World Services for the Blind, which has had a Tumblr for a while without much outreach, is now under new management. If you are a loved one are blind or visually impaired and looking for a career, WSB may be the place for you! Check out our Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook for program announcements and opportunities! Or, if you just want to get involved and support us or maybe find out more about what we do, follow us and see what day-to-day life is like here for our clients and staff at WSB! 

Also, feel free to submit questions/comments to our ask box on our page, or if you tag anything with WSB, World services for the blind, or wsblind, we will check those tags regularly and get back with you/reblog.

Get excited, more announcements and pics to come!

Originally posted by nbcparksandrec

To Clarify:

… because the Netflix show didn’t explain well how Matt’s senses work.

- Yes, he is blind

- No, not ‘partially blind’ or ‘technically blind’- he’s full-on NLP (no light perception) as-blind-as-you-can-get blind

- The whole ‘world on fire’ thing is Netflix’s interpretation of his radar sense

- The radar sense isn’t really it’s own sense. It’s actually the amalgamation of his remaining senses forming a mental picture of his surroundings

- Basically, all he can do is sense objects in space- but he can’t make out details

- The radar sense is 360, so he doesn’t have to be facing an object to percieve it, which means means he is always aware of his position in relation to objects around him

- His radar sense is directly linked to how well his remaining senses work- if his hearing is messed up, his radar isn’t going to work as well

tl;dr: Matt can only sense the space objects take up, he can’t tell fine details or what they look like. He is actually blind


A remarkable way for the visually impaired to sample the masterpieces

The No. 1 unspoken rule in an art museum: Don’t touch. Museum guards are strategically placed throughout museums to ensure harmful oils on visitors’ hands won’t corrode artwork.

But at the current exhibition at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, touching is encouraged.

Works from masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Francisco Goya, and El Greco can be felt at the exhibition for the museum’s visually impaired guests. It features six three-dimensional works from different genres created using a technique called “Didu” that adds volume and texture. The works are accompanied by text in written in Braille. The museum’s sighted guests can experience the exhibit with darkened glasses and an accompanying audio guide.

“Developed in collaboration with professionals in the sector of visual impairment,” reads the exhibition’s text, “this project allows for the reality of the painting to be perceived in order to mentally recreate it as a whole and thus provide an emotional perception of the work. Non-sighted visitors will be able to obtain a heightened degree of artistic-aesthetic-creative enjoyment in order to explain, discuss and analyze these works in the Prado.”

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Tumblr accessibility culture fix: link text

Dear Tumblr users:

There’s a cultural thing on Tumblr that if people changed just a little, would be a big accessibility win. You know the technique of linking to the source of content with just a linked “X”, eg: [x], or numbers, eg 1, 2, and 3? Please don’t do this.

That tiny “X” makes a tiny, tiny target. It’s hard to see if you have vision impairments or other visual processing issues. It’s hard to navigate to with a mouse for users with mobility issues, and a nearly impossible target for many people with small touch screens. For screen reader users, it simply announces as “link: X” and can be very difficult to understand out of context. For people with cognitive processing issues, it’s a link that tells the user nothing about its destination.

And most of these limitations can also be problems for able-bodied people!

Instead, using meaningful link text. Some examples might be

For a video, the title of the video is a pretty good choice, eg “How Blind People Use Twitter & You Tube on the iPhone 4S”. Or “Source”, or “source at YouTube”, or “video source”.

It’s a little thing which can be hugely beneficial to people with disabilities. Thanks, and I hope you consider changing how you link.

(Please reblog, too!)

Things Matt Murdock CAN’T Do:

- Read a clock, watch, etc.

- Read signs (street signs, menus, etc.)

- Use a tablet without assistive technology

- Read a blackboard, etc.

- Know what kind of bills he’s handling without some kind of special identifying techniques

- Differentiate between customers and staff when he walks into a store

- Knowing what bus is coming to the bus stop

- Recognize colors, textures, or fine detail

- Recognize objects with ambiguous shapes (such as telling the difference between a cardboard box and a square footstool without having to touch them)

- Tell if a store has moved and/or been replaced with a different one

- Pick out wrapping paper

- Listen to music using earbuds and still be able to walk around unaided

- Immediately tell if someone is naked or if they are just wearing form-fitting clothing

- Wear matching clothing without having to have a labeling system

- Know what his best friend looks like

tl;dr: A lot of things you take for granted


Teen Beauty Vlogger Won’t Let Blindness Keep Her From Flawlessly Doing Her Makeup

Despite losing her eyesight about two years ago, Lucy Edwards has mastered her daily beauty routine – no mirror required.

