Social isolation can be a major problem for people with visual impairment. Limited transportation, communication difficulties and the lack of accessibility make it a challenge for them to attend social events, visit family and friends and participate in community activities. This often leads to feelings of loneliness and being disconnected from the world. Fortunately, with technology and support, there are many ways to stay connected.
Staying Connected with Technology
One way to stay connected is through social media. On platforms like YouTube and Facebook, people can meet others who are experiencing similar challenges dealing with their visual impairment. They can also connect with friends and family, join groups with common interests and follow news and events. Using screen readers or text-to-speech software, visually impaired people can easily navigate these platforms and stay in touch.
Another way to stay connected is through audio and video conferencing. Applications such as Zoom and Skype offer an easy and accessible way to talk to distant family members and friends.
Going out can be challenging, but by using visual interpretation services and apps designed specifically for navigation, people with visual impairments have new ways to navigate their surroundings. Be My Eyes, for example, is a free app that connects visually impaired people with sighted volunteers who can assist them by describing their surroundings and identifying signs and buildings.
Connecting with Local Communities and Organizations for the Blind and Visually Impaired
A great way to get connected is by attending local events and activities by organizations supporting blind and visually impaired people. These can be online meetings, social events at activity centers or exciting group outings. The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired in your state is a good place to get information about groups and programs near you.
Staying Connected through Books
When going out isn’t an option, reading books is the perfect remedy. Books keep people connected to the world by providing knowledge and entertainment. Reading stimulates the imagination by taking readers on an exciting adventure or allowing them to see the world through the lives and actions of characters. For people with visual impairments, this is possible through the National Library Service run by the Library of Congress. NLS offers books in a variety of formats, including Braille, USB sticks and digital downloads.
Through technology, community support and reading books, people with visual impairment can overcome the barriers of social isolation and make meaningful connections.
By Guenivir Kendrick with help from ChatGPT
Be My Eyes. (n.d.). Be my eyes – see the world together. Be My Eyes – See the world together. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://www.bemyeyes.com/#:~:text=Be%20My%20Eyes%20is%20a,people%20lead%20more%20independent%20lives.
NLS. (2023, March 23). NLS at the Library of Congress. National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.loc.gov/nls/#:~:text=National%20Library%20Service%20(NLS)%20is,from%20using%20regular%20print%20materials.