The Netflix movie “Bird Box” continues to grow in popularity. The characters in the movie must go about their lives, mostly blindfold.
The movie inspired yet another internet challenge, this time called the Bird Box challenge where people are using blindfolds and trying to complete a variety of tasks. Netflix itself condemned the challenge, as it poses dangers.
Over at Envision, certified orientation and mobility specialist Laura Delcambre sees the opportunity to have a broader conversation about the challenges the blind and visually impaired community faces.
“While the Bird Box challenge is kind of a bad thing, it does bring to light some issues that our community members face,” Delcambre said.
In Delcambre’s training, she remembers having to eat a meal while blindfolded. The difficulty in knowing where items were on her plate as well as trying to maintain a conversation with those around here shed light on the difficulties the blind community faces on a daily basis.
As an alternative to the Bird Box Challenge, Delcambre recommended trying simple tasks like tying your shoes, putting together a matching outfit and getting dressed, or going from room to room in your home without the benefit of sight.
“Education is one of the most important things. A lot of folks don’t understand what the challenges are that people who are visually impaired, face. Oftentimes they don’t know how to help,” Delcambre said.
Terese Goren, a Wichitan who has been legally blind her whole life, says people would be surprised for how much they can learn without sight.
“Pay attention to what you’re touching, what you’re hearing, the wind direction around your body, spatial awareness…these are really amazing tools that can give you tons of information and it can give you an idea of what we’re experiencing when we live this every day,” Goren said.
As for how to help the blind and visually impaired, Goren who also serves as Envision’s assistive technology specialist, says to introduce and re-introduce yourself when approaching a blind person, even if it is someone you have met several times. If you’re talking to the person who cannot see, speak directly to them, not the seeing person they are with. Lastly, try to get a new perspective.
“My biggest hope from this challenge is that there is more inclusive opportunities…that folks who have quote on quote what you’d call normal vision will understand and not be afraid to include someone who is BVI (blind or visually impaired) and approach them,” Goren said.
If you complete one of the safe tasks mentioned in this article without the use of your vision, use the hashtag #EnvisionChallenge.