Have you ever stopped to think about how people gain knowledge? The first thing that comes to mind, is being taught at school, then perhaps nowadays, getting information via the internet, or reading.

Gaining knowledge as a child

Recently I have realised that most knowledge comes from visual clues.  When you are a toddler, watching the adults standing and walking around, may instigate the knowledge to comply with these actions. So what about if you cannot see? Now I have not looked for scientific evidence, but by my own experience while looking back on my life since losing my sight.

As I said, I had not thought about this before. The realisation came recently when I entered an archery competition for the first time (will blog about my sporting challenges as a blind person another day). There were different things happening and if you could see the other competitors, then you could copy them and not feel out of your depth as much, as you would know that you fit in.  On the other hand, not being able to see, I felt out of my depth, not that I could not shoot, but all the other extra bits that come at a competition.

Picking up on visual clues

This reminds me of another experience: A friend invited some friends and me to Sunday lunch.  She had made, Tacos: can be very messy. Anyway, we all sat around the table that was set out with knives and forks.  I was struggling with the knife and fork to be polite, but it was not until a good ten minutes after we had started eating, that the host said, “We are all picking them up with our fingers.” This made me feel a bit silly, but on the other hand, it was much easier and they tasted much better as I was more relaxed.

Just think how much more confident you feel, when if you are in a group and someone asks: “put your hands up if….”  You want to put your hand up, but you are looking around each other to make sure that you are not the only one. Now, what about if you are unable to see these actions. I do feel subconscious about this, perhaps it is because I have seen before and not had to rely on other senses from a young age.

How I would prefer to gain knowledge

Now I am thinking which was the best way around it: Would I prefer someone to say: like in my taco story and put me on the same track as others, giving me the choice and feeling a little embarrassed, or let me carry on with how I am doing it, as I will still be able to eat the taco. On the other hand, more awkwardly. Thinking on my taco story, I think it was correct in my host telling me what everyone else was doing. Yet, I suppose I would not want everyone I meet, telling me everything I am doing, is not how they do it.

I think, it just demonstrates how reliant we are all on our senses and how they enhance our learning, progression and life.