A Blind Challenge
Leicester charity Vista gave BBC Leicester's Rupal Rajani a taster of what it would be like to be visually impaired on a daily basis. Listen to find out how she got on...
BBC Leicester's Rupal Rajani is no stranger to a challenge, but living without one of her senses was a whole knew experience to her.
Local charity Vista provide support to blind and partially sighted people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
With Jennifer Hague's help, Rupal took on a number of daily tasks to see how they differed if her sight was impaired.
The Sandwich Challenge
Rupal was first placed blindfolded in front of a pile of bread, a tub of butter, a lump of cheese and a (thankfully) plastic knife.
Jennifer gave her the task of making a cheese sandwich and cutting it into four triangles. Listen to how Rupal got on...
A lot of the easy work had already been done - fetching the ingredients out of cupboards and checking that everything is in date.
Rupal did manage, if a little messily, to make herself a sandwich. However she struggled to visualise cutting the triangles and instead opted for squares.
She said, "I found that really difficult. I thought it would be easier because I could just feel around, but it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I really did."
Jennifer judged that it wasn't a bad first attempt and added:
"It's about practice, it's about repetition, it's about keeping doing it, but being safe whilst you're doing it. That's something our rehab team at Vista can help you with."
The Tea Challenge
The next task was to make a cup of tea. Or rather, for Rupal's safety, pouring cold water into a tea-cup.
Listen to find out if Rupal could make a great cuppa even when blindfolded...
For this she used liquid level indicator; a small gadget that was placed on the rim of the cup and beeped when the water came up high enough.
Jennifer commented that they still have visually impaired people come to them with burnt index fingers, as they use them to test the level of their hot drinks.
She said, "The perception of what's going on obviously when you can't see it is very different to if you are watching it.
"It just highlights the importance and the usefulness of some of these little gadgets that really revolutionise people's lives."
The Walking Challenge
Just getting from A to B can be very difficult for a person who has problems with their sight.
Rupal really did not enjoy her final task which involved walking away from the Vista centre and across a moderately busy road. Listen here...
Jennifer explained that although tactile paving can sometimes feel uncomfortable underfoot, this is important as it feels different to mark out where it is safe to walk.
Despite keeping a "vice-like grip" of Jennifer's arm she found it quite frightening to not fully be aware of what dangers may be around her, "I can't see a thing and I don't like it."
Rupal found that she was relying much more heavily on her other senses to reassure herself it was safe to cross.
Jennifer explained, "It's a bit of a myth that blind people have better hearing, for example, but what does happen is a visually impaired person will make better use of their hearing."
"As you're finding now, because you can't see you're probably listening differently and hearing noises that you wouldn't necessarily listen to otherwise."
Vista help people manage crossing roads by listening to traffic differently to work out how far away and how fast cars are moving.
To find out more information on Vista visit their website www.vistablind.org.uk
last updated: 05/12/2008 at 16:51