The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Orientation and Mobility: Trust the Cane


This past week I had my after holiday lesson with Elaine. I had to miss a week or this would have been sooner because I was sick, and I still am a little sick yet; but feeling much better.

This lesson was simple. Navigate around the block right out side my home. Oh, and did I mention, while wearing blinder glasses? This way it’s sure that you really CAN NOT SEE ANYTHING! Things get a little more interesting now don’t they?

White Cane ManWe made one pass up the block with out the glasses so she could see that I was walking in step with the cane. By now and all the practice I have been doing on my own this was no problem at all; she was impressed.

After we made it to the top, we crossed the street and then, with the blinding glasses on made our way down the other side. I was a little hesitant to say the least. This side of the street the sidewalks are very bad! Upturned bricks and poorly maintained, make it a challenge even for me and mom in daylight, let alone when you cannot see any thing at all.

Sweeping the cane from side to side, I suddenly became more aware of every bump and dip in front of me. The cane was providing the information I wanted. We cleared the bad part of the sidewalk with not too much trouble.

As we continue, she informs me in a few more steps we will be at the curb, and to tell her when I think I found it… Sure enough in just a few more steps, I felt the cane dip, and my foot slope down the ramp at the curb.

We made a right and walked up one of our side streets, this sidewalk was much better, and again she says tell me when you find the curb… No problem! As we stand at an alley way, she says tell me what you hear; well I did hear a car idling but she says it is parked, but that’s good, it’s what she wanted to know.

We continue on our walk, and I’m feeling a bit more comfortable and pick up pace a little bit, still with the blinding glasses on, we make our way around the whole block! Stopping at curbs, listening… As we pass houses and open lots she reminds me to listen for the differences in pitch of how sounds change from an enclosed space to an open space.

We finished our walk… I had navigated a whole city block around my house truly blind, using just my cane.

We also went over more cane use at curbs, and how to hold the cane across your body to make it more visible to people and cars; also stepping off the curb and continuing the proper arc to again stay in step.

I’m progressing well! Lets see what next week brings!

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The Perfect Focus goes Odiogo!


As you can see from some new buttons, I’m now using the Odiogo service. I found them after visiting a fellow disabled bloggers web site over at “A Life Without Limits“… Debbie.

Debbie, uses many assistive technologies to help her in daily life, one being Speech Recognition software on her computer to control it, and among other things type (say) her blog posts. The program she uses is called Dragon Naturally Speaking. Dragon’ has been around for many years and I have used it myself in the past. In fact, many doctors and lawyers use this very same program to dictate their notes.

It’s not cheap, but YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR… You can learn more about Dragon Naturally Speaking from their web site at http://www.nuance.com

But any way… What caught my eye on Debbie’s site was Odiogo. It’s a FREE service to bloggers to convert your text posts to speech podcasts, so people can LISTEN to your blog, and not have to read it.

I think this is great for us folks who cannot see to well or for people that may be dyslexic. In fact I know of at least one person who checks this blog who is dyslexic, and I think could greatly benefit from this service.

To find out more about Odiogo (short for Audio to Go) visit Odiogo.com. Again it is FREE, so what do you have to loose?

To use Odiogo on this blog or others, simply click the “Listen Now” button at the top of each post… Or you can use our Odiogo Feed to subscribe to our now podcast posts via iTunes or any of your favorite other services. Though Odiogo is free, for bloggers to use it, you still must submit your feeds to have them converted. See the Odiogo site for more information.

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The good, the bad, and the UGLY!


Well today was such a mixed bag, I know I have been so busy editing photos I just don’t have time to post! Sorry.

The Good

Today I got news that friend Cole won an essay contest… But not just any contest. This contest won him A NEW VAN (well his family)… Not just any van a FULLY ACCESSIBLE VAN WITH A LIFT! You can read the post,Cole did it! To find out more.

The Bad

Well not bad, but sad any way. Today is the 3rd anniversary of my grandmothers death. She passed away at the age of 83… I miss you gram’.

The UGLY

Well, unsightly? I awoke to a jackhammer pounding away. Asking mom, what the hell was going on; and looked out the front window, what do I see? A water main had burst RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE! Water was flooding down the street, a man with a jackhammer was working away, a backhoe and dump truck where getting ready to excavate.

Water Main

By this time, we had about 6-inches of water in the basement, but nothing was damaged. We hooked up the sump pump and got it taken care of. It took the men from the Borough a few hours to fix; and there was a slight hold up because we have city gas, so PECO had to be called to mark the gas lines before the men could dig more.

But a few hours later, every thing was fix; except now, there is a LARGE, about 4-foot by 10-foot, and about 5-foot deep hole in front of my house! What luck! Did I mention it was 22ºF outside?

So, how was your day?

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