Lucy, 19, lost sight in her right eye when she was 11, BuzzFeed reports. She lost it in her left eye when she was 17. With her sister’s support, she was able to come up with a regimen so she could do her makeup without seeing her reflection.

Watch Lucy answer all your questions about blindness here. 

anonymous asked:

How can a blind person fight an able bodied person in a farmhouse, and still manage to get away?

They can’t.

Blind martial artists do exist. They’re something of a rarity, but blindness doesn’t mean you can’t learn martial arts. They can’t learn it the same way a sighted martial artist would; it requires an entirely different teaching method. Blindness also doesn’t mean they can’t win a fight. But, being able to see is a critical advantage.

It’s the difference between knowing there’s a knife on the kitchen table, and not. It’s the difference between knowing your opponent is going for that knife, or not. It’s the ability to transition stance and techniques to deal with a suddenly armed opponent.

If you’re sitting there thinking, “but, they’ll hear it.” Yes. But the sound itself is far less informative than the ability to see what your opponent is doing. Was that a knife? A loaded 1911? The TV remote? If you can see it, then you know. But, if you can’t…

In fact, of the two major sensory disabilities, a deaf fighter will be far better suited to deal with actual combat than a blind one. You can operate without being able to hear your opponent. You’re still at a serious disadvantage, but it is far less debilitating.

That’s the first problem, the second is escape. How does your character know it’s a farm house? More importantly, even once they find a way outside, how do they know what direction to run in?

If they know where they are, then that’s partially averted. If it’s their home, they can get around, and know where to go for safety. But, if it’s unfamiliar territory, then running won’t make things better.

Even in the best circumstances, without a disability, getting away from an attacker takes quick thinking, situational awareness, and some running. For someone who’s blind, that’s not impossible, but it is much more difficult. They need to know where they are, where they can find safety, and how to get between those two points without being harmed or killed in the process. Without using visual cues to establish or help with any of that.

We get variations on questions fairly frequently. But, disabilities mean there are things characters cannot do. Things a normal person could do easily become difficult. Things a normal person could do with difficulty become impossible. It doesn’t mean they can’t participate. Or that they don’t have value. But it does mean, for someone living with a disability, they can’t simply overcome it on a whim.

I say this, and I still love Daredevil. I’ll still argue he’s one of the most compelling characters Stan Lee ever created. You can have a character who finds strength in adversity. But, it never comes from disregarding his disability.

We get a lot of questions that run in a similar thread to this one. “My character lost an arm…” “Is deaf in one ear…” “Has PTSD…” “Is blind in one eye…” “Has no lower intestine…” And it follows to the inevitable, “how can they ignore that and do what I want?” They can’t. You shouldn’t. Ignoring it is incredibly disrespectful to people that actually live with those disabilities, and, to borrow a term from roleplaying games, being a munchkin. These are very different issues from the original question, but, let’s hit each one in turn.

The first is an extension of The Law of Conservation of Characters. This is a term that was coined (I think) by Roger Ebert. Basically, if you’re taking the time to put a character in your story, they need to be there for a reason. He would use it as a test to identify the traitor/killer/surprise lagoon monster, ahead of schedule by looking at the cast and identifying any character that did not serve a purpose.

The extension is to turn it around and be aware of this in your own writing. If you’re putting a character in your story, there needs to be a reason. Further, if they have a trait (any trait) it also needs to be there for a reason. If you’re adding a character with a disability because, “you want to,” then you’re going to (at best) be pandering or (at worst) pretending to be inclusive to make yourself feel better.

And, yes, actually talking about a disability is a legitimate reason to put it in your story. If you’re writing about the experiences of someone who has lost their sight, then that is a trait that needs to be there. If that’s the case, then you really need to do some in depth research on the subject before starting.

If you’re adding traits to a character because they add texture to the world or provide red herrings, that can certainly be legitimate. For example: if you’re writing a murder mystery, and one of the suspects was a soldier who fought against the victim’s side during “the war,” then that’s both. Also, in a good classic murder mystery or spy thriller, a few extra red herring characters aren’t necessarily a misstep.

But, at the same time, you do need to consider what those traits are, and if they’re appropriate for the story you’re trying to tell. If you’re writing about a character escaping from kidnappers, then blindness or being a paraplegic will throw a monkey wrench into the entire endeavor.

If you’re writing a murder mystery, and the character with the clear motive couldn’t be the killer, because they’re blind, and the victim was sniped… then that’s a piece of the puzzle.

I’m singling out mysteries here, because that’s one of few the genres that embraces red herrings as plot devices.

