24 episodes

Welcome to “Living Blind” (formerly Life In BALANCE), the official podcast of BALANCE for Blind Adults. This podcast explores the perspectives and lived experiences of people with sight loss, and delves into barriers, challenges, and real-life strategies for living life to the fullest. Each interview provides insights to inspire and inform. What is it like to live without sight in a sighted world? Come listen and learn!

Visit our website at www.balancefba.org to learn more!

Living Blind Living Blind

    • Education
    • 2.7 • 3 Ratings

Welcome to “Living Blind” (formerly Life In BALANCE), the official podcast of BALANCE for Blind Adults. This podcast explores the perspectives and lived experiences of people with sight loss, and delves into barriers, challenges, and real-life strategies for living life to the fullest. Each interview provides insights to inspire and inform. What is it like to live without sight in a sighted world? Come listen and learn!

Visit our website at www.balancefba.org to learn more!

    To Dog or Not To Dog? | With Samantha Moore And Anita Laurnitus

    To Dog or Not To Dog? | With Samantha Moore And Anita Laurnitus

    November is a transitional month, no matter where you live. The temperature of the air changes, as does the terrain under foot. This affects how you travel, and if you have low or no vision you are already travelling with a mobility aid, whether it be a cane or guide dog. Everyone chooses between the two at some point in their lives, and in this November episode of Living Blind we are tackling the age-old question, To Dog, or not to dog?

    Host Naomi Hazlett is joined by first time dog owner Samantha Moore, and certified orientation and mobility instructor Anita Laurnitus. Sam is the Events lead at  Equal Voice, a Multi-partisan organization which advocates for women and gender diversity in Canadian Politics. She got her first guide dog, a golden yellow Labrador retriever named Rockette, in March of 2022.

    Anita is a certified orientation and mobility instructor with the Toronto District School Board. She previously worked as an O and M instructor and volunteer coordinator here at Balance, from 2007 to 2022.

    Come along with the panel for a fun, free flowing chat, as Sam takes us on a journey of the first year having Rockette in both her personal and professional life, the pros and cons of canes and dogs, and what ultimately influenced her decision to get a dog after so many years. Anita expounds on Sam’s experience from her vantage point, and explains how she conducts O&M training for clients who travel with canes VS. those with dogs.

    Sam talks about the application process, from choosing a school and filling out the paperwork, matching the right dog for you and your lifestyle, and evaluating the honeymoon phase to determine if the assigned dog is the one for you. For Sam and others like her, this also entailed going through the whole process during the pandemic, so what challenges did that present to clients, the schools, O&M instructors A la Anita, and the dogs themselves. Sam also talks about Rockette’s upbringing in prison, as part of the Prison Puppy Program.

    For more information on choosing a guide dog school, check out a list of schools available in Canada and the United States.

    Follow Samantha and Anita on LinkedIn, and Rockette on Instagram.

    What did you think of this episode? Get in touch with the podcast by joining our Listeners Facebook group, or by sending us an email at LivingBlindPodcast@BalanceFBA.org.



    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and twitter, by searching Balance For Blind Adults.



    The show notes and transcription for this episode can be found at BalanceFBA.org/Podcast.



    Donate to BALANCE: BalanceFBA.org

    • 51 min
    Facilitating Independence with Everyday Activities: A Conversation About Occupational Therapy

    Facilitating Independence with Everyday Activities: A Conversation About Occupational Therapy

    In honour of Occupational Therapy Month (October) in Canada, Naomi Hazlett sits down with registered Occupational Therapist and previous guest host Eve Pervin, for a light-hearted and in depth interview all about the field of O.T. and the services both useful to blind people, and helpful for participants at BALANCE. Eve started at BALANCE while she was still a student at the University of Toronto, and worked full time with the organization from September of 2021 through September 2022. Longtime listeners might also recognize Eve’s voice from her Interview with David Lepofsky.

    In this episode, Naomi and Eve discuss the lessons Eve has learned working as an O.T. with blind and partially sighted clients of all ages, as well as the myths and misconceptions surrounding both the world of blindness and the field of occupational therapy itself. Hear some of Eve's memorable stories about helping clients with cooking in the kitchen, applying makeup in the mirror, making devices with touch screens accessible, and finding alternative ways of reading books and other print materials.

