Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Deaf-Blind Mom Releases a How-To Book on Interacting with People who are Blind and Visually Impaired


10/25/2015 Tampa FL

On October 25th, 2015, Tiffany Kohnen published a book titled Can You See Me Now? that promises to teach anyone who wants to learn how to interact with people who are blind and visually impaired. Kohnen wrote the book because she knows people want to develop a good relationshp with people with vision impairment. The book is available for sale in print and Kindle formats through Amazon.

Available Links:
Print |

Kindle |

There are 14 topics covered in this short book, and the topics range from how the reader can guide a blind person safely down a hazardous path to how a stranger can effectively talk to a visually impaired person. Kohnen hopes this book will open a door for discussion between people who can see and those who don't.

Kohnen is a new mom and has Ushers' Syndrome, which is a combined loss of vision and hearing. Despite her hearing and vision loss, she spent the last three months working on the book Can You See Me Now? while getting ready for the arrival of her baby who is coming any day now, and working a full-time job with an insurance company. She also blogs and manage a Facebook Page discussing topics of blindness, deafness, and deaf-blindness. You can follow her on Facebook as Deaf-Blind Lady & Life and Twitter as @DBLadyLife. Her website is


Tiffany Dawn Kohnen
Twitter: @DBLadyLife

Thursday, October 15, 2015

3 Things to Know About the White Cane Law

Do you know what the white cane with red tip stand for? It means the user is visually impaired or blind. When driving and making a right turn on red light, they must yield to the blind or visually impaired pedestrian if they are attempting to cross.

I can't tell you how many drivers on the right turn lane at red light don't allow me to cross when it's my turn to cross when the crosswalk light says to walk. I don't know what I will need to do when my vision worsens. How does a fully blind person cross safely? Education and awareness is key. If I have the money, I would plaster this White Cane Law on a few hundred billboards in Florida and all across the United States.

The video at the right is a great one and I recommend sharing it with your friends, family, co-workers, and the public. It is time for everyone to start learning about the White Cane Law or they may face the consequences, such as damage to their car, grievous injuries, or loss of life. No one wants that.

These are the three things to know about the White Cane Law:

1. Most blind and visually impaired users have a white cane with a red tip, others with a service animal, and maybe even some will have a different colored cane for increased visibility like yellow or orange.

2. Drivers on Turning Right at Red Light must always yield to blind or visually impaired users

3. If in doubt, always let a pedestrian cross at intersection when the light is red

Maybe I and every other visually impaired and blind pedestrians should start taking pictures of license plates of those who keep turning right on red light without yielding. After all, they are breaking the rules by not allowing a visually impaired person to cross when it is their right.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sometimes, God Make You Miss the Bus

Credit to Terence Ong
For work, I take the bus to work some mornings each week, it's not far, only a three-minute bus ride. I would walk to and from work, but did so very rarely due to the heat and dangers of the Tampa streets. I am now very pregnant with child, the due date is only a few weeks away. Very exciting!

One morning this week, I thanked God for missing the bus because it would have been very hazardous situation for me if I had caught the bus on time.
I use the OneBusAway app to let me know where the bus currently is, so I'm not waiting around if the bus is running late—or come sooner if the bus early! Originally, the bus was running on time, then it was one minute late. I wasn't concerned with waiting an extra minute, so I left the house at the usual time to go catch the bus. On the way, I dropped off mail, and it took a few moments to find the drop-off slot because I am legally blind and have night-blindness. The day was now getting shorter thanks to the equinox, so it was now quite dark out for me to see anything at 6:55 in the morning. When I finally found the slot, I dropped the mail off.

I get to the bus stop and I see the gentleman who rides the same bus I do. I checked the app and saw it had lef—three minutes early! Confused, I asked him if he had missed the bus too. He had. We both missed it! So, I went back home to wait for the next one in 40 minutes.

45 minutes later, the sun was now fully up and I can see now. I got off the bus and now on my second leg of the journey to work, a ten-minute walk. I cross the street and I noticed on the sidewalk on the other side had some construction signage up. I am thinking, "Oh, hope this is easy to get walk through." I reached the other end, and I don't see possible hazards, all I saw was sand. I thought it would be easy to get through.

So, I walked around the signage and onto now torn-up sidewalk. A few moments later, the cane detected a huge mound of dirt and cement. I looked around, trying to decide the best path to take. It was either the busy road or the grass. There were no sidewalks on the other side of the road, so that option was out. I took the grass, and I forgot how steep it was. The grass was slick with dew, and I did not have good shoes on for traction. Carefully, I walked on the grass. Then took a few steps at the top of the grassy mound and back down, the trickiest part because I could slip at any moment.

A driver had stopped and got out to assist me. I'm thankful that he stopped and was there to spot me and made sure I was ok. I made it back on the sidewalk safely, thanked him for making sure I was safe, and now I was on my way to work.

If I had not missed the bus, the new construction zone would have made it extremely dangerous for me for three reasons: no street lights in the area, the intersection had a turning lane with no yield to pedestrians (even though drivers should), and no other sidewalks to walk.

I probably would have fallen that morning. Thank you God that I missed the bus so I could find out that there is new construction the sidewalk. However, after work that day, I did fall into the construction zone because I misjudged where the construction ended and fell into a sand pit. Thank God, again, that it was only sand and no cement rocks to contend with. I am now taking cab rides to and from work, though I can't really afford it for very long.

Sometimes, He makes you miss the bus for your own safety.