I am an invisible man. It seems that way sometimes; hearing all and saying little as a government chauffeur. One overheard backseat discussion involved four VIP's complaining about too much work, not enough appreciation, too much travel, not enough time, etc. As I stopped at a red light, a man crossed in front of our vehicle with the biggest smile and most carefree expression I had seen all day. Gingerly tapping in front of him was his white cane. The conversation fell silent. I'm sure we all shared a collective thought: "Who are the blind ones here?"
One of the wonderful things about these weekly comments are the different meanings that can be drawn from them. For example, using the tried and true survey research methodology of walking around and asking, I learned that some people on the floor where I work felt the author was trying to suggest that the complainers should recognize they don't really have problems; another colleague thought it affirming for the general public to realize that just because a person is blind that doesn't mean they can't be independent; a third colleague focused on the concept of the tapping cane as an alternative source of sensory information. What does Mr. Dawson's writing mean to you?
Measurement in orientation and mobility (O&M) research has been a challenge to the field of visual impairment and blindness for decades. Should one measure contact with objects? What if the contact was intentional, to verify a location? Should walking speed be measured? What about the skilled traveler who slows his or her walking speed as a technique to reduce the amount of information from the environment? The lead article for this June 2007 issue begins with a research study conducted in Norway that evaluates the mental effort involved with various types of environmental features and route-training and familiarity of the route. The authors use measures of mental effort to provide an indirect measure of mobility performance.
The second article in this issue presents the results of a study on the effect of peer tutors on the physical education scores of children with visual impairments. The authors conclude that the training of peer tutors plays an important role in the improvement of such scores.
In a Research Report, Campbell examines the emotional development of young children who are blind. She suggests that children's emotional development may be at risk because of constraints on their capacity to share and respond to the feelings of others. The author points out that parents can adapt and learn to have very positive interactions with their children.
An Around the World presents the fascinating story of the life and times of Jewish immigrants in Israel during the 1950s and 60s. Billig and Sharaby describe Oriel, a neighborhood created specifically for people with visual impairments, as well as the challenges and opportunities these residents faced.
This issue also includes a Technology Note by AccessWorld contributor Lee Huffman that describes factors to weigh in considering the option of a portable laptop-compatible CCTV for people with low vision. The author emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive low vision assessment, as well as an assistive technology assessment, prior to purchasing such equipment.
The June issue concludes with a review of a book by Gordon Legge of the University of Minnesota, Psychophysics of Reading in Normal and Low Vision, which was reviewed by Greg Goodrich. Every JVIB reader who is interested in low vision needs to read the comments of Dr. Goodrich. Enjoy the June issue!
DUANE R. GERUSCHAT, PH.D.
EDITOR IN CHIEF