Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Accessibility in the Demonstration Garden

Context: Working outside with 8, 12-13 yr olds in the SYL Central Y Gardens

Influenced by H Gardner, Five Minds for the Future [2006] discussion of development of the ethical mind.

Intro: After pointing out the windchimes in each corner of the garden and explaining their purpose as orientation devices. Who has someone in their family or among their friends who is blind?

Responses: 3 knew someone well who was blind.

Exercise: Ok everyone get a partner and we'll meet in the center of the yard. Each pair gets a blindfold. One of you will wear the blindfold the other will be the guide. Remember that the person who isn't sighted is the leader and will take the arm of the guide. The guide's job is to steer clear of danger but help their partner explore the garden. Try to visit all the stations in the garden. You will take turns.

Results: The guide nearly always took the lead, during feedback both parties complained that the partner didn't listen. Some of this is developmental age-appropriate. Also the barometer was dropping because of coming storm.

Conclusion: So you can see that navigating and enjoying our garden without sight will be challenging. Until we see each other again be thinking about what we might do to make our garden safer and more fun for blind people.

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