One thing I learned very quickly after losing my sight is that if you are blind, you are most likely aware of it. But, that's not really what Blindness Awareness Month is all about. BAM (as I'll be referring to it in this post) is dedicated to taking the discussion of all things sight related to the forefront of the public. It is about having good eye health as well as discussing blindness and visual impairment as a whole.
It's a Big Deal
There are a variety of stats out there that cover how many blind and visually impaired people are in the world. It is somewhere between 150 and 300 million people. And, there are at least 7 million in the United States alone. But, I think BAM isn't so much about the global numbers, but the fact that these numbers represent real people. Individuals who have hopes, dreams, fears, struggles and a drive to live their life to the fullest.
I know for me, I never consider myself one of the millions of people affected with low vision. I am just a person who is living life and I also happen to be visually impaired. But, BAM can be a great time to start or continue the discussion of blindness with people around you, especially your sighted friends and family members.
Unlike a major holiday like Christmas or Halloween, you might not know just what to do to celebrate this month. Well, I've got a few suggestions for you below!
- Use #BlindnessAwarenessMonth on your social media to connect with others around the world who are celebrating and to let people know more about blindness in general.
- Start a discussion with someone in your life who is blind. Ask them how much they know about blindness, what they aren't sure about and if they have questions. Challenge them to learn about visual impairment and how they can help.
- October 15th is White Cane Safety Day. Proudly use your white cane this day and remember that is is simply a tool to help you.
- Listen to a podcast, watch a video or read a blog post that is blindness related. The American Foundation for the Blind and Blind New World are great places to start!
- Share your own story of blindness with someone else. This could be a Facebook post, a talk at a local organization, a Youtube video or just having coffee with a friend. Sharing your story can be so impactful to others and help to spread the message of BAM!
These are just a few ideas for you. There are so many other things you can do. The important thing to remember is the blindness and visual impairment affect a lot of people, but it isn't the end of the world for them. Let's make the world aware of the awesome things the blind and VI people can do!