No Limits Presentation Sample Outline


Our No Limits approach applies to everyone. The format and content may change slightly depending on the participants, but the message is the same and equally powerful.

a

1. One or two of us blind people arrive with fulfillment in our lives and hearts. We hope to be engaging, enjoyable, and knowledgeable.

2. "We've heard of four letter words? We consider them to be bad, but many people use them, anyway. There is one that is so awful, I quite seriously use it less than all the others, because it is the most hurtful to me, and to all who hear it. The word is 'can't.' We all stagger in the heavy chains of "can'ts" - of limits. Let's figure out how to break these chains that limit us so we can live more freely and gracefully. We will learn how to turn can't into can. When we do that, we do everything better. We work better, we play harder, we rest easier, and we make truer friends, because we enjoy being free from heavy limits."

3. "What are your dreams? What do you most want to do with your lives? What really excites you? What do you really look forward to? What's your biggest, craziest dream for yourself?"

4. We ask participants what they find most difficult, and what they fear most. We talk a little about their answers. We address the point that we, as blind people, face many struggles and fears also, and we will show how we challenge them. "Maybe you can use what we show you to challenge your own struggles and fears. When we challenge the chains, we break them, or at least loosen them."

5. We ask what they think would be hardest about being blind. "Do you think you could ride a bike? How about hike through the forest alone? Play sports? Sail a ship? Get to work or school? Do you think you would mind wearing a blindfold with us for a couple hours? You get to learn how to see in the dark."

6. "Let's show you what us blind people can do when we break out of our chains. Then, we'll show you how we did it, and how you can do it, too." We share riveting tales and videos of how we and other blind people live, getting to the store, climbing a mountain, riding a bike, sports - using our special way of seeing without sight. Afterward, "we did this because we don't use that awful four letter word, and we don't listen to it when other people use it. Because we stopped using that horrible word, we have actually learned to see without sight. We've learned to see in the dark, and we're teaching blind and sighted people how to change the way they live by doing this. We'll show you how."

7. We show the cane. "Do you guys know how this cane can help someone who is blind?" We show how using the cane can allow someone to tell if something's in front of them, and what it is. "The rescue people used canes just like this when they were looking for people after the big hurricane, because they couldn't see through the water that they were walking in. Now, who would like to try this? Who's afraid of putting on a blindfold for the rest of our meeting? Come on up then, please. You get to learn how to do this, and you get to teach everyone else here how to do some things. With your blindfold, you get to be like a blind person leading the sighted." We take two volunteers, and they practice finding a piece of paper on the floor using the cane, and telling what a few things are.

8. We show the Braille and talking compass. "Who knows how to use a compass?" We explain how this helps us with our orientation. "I know the way out of your here is east, because I checked with my compass when I got here. So, if I got confused, I could use my compass and always know how to get out." Give other examples. Let the volunteers try it.

9. Everyone closes their eyes. We face different ways while talking, and show that they can hear which way we're facing by the direction of the sound. We talk into two different sized fishbowls, and show them they can tell the different size just by listening. Then, they listen to it with and without some foam placed in it, and realize they can tell which time it has the foam, or not. We take an empty bottle, and fill it with water. They can hear the changing sound as the bottle gets more and more full. The volunteers try to pour water into the bottle without over filling it.

10. "Now, we'll show you a very special way of using our hearing. It's called sonar or echolocation. Who knows what that is? What other animals use it?" We make a "shshsh" sound while facing away from them, and move a board toward and away from our face. We do this until most people can hear the changing sound as the board moves. Then, we test; they have to say "stop" before the board hits our face.

11. "We don't go shshsh all the time. We use a tongue click." Our volunteers learn to locate the panel in different places.

12. Next, we teach our volunteers how to do other things, depending on the environment, they may learn to find a corner or an open door, or an alcove.

13. "Any questions."

Ten minute break. For children, we hand out pieces of paper with several tactile shapes on them, but there's raised lines on both sides, so they must feel them to figure out what the shapes are. They tell us when they figured it out. They may talk among themselves or use the bathroom.

b

1. Everyone receives a cane and a blindfold, and we all migrate outside. We break into two groups if there are two blind presenters, one of the initial volunteers for each group to help lead. One group practices finding a building from a far distance. Then, they practice hearing the difference between some distinct objects, a fence and a wall, bush and a tree, or whatever. Maybe they practices finding an alcove, or walking in hallways or straight along a wall. It depends on the environment. The other group practices some simple ball games using specially audified balls. They practice interacting with the ball and each other, maybe bouncing the ball off a wall, throwing it to each other, chasing it, or keeping it in the air. Maybe we use a large ball for ease. Then, we alternate activities.

2. Still with their blindfolds. "Look what you guys could do in just a few minutes with almost no training. Did you ever think you could do this? Imagine what a blind person can do after being blind all his life, if he believes he can. We show blind people how to believe. We show them how to challenge their limits - how to break the chains. You did it. Now, watch." The participants scatter themselves randomly across the black top. As we find each one, that one removes himself until they are all gone. They take off their blindfolds to confirm that we've found everyone. We then explain and describe various objects - trees, bushes, etc, by using sonar. If we can obtain a bicycle, we have the adult participants position themselves into an obstacle course, and one of us rides around handing each of them a tag saying "you're it" until they all have one.

3. We return to the initial meeting place. "Most blind people are told so often that awful word, what's that awful word we never want to say or listen to? And they often believe it. A lot of blind people don't know they can do this stuff. Blind kids often don't play with other kids. Blind adults typically don't work or leave their house unassisted. Imagine staying on a bench at recess all the time, or in your house all day. More than seventy percent don't have a job. Some those who do work just go to and from work, and nowhere else. Those who do work often have great jobs, so it's not the blindness holding them back. What is it? But, do they have to be held back? World Access for the Blind is showing people how to get rid of their limits so blind people and everyone can do everything they want. Our dreams are so important. They point the way for us to go. But, if we can't go there ... Oops! What did I just say?"

4. "We grow only in the face of change, challenge, and practice under our own direction. If we're doing the same thing also the time, or we're always guided in everything we do by someone else, then our brains are not growing. In fact, our nervous system actually atrophies. Let's open the doors and windows to our minds. What can we change? What can we try that's new?"

5. Questions.

6. We offer the opportunity for participants to make a positive impact on themselves and others by helping participants spread the No Limits way of life throughout their community, or we can help them raise funds to help other blind people. "What did we learn? ... We've learned how to throw off limits. We've learned how to see without sight. We say, you've found a New Light. It's a light not of the eyes, but of the heart, spirit, and whole body. That's what we've learned. Now, what can we teach? What can we share? Not even doctors can help most blind people right now, but we can help almost all of them learn to see. We need good partners who have learned a special way to see, and who want to share that with others. Will you help us share this new light with other blind people, people who are just like you, who can learn to see?" We provide a variety of fund raising ideas and activities to administrators ahead of time. "You can help us raise money to help a blind people learn what we've learned. When you do this for us, we'll show you how you've helped. We'll send a video so you can see the new student, or we'll come back with a new student to show you. What do you think?"