No one can reiterate enough that blindness does not mean a loss of ones life. Rather, the diminishment of sight should mark the entry point into a new stage of life. The cause for this view is that we live in a very visual world. Anytime you hinder this source of sensory input, you begin to fundamentally change aspects of an individual.
I bring up this rather bold statement after reading a couple of different articles as of late. One involved a small study in Australia, that showed some correlations and examples of suicidal ideations and attempts with sight loss. The Second article describes the fear many cultures historically placed on blindness to present day anxieties. I strongly implore you to check them both out:
Suicidal Paper – http://eyefreedom.com/suicide_paper.pdf
Why Do We Fear the Blind – http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/opinion/sunday/why-do-we-fear-the-blind.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all&
Both of these articles provides a very clear picture on a major underlying issue about sight loss. This is the fear of venturing into the unknown and losing a sense of control over our lives. I am not going to deny that some difficulties or barriers arise during the adaptation and acceptance process, but then when doesn’t life establish barriers. The only difference here is that the individual first must overcome self induced barriers. These barriers range from saying they cannot preform a function or a fear of losing their primary identity.
The second set of barriers comes from our family and support systems. The most common barrier that surfaces is over compensation. This basically refers to whenever other people in our lives strips us of our rights to self-determination.
A superficial example occurs at restaurants. The majority of the time I walk into a place with a friend or my wife, the host and wait staff focuses on my companion. They ask that person for my order or assumes they are paying. This is when a visually impaired individual needs to speak up and politely take control and freely ask questions, and not wait for for someone to hand you control.
In these cases, blind rehab provides the necessary training to regain our independence. It matters not if the person is 3 or 103 years old. Some form of blind rehab training equips the person with an array of tools to achieve their goals. For some, these goals are simple items like being able to consume the daily newspaper or religious text. For others, like myself, this is traveling the world and advocating for disability equality and acquiring Masters and and higher education.