“I hear how tall you are”

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of: Felicitas Bogner

Lena Mittermaier takes her classmate El Nas down the stairs at Lenggries Station. Using a white wand, Nas tests various tactile techniques. Teacher Christian Martino (right) monitors the use of his wards. Corinna Konrad and Sarah Amodio (top left) are already waiting to be deployed. © arp

During the P seminar, guest lecturers from the Hohenbrug St. Uršulė secondary schools lead to the world of blindness. The goal is to create understanding.

Lenggries – Will I access the post? Or maybe I stumbled up a step? Why does the ground suddenly feel different under my sole? Such questions are in the minds of Hohenburg High School students at the seminar “Blind Life”. In teams of two, they try to orient themselves at Lenggries train station and move on. Challenge: One student does not see anything at a time. She is wearing a black mask. She is given a white wand as an aid.

Markus Ertl explains exactly how this is used. He is one of the three guest lecturers at the seminar led by Christian Martin. Ertlis himself is blind. When he was nine, doctors diagnosed him with progressive retinal disease. From the age of 40, he had seen almost nothing.

Blind students try to orient themselves at Lenggries station

Ertl has been committed to inclusion across Europe for many years. He enjoys attending the P-seminar in Hohenburg. After all, his daughters also attend St. Ursula High School. To prevent anything from happening during the exercises with the stick and mask, the classmates are led by the hand. At the same time, they practice methods of guiding the blind. This was demonstrated by guest lecturer Sonja Walser from Königsberg. The social worker has a daughter with a severe motor disability. Author Franziska Sgoff from Freising described the perspective and needs of the person in charge. She is blind from birth. All guest lecturers get to know each other through various inclusive projects, explains Walser.

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Very carefully, the girl moves forward step by step. “The stairs feel like a big danger,” says Sarah Amodio. Corinna Konrad leads them up and down the station square. “My bottom frightens me even more than climbing a staircase.”

Different uses of the white stick

After the first rounds of training, where the girls were free to choose their way, another challenge awaited: “Let’s take the street in teams of two,” Ertl declares, moving forward. At Lenggries train station, he would like to see blind guidance systems, especially in front of, and not just on, the platform. “It makes things a lot easier for us,” he says. Even without a traffic light, he walks across the street without fear. The reason: “I know my way well here, because I wasn’t born blind and I didn’t grow up in Lengrise.” He can also rely on his ears. “I can tell if the car is just starting or how far away.” smiles. How? “I hear the voice coming from below, above or at the level of my eyes.

Even if students know each other, there is an unfamiliar feeling when you need to rely on someone else to cross the street. “Noises are misleading,” everyone agrees. Franziska Sgoff reports that she is no different. “The more I know the person leading me, the safer I feel.” be careful and therefore less safe when driving a visually impaired person. “There is someone in my immediate environment that I no longer allow myself to lead because I am becoming insecure.”

Here are some practical tips on how to deal with the blind (from left): Franziska Sgoff, Markus Ertl and Sonja Walser.
Here are some practical tips on how to deal with the blind (from left): Franziska Sgoff, Markus Ertl and Sonja Walser. © arp

Teacher Martin wants to promote inclusion and incorporate students ’thoughts by working with guest lecturers in his workshop. “Lack of contacts often leads to unconscious prejudices or miscalculations,” says Walser. It’s still …

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