Friday, December 22, 2006

Blind colors - What food is like blue?

We went to dinner and the opera last night with our friend Lynn and her seeing eye dog Mary. We got into a discussion of colors and what they mean to Lynn. She knows all the names but doesn't really have a sense of them - contrasts, bright and dark colors, the emotional impact of colors on others, etc. So we tried to find a way to share that. We came up with two different tracks by comparing colors to things she knows:
1. Trying to think of tastes, or foods that would have the same effect as a particular color, or foods that might have the same relationship to each other as different colors
2. Doing the same thing with sound.

So, what do you think? Red seemed to be the easiest - clearly it was hot peppers, not because they are red (the hottest seem to be green) but because when you taste them you really notice them. They stand out. But the various blues, greens, and even white were more difficult. She wanted to know if purple was like red? How was lavender different from purple?

Sounds weren't so easy. A loud, brassy trumpet seemed to be like red, but we weren't real happy with that.

So, my challege to any readers out there is this:

Make a list of colors and the foods/tastes that would help a blind person
a) understand the individual color and
b) understand the relationships between colors

The other approach is to use sounds to do the same thing.

Or if you have a suggestion for a totally different way of getting colors across to a blind person, send it in.

By the way, Lynn is an incredible person. She grew up in New York and says from early on she was not going to sit around and be blind. She insisted on exploring the streets of New York. Her son turns 32 today - Happy Birthday Dimas. She has an undergraduate in Psychology from Cal State Northridge and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California. She came to Alaska on Dec. 27, 1991. She had gotten a job as peer counselor coordinator and older blind Alaskan coordinator for Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL). She came to Anchorage in 1993 after getting colitis. In Anchorage she got a job with Alaska Information Radio Reading Education Service (AIRRES), where she was program coordinator. She was president of Alaska Independent Blind 1997-2003 and she's been a participant in Leadership Anchorage 2003-2004. She has traveled frequently to conferences and to visit relatives and friends. She has a incisive intelligence and a strong sense of rights and standing up for the rights of those who are different from the norm.

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