Only joking… but in celebration of National Balance Week (16 – 22 September), I thought that I would talk about balance and how this affects me (Dave) because of my sight loss.
It is quite common for blind people to suffer with poor balance and this is because good balance generally requires 3 things…
1. Your vision
2. Your ability to feel your feet and sense the position of your body in the environment or surroundings
3. Your capacity to tell if you are really moving through space.
On the whole my balance is good. I sometimes go a little off kilter as a result of being caught out on uneven surfaces (or as a result of a few too many beers) but even then I’m able to correct myself usually before I end up on the floor!
I don’t do any exercises to aid this but I’m aware that there are some exercises that blind people can do to strengthen their other senses to compensate for a lack of vision. For anyone interested in what exercises you can do, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) have some very clear ones: http://www.afb.org/section.aspx?SectionID=67&TopicID=313&DocumentID=3470
I guess, now that I think about it, I have to concentrate more on moving around when it’s very noisy or in crowded places. Whether I’m concentrating to ensure that I don’t get disorientated or to keep my balance, I’m not sure but I expect a bit of both.
I remember talking to a physiotherapist on one of our training courses a while ago and her asking how I managed to stand all day and her commending me on my posture and ability to stand still. She had worked with several blind people who really struggled to stay upright or who sway and wanted to know how I did it… I couldn’t answer her, I just can!
I’m no doctor (nor am I a scientist, therapist or brainbox) but from reading some of Dr Google’s results, it would seem that there is a link with people who have poor balance due to vision loss and people who have inner ear disorders such as Meniere’s disease and Labyrinthitis. It would seem that the same part of the brain uses these senses to perform perfect balance and if one of them doesn’t communicate with the brain as expected it causes balance problems.
Whilst writing this Insight I discovered, via searching online, that, earlier this year, during the filming of America’s Got Talent, there was in fact a trapeze act involving a blind guy. However, vision impaired Tyce dropped his wife Mary on their first attempt!! You can watch it all happen, just Google AGT blind trapeze! Maybe it is a sensible decision for us to stick with the Vision Impairment & Disability Awareness training after all!! 😊 (smiley face)
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
Interested to learn more about VIDA Training? Read about our Training and Consultancy packages, specialising in Vision Impairment and Disability Awareness, Communication and Team Building or contact us for further information.