The blind leading the blindfolded

Friday, 21 December 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 51 By  Derek Franklin

A group of students from The Regents School recently paid a visit to the Pattaya School for the Blind where they got experience what it would be like to have no sight. Meeting the blind students the visitors were given advice on how to correctly guide a blind person. Once the Regents students felt confident guiding the blind students they were then asked to wear a blindfold and were taken on a walk around the school grounds, this time they were led by the blind students.

They also learned the correct way of using a white cane, feeling their way around and listening to their surroundings. The next step was to try and climb the stairs and by this time the visitors put all their trust in their blind guide. No one bumped into any wall, banged into each other, tripped over or injured themselves.

A new experience for students from The Regents. A new experience for students from The Regents.

Blindfolds were then removed as they watched the blind students taking part in a game of goalball; a game where two opposing teams try to score points by throwing a large heavy ball, which has a small bell inside, past their rivals.

After watching for a few minutes it was time for the Regents students to once again don their blindfolds and kneel in front of a goal, listen for the ball and attempt to stop it going into the goal.

The students at the Pattaya School for the Blind make up one of the best goalball teams in the Kingdom and even when they are practicing they throw the ball so fast that most opponents have no chance of stopping it. For many of the Regents students the ball was past them and in the back of the net before they were aware it had even been thrown.

On their visit to the School for the Blind the Regents students learned a new skill that will allow them to help others. Many people, seeing a blind person standing on the side of a busy road, will walk the other way rather than attempt to help. Not because they do not want to help, but they do not know what to do.

Next time you see a person standing at the side of the road wearing dark glasses and holding a white cane, offer to help them. They may not need your help, but at least you offered.

Goalball - looks like fun, but the students soon realised that it is not as easy as it looks. Goalball - looks like fun, but the students soon realised that it is not as easy as it looks.

The visiting students must learn to trust their guide. The visiting students must learn to trust their guide.

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