunderstood issue. Personally, I really doubt that there is a special sense that blind people have or develop. When I was in college, getting my BA in Experimental Psychology, I did a study, comparing people who were totally blind with those who were sighted. I had read several articles on the topic of "facial vision" and wondered if it were true. I had the subjects, all of whom were blindfolded, walk toward a wall in a gymnasium and stop when they sensed the wall. Well, the subjects who were blind, could sense the wall several feet away, but those who had usable vision prior to putting on the blindfold, were much closer to the wall before they could sense it. As the activity was repeated with each subject, I found that those with no usable vision prior to the study improved little , regardless of how many times they repeated the task. However, with repetition, those with vision, but wearing a blindfold, improved their results more significantly with redoing. That suggests that the ability is a learned skill. Next, I had subjects put on blindfolds and ear plugs, then try the activity. All of them had trouble telling where the wall was. At least to me, that suggested that "facial vision" was largely based on hearing.

I believe that what some people refer to as "facial vision" is the ability to sense objects with a combination of hearing, smell, and other existing senses, not a new and special one that people acquire when they lose their physical vision. If hearing truly is a significant part of object sensing, I'd like to see a study that would measure the impact of varying levels of hearing on the ability. Perhaps this issue should receive more extensive investigation, including the limiting of other senses one at a time.

From observation of people who are blind and who are hearing impaired, I've noticed that orientation and object recognition are generally less than for those of us who are blind and have no hearing impairment. I've especially noticed that people who's hearing loss is greater on one side than the other, seem to experience more problems with orientation and object perception.

Doug Hall Florda

**6. As perhaps you know, I am aware of your messages. Perhaps you also remember that I am a MD researching an practicing Electro acupuncture in the neurological field, which includes Neuro-visual sensors. Well, among others I have had two children with retinal isomers due to Toxoplasmosis, which is very severe. These two children were completely blind; even they didn't realize about light existence. Before treatment, they weren't able to be alone. After treatment, which I consider that failed, they were able to be alone at an unknown place, and they could (and still can) move all around; even they can tell you what you have on your plate, what you are eating. Some people have described this as seeing with hearing, but in this case, a complete silence is present.

In summary, I agree with you in the experience of Facial Vision.

Best regards
Ralph Galewski

**7. Shalom. Almost fifty years ago when I was at a school for the blind a psychologist did some testing on us. At that Facial Vision was called obstacle Perception. I was pretty good at and have myself used over the years, but it does not take the place of a cane guide dog or in some cases a sighted guide.

David Stayer Merrick, New York

**8. Yeah, this is echolocation, a function of hearing. Blindness professionals used to believe it was a tactile sense because it is often perceived that way. I think it is because the ears are on either side of the face and if we translate it into a tactile sense, the face is the handiest surface to the ears as the sound echoes back to us. When I first started learning to make use of echolocation, I used to flinch as though I was about to be hit by something whenever I passed a telephone pole. Go ask Bob Deaton, I'm pretty sure deaf blind folks can't use echolocation at all.

You're right about those folks who travel with no cane or dog, they get the echoes back from environment by clucking their tongues like chickens. You and I get that feedback from our metal tipped canes and don't have to make funny noises as we are traveling. Then we have our canes for anything we miss, like you said, in the rain etc... I think it's cool that you can sometimes pick up on up curbs as you are crossing streets. I can't do that, still too much vision. But I bet you can't do it with down curbs. Grin. I like to use submarine radar, dolphins, and yes, bats to explain it to students and the public. Kids especially like the submarine and Dolphin reference. People like Dr. Maurer are really good at it. I think it comes from being deprived of a cane in formative years. I think that price is too steep. Give the kids the canes and let them develop echolocation as it comes.

Jane Lansaw Texas

**9. For some reason I've never been asked to explain facial vision but I know I've got it and that I've probably had it since birth. It manifests itself in my life in a variety of ways. First there is the common ability to pick up on walls, doorways etc. Then there is a skill that I didn't notice until I was well into adulthood. I am actually able to sense what an object is made of. Without touching it I know if it's made of metal, plastic, glass or if it's a plant or some article of clothing. This tells me that although hearing is involved facial vision isn't just hearing. Let me say here that I am a cane user when I'm not walking with a sighted guide. I don't know how a blind person could travel safely without a cane or dog because of the all-too-familiar veering problem. Facial vision only helps this to a minimal degree. I know that not hearing well can diminish facial vision because I've had the experience of trying to get around when my ears have been plugged up from sinus trouble or getting water in them when I've been swimming. I still have some of my facial vision when my ears plug up but it isn't as effective as when I can hear normally. Well, I don't think I've answered your question. I don't know what I would say to that kid if he asked me about facial vision but I know that it is part hearing, part sensing of differences in the air and part intuition.

