DISCLOSURE: I was provided an advanced copy of this book by the author so that I might give my honest thoughts regarding it. I shall do that.
I have for the past week been reading What Every Blind Person Needs You To Know, by Leeanne Hunt. This handbook is an intricate collection of scenarios that are intended to aid a novice sighted person in acquainting him or herself in best practices when interacting with an individual who is blind or low vision, and especially a family member. Each chapter is laid out in a similar fashion: Beginning with a section header (Attitudes, confidence-building, encouragement, etc), introducing it with a bit of her personal experience, and then supplementing with subsections that help clarify how one might strengthen the specified area. Finally, the section wraps up with a list of suggested questions that one can ask in order to determine the degree to which one is working to help the blind person cope with a particular life goal/area.
As one who was born blind, I find this book to be insightful. I have often wondered how persons who have to adjust to blindness later in life, what I would say is its target audience, manage to do this with varying degrees of success as I have seen). I am sure that it does help to have someone who cares enough to invest in guides such as this, as well as just going to get appropriate exposure and access to organizations that might offer further assistance.
While heavy emphasis is indeed placed on blind people within families, I think it could also be good for people who are interacting from a different social standpoint, such as a close friendship or romantic relationship. Especially if one’s condition changes once such a relationship has already begun, it could be quite important for the sighted individual to alter his or her attitude toward disability and what it is likely to mean, especially given that blindness as a disability is the most feared. If you wish to stick around and help your friend or partner, then you have first to come to grips with your own thoughts and perceptions thereof.
Anyone who grabs a copy of this book will find themselves moved by the degree to which Hunt searches herself, drawing on personal vignettes to demonstrate the concepts that she then lays out. The book even has a certain order, taking you from ancient/modern beliefs of blindness all the way through goal-setting and building hope with and among others. I have pondered whether I could construct such a piece myself, and think that she has managed to do a great job in doing so.
The book is available via Amazon at the above link as of August 16, or can be pre-ordered at the time of this entry’s posting. Please do take a look, and if it serves your needs or those of others you know, feel free to recommend.
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