Thursday, June 7, 2012
The problem with simulation
This is the process that many organizations use when training volunteers to better understand the world of a disabled person. A very good strategy if I may say so but there are some drawbacks to this and for what it is worth, here is the biggest one.
In the world of a sighted person there is the reality that the sighted person can return to their world of normalcy after simulation, but for the disabled person this is not the case. I will focus on the world of a blind person. We learn to cope without vision. We navigate without sight and we do all of this knowing that there is not going to be a return to normal vision. We have developed our own coping methods and we have found ways to do all of this.
Simulation can definitely help a sighted person to better understand to some extent. A sighted person would have gotten a snapshot of our world after they have gone through a simulated environment of our world, but at the end of the day, it is only a snapshot and nothing more. The big difference, as stated above, is that the sighted person is assured that they can return to their sighted environment and we can’t.
For a person who was born with either no vision or partial sight, the coping mechanisms are developed out of the crib so to speak. For the one who has lost it during childhood or adulthood, the mechanisms are developed with reference points to a sighted world that they have been forced to leave behind. There is no return for this latter group and there was never a return for the former. So, there could never be a true meaning through simulation for those trying to understand. Just a simulation that lasts for a wee moment in the lives of those who have been brave enough to try it.
I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and share my thoughts with others. Come by any time and visit me at www.sterlingcreations.ca.