Chris Coulter ACB-L listservEdmonds, WA.

**10. I don't know whether or not what I'm saying is scientific or not: Facial vision is hearing the differences in sound waves as they bounce off objects. That is why if ears are stopped up due to a cold or allergy, one is using an umbrella, wearing a hat over ears, walking on a very humid day, etc. the sinuses, (hollow places in one's head/face) will pick up the sounds differently, and we then hear differently according to the environment in which we are traveling.

seville allen ACB-L listserv

**11. From time to time amazing stories surface, crediting facial vision for everything from warning a blind man that there was an open manhole in front of him, to the young blind lad who rescued a toddler from the path of a runaway car. Personally, I believe that a great part of what we call Facial Vision is the keen use of our ears. But our skin is a living organ, and it seems to possess some abilities of its own when it comes to, "seeing". Sudden subtle changes in temperature, the slight shift of air currents, combined with the sense of smell and the ears can make it appear as though we are actually able to see objects around us. Even cars parked across the street send a message to me as I walk along the opposite sidewalk. But I would not call that facial vision. I call it using all of your senses. Stories about people who can sense what an object is made out of, or what colors a person is wearing, strain my credibility. I've never seen such claims tested successfully under controlled


So I'll close by saying that I had a strange experience that had to do with identifying colors. But I do not claim it to be facial vision. It can only be answered by some sense other than those we now recognize. My mother was sitting at my dining room table sorting balls of yarn. My wife and I were also seated at the table. Just for something to say, I announced, "I can tell you the colors of those balls of yarn". My mother was up for this. "What color is this one?" she asked, holding up one of the skeins. "Gold", I cried.
"Right", she said, with some amusement in her voice. But as she held up one after another and I called out it's true color, her amusement turned to amazement . I also began to feel a sense of something out of the ordinary happening. My wife turned to us and said, "Okay you guys, quit goofing around. I know you've planned this to trick me into thinking you can see colors." But my mother told her that we had done nothing of the sort. All total I had identified seven ball of yarn without a single miss. I've never tried this since, but I can bet that I would not be able to duplicate the feat.

Carl Jarvis ACB-L listserv

**12. It is my understanding that facial vision is based on hearing. My husband was totally blind and a very competent cane traveler. I observed him using his facial vision. He could walk with me down a street and tell me when we passed trees and telephone poles. I have a bit of vision in my right eye on which I depend. However, I observed a similar capacity in myself. As I sat on the love seat one night, having put an eye drop in my right eye, and having closed that eye as the drop was absorbed, I sensed a presence to my left on the arm of the love seat, and when I opened my eye, the presence turned out to be my cat. I hadn't seen her because there's no vision in my left eye and she hadn't made a sound. I just felt like something was there.

Miriam Vieni ACB-L listserv

**13. What used to be called facial vision is now referred to as echolocation. It is based on hearing. The sounds made by footfalls, cane taps, etc. seems to be amplified,and somewhat echoy as you approach large objects, like walls, etc. i believe that the ABC show 20/20 recently featured a gentleman who claims to be able to navigate completely by the sounds produced by clicking his tongue. I know another guy who navigates by snapping his fingers. I do experience this phenominan when approaching a building, but i do not think I could do without my cane.

Andy Baracco ACB-L listserv

**14. Facial vision may prevent you from smacking into a wall, or perhaps even a wide enough pole, and it may help you navigate through a doorway, but it will not keep you from falling off a loading dock or train platform, and it will not keep you from falling into a manhole or pothole or ditch. You need feetial vision for those.

John R. Jeavons ACB-L listserv

**15. I have been blind, thus far, "all of my life." I too know about facial vision, or as some people describe it, object perception. I too think it does have to do with hearing. I think it is an awareness that you develop more accurately if you don't have the use of sight. Just my take.

Yours Sincerely, Chris Jones

**16. I think this would be a little difficult to explain. It's something I experienced many years ago, as a child. My parents and sister and brother thought it was funny that I could tell them when we were passing a parked car, as we walked along a street or sidewalk. My younger sister and brother used to like to hold a pillow up to see if I could tell them when they had it near me or what side it was on. But, it's really a very useful tool for travel. I guess it comes from sound and air currents bouncing off objects. I also think that some people recognize and use it more than others. But, as far as explaining it to someone, I think it might be hard. If, as in this story, you're talking with a child, it might be easiest to ask him/her to close his/her eyes and try to allow them to experience facial vision, themselves.

