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Doing Everyday Things Blind or Deaf-Blind

How can blind and deafblind tell the time?

There are two kinds of watches that blind and deafblind people can use to tell the time: talking watches and braille watches. Talking watches can be set to announce the time at regular intervals (hourly, every 30 minutes, etc.) or at the push of a button. Despite the misnomer, braille watches don't actually require the knowledge of braille. They're simply tactile versions of analog (face clock) style watches. Typically, a braille watch has three raised dots at 12 o'clock, two raised dots at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock, and a single raised dots at all the other hour or 5-minute markers. Typically a braille watch has hour and minute hands but no second hand. The glass over the face of the watch can then be lifted, which automatically freezes the hands, so that the relation between the raised dots and hands can be felt for time-telling.

How can the blind and deaf-blind do house chores like cooking and cleaning?

When someone goes blind or experiences a significant decrease in vision, they are provided rehabilitation services that teach the person how to cook and clean. Alternative techniques and adaptive technology can be used in both cases. For examples the dials on a stove or washing machine can be marked with tactile markers or bright colors if the person has usable vision. The person is also taught how to be able to tell if a piece of meat is cooked, a pot of water is ready, by the sense of smell and sometimes by touch (if it's not dangerous). Other appliances like microwaves and blenders can be marked with braille or large print. A person with usable vision might also make use of other optical aids like magnifiers to check things visually.

How can a blind person match their clothes independently?

There are several ways to make sure your clothes match with vision loss. One of the ways is to just know the feel of different types of clothes and remember what color they are. For example, a pair of pants with specific buttons might be black and another pair with a zipper might be beige. Clothes that feel the same but vary in color can be labeled either with tactile markers or braille labels. Some blind people choose to invest in more expensive equipment that can be placed on fabric and announce the color of the fabric. When buying new clothes, a blind person who can't see well enough to tell colors apart themselves can ask a store person or sighted friend to help them.

How does a blind or deaf-blind person know where they're going?

A blind or deaf-blind person can know where they are going by memorizing landmarks. Just as a driver might know where to turn because of a specific visual landmark, a blind person can use auditory landmarks, and both a blind and deaf-blind person can use tactile landmarks. Smells and air currents can be helpful too. By traveling in the same area over and over again, a mental map can be formed in the brain. Some blind or deaf-blind people choose to use portable GPS systems with auditory or braille output to help them with directions and give them extra information.

When using public transportation, how does a blind or deaf-blind person know which bus or train to get onto?

In big cities, most buses and trains have a voice that announce the route. If this isn't the case, the blind or deaf-blind person can ask another traveler to tell them when a certain bus or train arrives, or may also carry a card that asks to alert them when a certain bus or train arrives.

How does a blind or deaf-blind person know their bus or train stop?

There are several ways to be able to tell when it's the right time to get off the bus or train. In the case of trains and buses that stop at every stop, the stops can be counted. If a bus doesn't stop at every stop, the blind person can often get a feel from hills and turns. If a blind or deaf-blind person feels unsure, they might ask the driver or another passenger to tell them when they arrive at a certain stop.

In many larger cities, buses have a voice that announces each stop, or the bus driver is trained to announce them verbally. A deaf-blind traveler might still ask for the driver to tap them on the shoulder. Another more high-tech option is to use a portable device with a built-in GPS and either audio or braille output, which can alert the person to when they arrive at their stop.

How do blind people handle money?

Some blind people have enough residual vision to see the number of a denomination with or without an optical aid. Some blind people don't have enough vision to tell the number on the denomination and use another system.

Some countries vary the size, shape, or texture of their currency denominations for blind people. Other countries don't. In countries where the denominations are uniform in shape, size, and feel, blind people generally use a system of folding. For example, single bills might be left unfolded, fives folded width-wise, tens folded length-wise, twenties folded in both directions, etc. In order to first find out what a denomination is, a blind person can either rely on a sighted person or invest in expensive technology that determines the denomination electronically.

Coins are distinguishable by size, shape, and the presence or absence of ridges on the edge.

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