    The two also discuss the intersectionality and plurality of clients served by BALANCE and how the clients themselves are at the centre of decision-making and program planning as an Occupational Therapist. Finally, Eve provides some words to the wise for O.T's of all ages and stages in their careers, and also health care practitioners across all walks of life.

    You can read more about the field of Occupational Therapy through the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, and click here if you would like to book an appointment with an O.T. at Balance.

    You can contact Eve by sending her an email, and following her on LinkedIn.

    Get in touch with the podcast by joining our Listeners Facebook group, or sending us an email at LivingBlindPodcast@BalanceFBA.org.

    Follow Balance For Blind Adults on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,and Youtube.

    The show notes and transcription for this podcast can be found at BalanceFBA.org/Podcast.

    Donate to BALANCE: https://www.balancefba.org/donate/

    • 36 min
    Nothing to Lose - Everything to Game With Richard Bennett

    Nothing to Lose - Everything to Game With Richard Bennett

    Are you a hard core gamer? Or, are you someone who is curious about video games, but don’t know if there is an outlet for you? Well, accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired has become a huge priority amongst developers and enthusiasts in the gaming industry. And in light of the annual “Everyone Games” accessible gaming extravaganza being just around the corner, we are kicking off the third season of this podcast with an episode about this very topic, as Our host Naomi Hazlett is joined by Knights of the Braille Co-founder, Richard Bennett. Knights of the Braille is an inclusive online gaming community of enthusiasts dedicated to providing a variety of accessible options for tabletop roleplay games (TTRPG’s, and video games.

    Having grown up in South Georgia where Dungeons and Dragons was perceived as being evil and dangerous, Richard tells us about his humble beginnings in the world of RPG’s, and the early days of making games accessible. This eventually lead up to him joining the team over at Knights of the Braille in 2019. He elaborates on how the Community organizes games for its members, provides a brief rundown of the current lineup of games being hosted on their discord server, and gives us a preview of what’s coming up in this year’s Everyone Games, taking place on Friday September 30 through Saturday October 1.

    Join Naomi and Richard as they break down some of the lingo used in gaming, reminisce about a few of their fondest memories during gaming sessions, and have some fun doing a little role-play on the spot, with character voices thrown in for good measure.

    Contact Knights of the Braille via Email, Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website at KnightsOfTheBrail.com.

    To learn more about Everyone Games and their charity partners, visit their website at EveryoneGames.com, and follow Everyone Games on Facebook, Twitter, Redit, Twitch, and Youtube.

    The Living Blind Podcast is now on Facebook, and

    The show notes and transcription for this podcast can be found at BalanceFBA.org/Podcast.

    Donate to BALANCE: https://www.balancefba.org/donate/

    • 41 min
    Trailer for Season 3

    Trailer for Season 3

    The Living Blind podcast returns for a third season, with the first episode dropping on Friday September 23. Each month we will have in depth interviews exploring the lived experiences of ordinary blind people doing extraordinary things, thinking outside the box in order to help live life to the fullest, and telling us about it so we can share it all with YOU. On Tuesday September 20, our Executive Producer Deborah Gold and our Producer Jeff Rainey had a candid chat about this amazing Season 3 line-up, and also unveiled the news about the new Living Blind Listeners Facebook Group.

    Donate to BALANCE: https://www.balancefba.org/donate/

    • 11 min
    Revisiting Season1’s The Outdoors with Lawrence Gunther

    Revisiting Season1’s The Outdoors with Lawrence Gunther

    Summer is finally here! And in honour of the weather heating up and the world continuing to open up, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit one of our early shows all about exploring the Great Outdoors, with the ever-adventurous Lawrence Gunther. Lawrence Gunther is North America’s only blind conservationist and professional angler, outdoor writer, podcaster, blogger, film maker and TV host. Having lost his vision at age eight, Lawrence applies his outdoor experience, masters in environmental studies, local knowledge and ability to envisage nature with unique and insightful results.

