Texas Tech students do "blindness simulation" for disability teaching program
Millions of people across the world suffer from blindness, and a couple of Texas Tech students are using this week to step in their shoes.
This is a part of "blindness simulation" for several Tech students in the Sensory Disability Teaching program.
In this exercise, there is one person as the guide, and one person with the blindfold.
Nora Griffin-Shirley, the program's director, said in order to properly lead someone who is visually impaired, her students must learn what it is like.
"The reason why it's so important is because we want the students to learn the skills they're going to eventually teach. We do not grade the actual blindfold work, but we do grade on how they teach the person who is under the blindfold," Griffin-Shirley said.
She said this is one of the final tasks of the five-week program, and upon completion, her students will be ready to lead.
"After they finish this program, many will go on to do internships where they will work at rehabilitation centers for visually impaired people, schools for the blind, or public schools, where most visually-impaired children are," Griffin-Shirley said.
Chelsea Schumacher, one of the students in the program, said there were several occasions where she was almost hit by a car, realizing how difficult a small task like going through a crosswalk without eyesight can be.
"That, for me, was very overwhelming and very frustrating because I wanted to rely on my vision, but I couldn't. Right after, Dr. Nora said no, keep your blindfold on because your students won't have that ability to take it off and regroup," Schumacher said.
Monica Deutchman, also a student in the program, said this simulation affirmed why she wants to be a visual impairment teacher.
"I just strongly believe everybody should be able to navigate their world as independently as possible, and that means everybody. So that's what drives me here to teach those skills and I can't wait to go home and apply them," Deutchman said.