By: Johanna Spreckelsen, Delphine Duvieusart, Diego Garcia and Menno Verburg
Everyone loves a nice walk! Today however, you are up for a bit of a different experience. Have you ever wondered what it is like to have to navigate your surroundings while visually impaired? Today, you might find yourself taking one step closer towards this experience.
Let’s be clear about one thing before we start: While this activity will help you empathize with the struggle of disability, it falls short of simulating the complexity of such an intricate and all-encompassing experience. Instead, this walk will demonstrate first-hand the importance of adapting our cities to being accessible to people with visual impairment. You will listen to a short “eye-opening” podcast, go for a walk through your city with simulated partial blindness, and finish with a reflection and discussion. If there is one thing this activity emphasizes, it is this: You don’t have to go far to encounter the challenges faced by those around us. Some struggles are right in front of our eyes, hidden in plain sight.
The goal of the Sightseeing Tour is to demonstrate the challenges those struggling with visual impairment face even in something as “simple” as navigating their surroundings. During the walk through the city, participants will take turns wearing glasses simulating cataracts and gradual vision loss. They will then complete different tasks under safety precautions, such as crossing roads in less and more busy and open areas.
This activity takes around 1.5 hours, can be completed by at least 2 and up to 16 people, and is aimed for university students, but can be experienced by anyone aged 15 and up.
This simulation includes the following learning goals:
1. Create Recognition:
We try to facilitate a better understanding of what visual impairment is and what constitutes it. We tackle the false idea that all visually impaired individuals are fully blind, as well as how widespread it is: The struggle is right in front of our eyes.
2. Generate Empathy:
We try and foster care for this struggle by simulating the experience of two different types of partial blindness first-hand. A personal experience is always much more powerful than merely witnessing the struggle from a distance.
3. Encourage Outreach:
We encourage reflection on the experience of visual impairment and realistic solutions for tackling this struggle.
4. Most importantly, we emphasize:
Visual Impairment is a struggle exacerbated by the structures and society around us.
A detailed package for distribution is currently under development.
– Struggle in the City Team