    Our Podcast host Naomi Hazlett speaks with Lawrence about bird watching, fishing, sailing, boating, cooking and barbecuing, and much more. Lawrence gives advice on how to navigate the outdoors using all five senses, along with the role that technology can serve and some of the tech items he finds useful. He also talks about exploring the outdoors with guide dogs, and how his dependency on a dog has increased over the years with his vision continuing to deteriorate.

    Find Lawrence Gunther On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LawrenceGuntherOutdoors, 

    on twitter at https://twitter.com/lawrencegunther,

    Visit his website at LawrenceGunther.com,

    As well as his Blind Fishing Boat Project 

    And  Outdoors podcast.

    Below are some outdoor clubs and organizations located in the Greater Toronto Area.

    TRAILBLAZERS Tandem Cycling Club: https://trailblazerstandem.org/ 

    The Toronto Ski Hawks: http://www.torontoskihawks.org/ 

    Safari Walking Group: https://torontoaccessiblesports.ca/safari-walking-group/ 

    Blind Sailing Canada: https://blindsailing.ca/ 

    Ontario Blind Sports Association: https://blindsports.on.ca/

    Blind Roadrunners: https://www.blindroadrunners.ca/

    ACHILLES Canada: https://achillescanada.ca/

    The show notes and transcription for this podcast can be found at https://www.balancefba.org/podcast/season-2/

    Donate to BALANCE: https://www.balancefba.org/donate/

    • 34 min
    A Learning-Teaching Life With Blair Spry

    A Learning-Teaching Life With Blair Spry

    All too often, people who are blind or visually impaired are told that they cannot do this or that. As a result, one must develop self advocacy skills and be proactive in finding alternate ways of accomplishing their goals. This month, Naomi Hazlett is joined by educator, Opera singer and fashion model Blair Spry, for an illuminating conversation about his journey through life as a performing artist and school teacher with low vision.

    As a singer, Blair has performed with the National Youth Choir of Canada, as well as with the Nota Bene Baroque Players. He has also starred in leading roles in Opera Laurier's productions of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress", and Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi”.
    As a teacher, he has worked with students from grades 1 through 12 within the Waterloo and Grand Erie District School Boards in Ontario. Now living in Brantford Ontario, he currently serves as an educator and Student Support Counsellor at the W. Ross Macdonald School for the blind, helping a new generation of blind and low vision children realize their full potential and establish their independence, just as so many have done for him throughout his life.

    In addition, he runs a week-long summer music camp for blind and low vision children between the ages of 9 and 21, that has been in operation since 2007. It has even operated as a virtual camp during the COVID19 Pandemic, with recreational games and activities, campers receiving free private music lessons, writing choir songs together on Facebook, and putting on live concerts over zoom.

    Join Blair and Naomi for a candid conversation about vision loss and education: learning environments in integrated schools compared with those of specialty schools for the blind, the terminology used to describe professionals who work with people with vision loss, debunking myths and stereotypes surrounding the blindness community, and much more. They also talk a little Mozart, because why not?

    Email Blair Spry at spry2250@mylaurier.ca

    W. Ross Macdonald school website: https://pdsbnet.ca/en/schools/w-ross-macdonald/

    Music Camp for the Visually impaired Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CampsForTheVisuallyImpaired/

    AMI Camp documentary: https://www.ami.ca/category/our-community/media/resilience?fbclid=IwAR2cpX1Lw90NtJS5vwsmZUhFgaxMs96x2VtevTT_63e_IUh5GnRum6zzORc

    The show notes and transcription for this podcast can be found at https://www.balancefba.org/podcast/season-2/

    Donate to BALANCE: https://www.balancefba.org/donate/

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

cestra1 ,

Life in Balance Review

I found the quality of audio in several episodes made it difficult to hear; perhaps, the interviewer was using a speaker phone, but sound was often muffled. I'd like to see more variety in interviewees; 2 or 3 episodes have the same guest. I also think there is potential to dive into in-depth issues not covered by other media sources; this podcast covers topics widely covered by other outlets.

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