Cindy Handel Willow Street, Pa.

**17. I am a mobility specialist who works with a lot of blind people who are deaf or hearing impaired. seems facial vision is all related to hearing - and that certain factors regarding one's hearing loss can allow one to be successful using it in some ways and not at all in other ways. I have actually identified undetected hearing-impairments in a few of my blind students through their behavior of running into things. The field of Autiology is interested in hearing abilities for communication purposes but not so much for travel purposes for the blind.

Early research showed that facial vision was really based on hearing and in a few cases on vision that one did not know that one had or was using (more sub-conscious - I guess ?)

Ed Gervasoni, Tucson AZ

**18. I believe that facial vision and echolocation are two different phenomena, although they may employ or perhaps even share similar mechanisms. Facial vision does not require the generation of clicks or pops or purrs or whirrs or anything else. It is a passive phenomenon, while echolocation in this manner by its very definition is an active phenomenon. furthermore, facial vision very likely includes sensation of air and wind changes in addition to passive awareness of differential sonic pressure wave diffractions , while echolocation by virtue of its name would be a purely aural phenomenon.

John R. Jeavons ACB-L

**19. I just picked up on this message and it tripped my trigger. I have used facial vision all of my life. I talked it over with a mobility instructor once and he gave me a real interesting case. I have always thought it was a sort of hearing, but have found situations for myself where that couldn't be the whole answer. This instructor told me about 2 brothers who were deaf. He claims stone deaf. However both could be walked strait at a blank wall and always would stop before they ran into it. They would reliably stop at least 5 feet before they got to it.

J A Rogers ACB-L listserv

**20. I was struck by the manner that was taken in responding to the young boy's question. I agree that the inquiry should be taken as an opportunity to educate and connect. I am wondering, might what you call facial vision also be referred to as spacial vision? Another great, provocative provoker to spark our deep dialogue. Thanks.

Mary Tatum Chappell, Alexandria, Virginia

**21. I have never heard of "facial vision," so the best comment I can give would be speculative. It is possible that the nerve endings in the skin are sensitive enough to feel other objects from a distance, possibly picking up on heat or sounds reflected off various surfaces (i.e. the metal of a pole, or the tiles of a bathroom).

But! If I guess what "facial vision" is, I am more certain what it is not.

First of all, I do not regard this as "compensation." (Everybody on this list either knows what it means, or soon will.)

"Compensation" is a popular myth that claims a newly-blind person's hearing suddenly improves, because the brain no longer expends energy on sight, and uses it on hearing. This idea is wrong, for several reasons: 1) The optic center of the brain does not process information the same way as the audio center, and would thus be useless in "improving" hearing. 2) Any "improvement" in hearing is more likely the result of self-discipline borne of necessity: you listen better because you MUST, not because you CAN. 3) "Compensation" never works the other way around: my hearing is getting weak, but I still need glasses. And 4) What happens if you're already deaf? Does your nose smell better? I don't think so.

I should also point out that "facial vision" might also lead to the equally erroneous "bat analogy." Those of you who have had cane training may have heard this one: "A bat's hearing can pick up a mosquito, and he follows the sound. Therefore, you can use your hearing to navigate."

Not exactly.

When a bat hunts, it sends out an ultra-high pitched sound, like sonar. That sound wave just goes straight ahead, until it reflects off a target (i.e. a bug), and returns to the source (the bat). The bat then follows the trail, and gets lunch.

Logically, then, human beings cannot navigate that way. If the analogy were true, then you should shout high-pitched screams, have the sound waves reflect off the walls, and process them in such a way that you would know a clear path. But human voices and hearing are not designed to function that way. Even worse, if you tried to navigate the way a bat does, somebody would drop a net on you. Therefore, I would have to surmise that "facial vision" could be explained as an above-average nerve ending in the skin. And, if so, it could even be picking up variances in the earth's magnetic field. Also, it could be that those who have "facial vision" might also be better at Braille than others who don't have it.

But, I repeat: "facial vision" is not "compensation." It is far more likely that such people already had above-average sensitivity in the nerve endings of the skin. They just never took note of it until blindness made it necessary.

David Lafleche Rode Island

**22. Facial vision doesn't seem to require sound. There are times when I want an additional clue regarding my surroundings so I wait for an inconspicuous moment to tap my cane firmly on the ground in order to glean information from the ensuing echoes. That's not facial vision - it's echo location. Facial vision is when what feels like pressure on my cheeks and face gives me information about an object. This information includes hints regarding its distance, size, and density. I can use this sense when standing completely still in what seems to be a totally silent environment.

