The Perils of Playing Blind: Problems with Blindness Simulation and a Better Way to Teach about Blindness

By Arielle Michal Silverman

Preferred Citation

Silverman, A. M. (2015). The Perils of Playing Blind: Problems with Blindness Simulation, and a Better Way to Teach About Blindness Section. Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research, 5(2). Retrieved from https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/jbir/jbir15/jbir050201.html. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5241/5-81

Abstract


People often blindfold themselves to try to understand what it is like to be blind. Though this “blindness simulation” can trigger empathy toward blind people, it can also mislead people about blindness, because it highlights the initial trauma of becoming blind rather than the realities of being blind. In this article, I review disability research and scholarship on the positive and negative effects of disability simulations, showing that such simulations promote empathy but can also promote discrimination. In order to accurately teach about blindness, teaching exercises should incorporate mastery of blindness skills and meaningful contact with other blind people. More research is needed to determine how blindfolded learning should be best incorporated into the curriculum for training teachers of the blind.

Keywords


Blindness, simulation, attitudes, discrimination, professional development


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5241/5-81

The Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research is copyright (c) 2015 to the National Federation of the Blind.