If you’re simply adding disabilities to a character because you want to be, “inclusive…” Please, for fuck sake; stop. It’s not inclusive, it is, at best, pandering, and frequently, insulting.

So, let’s talk about munchkins, and what they mean to you as a writer.

If you’re somehow not familiar with the term, a munchkin is an RPG player who aggressively builds their characters to be as powerful as possible, subverting the rules and common sense as needed. As far as I know, the term dates back to UseNet posts in the early 90s, though the word itself is borrowed from The Wizard of Oz books.

The closest literary relative would be a Mary Sue, but that’s not really an applicable analogy because of the methods a Munchkin uses to optimize their character. Munchkinism is heavily dependent on a game’s specific rules, but, in extremely broad strokes, a Munchkin will take penalties in something they don’t care about in order to boost the capabilities they’re using to exploit the system.

What does this mean? It goes back to what I was saying a minute ago. If you’re giving your character a trait, it needs to be there for a reason. The basic trade off mechanic that munchkins feed on is one that makes a lot of sense in building a character. If you have a character who is socially inept, but very intelligent, that makes sense as a basic design tradeoff. It is a quick reliable way to remind yourself that your characters are different people. One does this, another does that.

Frequently, in Munchkinism, you’re looking for ways to take penalties that won’t actually matter, because you can just work around them, or trade the penalties elsewhere. If you’re building a character as a combat piece, and nothing else, that’s not really a problem. But, in roleplaying, as with writing, the first goal is to tell a story, not to demonstrate your prowess as a rules lawyer.

You’ll see elements of this in some Mary Sues. The character, as written, has some horrible flaw that just… gets… ignored, by everyone. We’re told they’re socially awkward, but see no evidence of it in the actual text. We’re told they can’t drive, but we’re never shown any of day to day hindrance that causes. We’re told they’re pathologically afraid of violence… because they’re fantastic at it? That’s not how that works.

And, that’s the problem with a lot of these questions. They boil down to, “I slapped a penalty on my character, now how do I cheat my way around it?” You don’t. You shouldn’t. Embrace it.

When you’re writing, you create the world and set the rules. You might be borrowing those rules from some approximation of reality, but you set them. What makes characters interesting isn’t the things they can do, it’s the things that limit them. The things you put in front of your character that they can’t overcome without significant effort, or that they’re unwilling to yield against, even when it breaks them. In creating your world, you need to set those limits and work within them, rather than looking for ways to subvert them.

Characters who work against their limits are far more interesting and memorable than ones who slip the bounds and stomp off. Sometimes that means you’ve written a character who can’t fight. You can go two ways with that; they refuse to admit they’re not up for it, and keep getting beaten down, or they try to work their way around without resorting to violence.

How does a blind character get out of a rural farmhouse where they’re being held? By being smarter or more manipulative than their captors. By working out the weak links in the social fabric of their captors. By finding a way to contact someone in the outside world. By thinking, really, thinking about their situation, and making sure they have a plan for what they’ll do next. (Get a knife, stab the guy… what’s next?) That you’re asking, suggests you have no more of an idea than I do, and you have more information on the setting.

Does blindness give them access to any more information that a sighted character wouldn’t have? Maybe. But, if asked about a character with no prior history of violence, my final advice would be the same. You set up a situation where violence should be the last resort, and has the greatest risk of getting your character killed. Unless they want to die, their own ability in risk assessment should have pointed them somewhere else.


We Asked a Color Vision Expert About the Color of that Dress

Something really weird happened on the internet today. A girl posted a picture of a dress on Tumblr, with a caption that sounded pretty desperate: “Guys please help me—is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out.”

One of my friends sent me the link. “What color is the dress?” he asked. “Blue and black, obviously,” I replied. Then I asked my co-worker Mike Pearl, just to be sure. To my horror, he honestly and legitimately saw the dress as white and gold.

About two-thirds of people see it as white and gold, according to a Buzzfeed quiz, which made me feel like I was going insane. I opened the link in multiple different browsers. I looked at it on my laptop and on my iPhone. I printed the image out. It still looked blue and black to me. Finally, I called up Dr. Jay Neitz, PhD, a color vision researcher at the University of Washington.


Augustus, perhaps you’d like to share your fears with the group.”
“My fears?”
“I fear oblivion,” he said without a moment’s pause. “I fear it like the proverbial blind man who’s afraid of the dark.”
“Too soon,” Isaac said, cracking a smile.
“Was that insensitive?” Augustus asked. “I can be pretty blind to other people’s feelings.
—  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green