One day, some years ago, I had the opportunity to sit within a completely echoless environment as one of our children's hearing was being tested within a soundproof, well-padded room at one of the local hospitals. The facial vision effect was rather interesting. It felt to me as though my head were encased within a concrete block, i.e. it felt like I was right up against a very dense object in all directions.

Facial vision isn't unique to blind people. I believe everyone has it. A blind person's ability to use it improves through use and reliance the same way his hearing does. A blind person's hearing doesn't actually improve, but, rather, he become more alert to those sounds which tell him important things about his environment. The same is true of facial vision. As a blind person learns to use it he becomes more and more sensitive to the information it provides.

We've all heard of sighted people who are sure that someone is following them when they're out for a walk at night. I believe this is simply their inexperienced response to facial vision. When a sighted person walks past a car, tree, pole, or whatever, he senses it through facial vision. Not knowing what he's just sensed, he does what we all do, i.e. relates it to other times when he's had the same sensation. Times he'd easily relate it to would be when his own hand is near his face, when he's close to someone he's intimate with, or when he's in a crowd of people. That's why I believe sighted people jump to the conclusion that some unseen person is somehow following them, and, by inference, up to no good, thus making them feel like they're in imminent danger.

Whatever facial vision is, it's clear evidence that God has been so thorough in His design of us that He's given us backup senses to rely on when our major ones fail.

Dave Mielke

**23. When I had my remaining eye enucleated a few years ago, I wondered if it would have an adverse effect on my perceptions. Although I knew I had been tested and according to my doctors, I had no light perception in that eye. I had never seen just black. I often experienced colored flashing lights, and if anything, my blindness appeared to be more a silvery grayness than black. I think my variation of facial vision is partially hearing, partly perceiving temperature and air currents against the skin of my face. I am also aware of heat differences like in shadows and sunlight. I think once the barrage that people receive through vision is removed, the brain is able to pay closer attention to other cues and perceptions. This ability is always there, but because the ability to process information is limited, some of it is filtered out. Subtler cues get drown out in the background by the dominance of processing visual information. Focus also has an effect since when I am distracted, thinking hard, my facial vision is less efficient.

DiAnna Quietwater MO


I agree with Joyce Kane's response concerning "facial vision". She says "if I hold my hand arm or finger out, I see the movement". Fine! So, why is this called "facial vision" and not simply a little bit of vision? When I tell people that I see light and shadows, which I do, they tell me that I don't. These are people who are totally blind. Is this jealousy? What is the difference between this kind of vision, and "facial" vision? What makes it "facial" and not simply real? Why is this viewed as one writer put it as, "crazy blink's antics"? Blind people have got to stop putting each other down. Some sighted people, (though not all) do the same thing. Writers speak of blind people's "quirks and foibles" and that "a blind person walks to supposedly nowhere". Why is this? How about so many sighted people's "quirks and foibles"? Don't many sighted people "walk to supposedly nowhere" also? Aren't there many sighted people who do little with their lives? Why this outrageous double standard? and It appears as if blind people have internalized that demeaning pejorative attitude that many sighted people have toward us.

And I can't wait for some one to say I have a chip on my shoulder, 'cause guess what? I have one on each: I'm very well balanced!

Peace with Justice,

Lucia Marett, New York City, social work
supervisor, Administration for children's services

**24. Ellen Ottman FL

**25. I was born blind. Like everyone else who responded, I rely on auditory cues, what I feel with my cane, feet and my body, and some of my minimal light perception to judge the environment around me. John and I had just had our house remodeled so that it is more handicap accessible since he uses a wheelchair. I was walking up the ramp of our brand-new back deck while one of the construction was cutting some wood on a table saw. As I proceeded up the ramp, I had this feeling that someone else was on the deck with me because I felt the vibration under my feet. So, I stopped to let them by, thinking that they were behind me. When I reached the top of the ramp, one of the other construction workers asked me whether or not I felt him near me, as he noticed how I slowed down my pace up the ramp. I explained that I felt the deck's vibration beneath my feet but wasn't sure where exactly he was. He was fascinated by this, yet he wasn't surprised with how I detected someone's presence nearby since he'd been observing me off and on throughout the three weeks he and the other construction workers had been working at our house. I don't know whether or not the construction worker that was talking to me had ever been around blind people before, but he never talked down to me or treated me like I was dumb while he was here. He talked to me like he would to anybody else

who was sighted or not disabled.