DADP CEO Natalie Murphy
DADP CEO Natalie Murphy

The Dominica Association of Disabled People (DADP) is observing the Month of May as Blind Awareness Month and one of the programme's objectives is: To create a greater awareness of visual impairment and persons living with this disability.

According to the DADP blindness and visual impairment have existed all through human history.

"As with many other human experiences, blindness has inherited a mythology of its own. Even in the more enlightened world of today, myths and misconceptions about it still prevail," Nathalie Murthy, the DADP executive director stated. "Perhaps the best way to get at the truths about blindness or visual impairment is by destroying some of the myths and misconceptions".

For example: blind people do not become inner directed and possess extra sensory powers; do not have extraordinary musical talent; do not lose their ability to appreciate colour. This can be enhanced by association with tactile surfaces (touch) and through concept development.

"A common misconception is that blind people live in a world of total darkness. This is not commonly the case. More than 80 per cent of people with changed vision retain some ability to see," Murthy states in an article.

"Even a person with profound vision loss may be able to determine the outlines of objects, light perception or the absence of light, light projection, or what direction the light may be coming from.

"Blindness by definition is total loss of sight. The reality is that there is vast grey area between normal vision and blindness. This area is referred to as low vision; the word low indicates that vision is not normal, the word vision indicates that it is not blindness either.

"Overprotection of blind and visually impaired persons by those who are sighted is often the result of the mystery and misconceptions. The most important thing to remember is to treat blind and visually impaired persons with dignity and courtesy".