Why do people fear the blind

Fear, freedom and spatial mobility
Minimize fear, maximize spatial mobility

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Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear children!

What I say concerns everyone, especially blind and visually impaired people as well as sighted companions. I would like to show you how you can reduce fear and gain freedom if you can find your way around space better, i.e. yours spatial mobility increase.

If you are hoping for a purely scientific lecture, I will disappoint you. But I'll include the research!

I To get you in the mood

§1 scary - only for the blind?

Rather, I would like to show you how I blindly find my way around the room, where I get scared and how I try to deal with it. I have been blind since shortly after I was born.

But first I am sending you "In Your Own Heads". In addition, I captured the atmosphere of Cologne Central Station in sound and images. First, listen and watch the video if you can.

[AUDIO: Activate JavaScript to listen to the audio sample. If you can't hear anything with JavaScript enabled, download the Flash Player.]

Link to the film, which shows what is causing the noise of the audio sample.

§2 The problem in brief

To get you in the mood, I'll ask you a couple of questions. If you want to answer that, please do so:

  • In which situations of finding your way around in the room are you really afraid?
  • How free do you feel when you are in a situation like this?
  • Then what do you do to deal with your fears?

I will address these questions in the course of the lecture. Hopefully my remarks will stimulate you to improve your mobility in space and thereby reduce your anxiety.

II fear

§3 Behavior and experience with fear and fear

Now we come to fear. I would like to make the difference between anxiety and fear clear to you using the following classic teaching example:

A Stone Age man is constantly ridiculed by his tribal brothers for fear of even the smallest and most harmless snakes. Out of shame he avoids the company of others.

When he was looking for something to eat, a giant snake suddenly appeared in front of him. He freezes in shock and fear paralyzes him. Crouching quietly, he hears the snake looking for him, and soon afterwards it rustles in the grass behind him. Now fear gives him wings! He jumps up and races off at record speed - just go for it!

The longer he stays alive and increases the distance from the snake, the more he becomes master of the situation: soon he can hook the hook and make it more difficult for the snake to pursue it. Finally he turns around and sees the monster lifting its head almost 50 paces behind him to locate him. Then he takes his sling and a flat stone, aims carefully and hits her head. Seconds later he steps on the snake, which is lying in its last twitching, professionally eviscerated and returns to his people with skin and flesh.

Nobody will ridicule him for his fear of snakes anymore. Today he is certainly the greatest, because for several days he freed his tribe from hunger and himself from the bondage of his fear.

Fear comes from the Latin word "Angustia", which means "tightness, distress". It mobilizes our last reserves of strength and at the same time restricts our behavior; in the worst case, we freeze. There is only one fear - and many triggering situations. The first, says Sigmund Freud, (note 2) every person experiences at birth, when the child has to push itself out of the confines of the womb into the unknown.

What characteristics of anxiety and fear does this example show?

  • Fear paralyzes us and at the same time prepares us for flight or attack (stress reaction).
  • If we are afraid, we deal systematically with the unpleasant.
  • Fear controls us, fear controls us.
  • Fear has a trigger, fear has a reason.
  • There is only one fear, but there are many kinds of fear.
  • Fear can develop into fear, and we can turn fear into fear.

§4 fear, fear and spatial mobility

Let me apply these basics to the field of spatial mobility with an example from my own experience:

One day I had an interview at the Evangelical Church in Magdeburg. I went there myself. "How does it look out", I thought, "if I apply as a psychologist and then turn up helpless with company?" - I marched off, concentrated on the way - my thoughts were during the conversation.

Suddenly a bike appeared right in front of me at top speed; the stick hit the moving bike. The person sitting on the bike scolded while I broke out of my freeze and jumped to the side. - Should I have treated him like the Stone Age hunter treated the snake? - I'm afraid I would still be in prison then.

A short time later I wasn't sure if I had taken the right road. Construction noise could be heard; maybe I would have to go through the construction site. I needed information about safety.

The "game" was close. - I heard footsteps in front of me. I rushed off and shouted: "Is that Wiedemannstrasse, and where does it lead from here?" The lady was frightened, stopped and walked on without a word.

I needed certainty, and what do I care now about rules of propriety? - So I yelled the same question after her.

"Not in that tone," she said, "and I don't know."

Now fear threatened to make me helpless. Nobody else could be heard.

"But you can find out and read street signs. I have to be in Kirchgasse for an interview in 15 minutes," I moaned.

"That's your problem," she replied, "when you're struggling and you're in a hurry." She went and left a terrified Arne.

Which fear-inducing situations does this example show?

  • The external environment - such as the suddenly appearing bicycle;
  • the perception of the lack of strategies for coping with the external environment - e.g. when I was unsure of the direction of the street;
  • Expectations that are brought to me - such as the expectation of the passer-by to be spoken to politely and not demanding; and
  • own expectations of how I want to be, how I should be or how I should be - for example, when I asked myself to have to break new and complex paths independently, even in a stressful situation such as the upcoming job interview.

In principle, blind and sighted people alike have to deal with these triggers. The world is set up as a "world for the sighted (note 3) - most people find only a few triggers for fear in the spatial environment, and they can cope with society's expectations.

The situation can be different for visually impaired people, especially for late and old-age blind people. Fearful, seemingly insurmountable hurdles arise from situations that were previously easily mastered. Where light elegance was taken for granted, helplessness becomes reality.

One naturally wants to avoid such experiences of the control of fear and helplessness in public. Many blind people have discovered the "Egg of Columbus" for themselves: they forego finding their way around the room on their own. - I think that's an understandable reaction, but I would like to counter it with better alternatives.

§5 methods of coping with fear

For this purpose, I present the approach that is used in cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders. A thought leader in this approach - and my source of supply - is Willi Butollo. (Note 4)

Take seriously: Fear is always to be taken seriously. That is true even when we actually know that it is ridiculous.

Accept as request: Let's face fear and the situations in which it arises. We have to visualize the situations in our imagination and learn to endure the fear, and then also face the triggers in reality. This is hard work for the fearful!

Walk in fear: Many unsuccessful attempts to deal with the fear triggers in the imagination and in reality can be necessary until the fear finally gets its limits, until it changes into fear, which can be controlled and checked for its reality content.

What makes it more difficult to cope with fear in spatial mobility, especially for visually impaired people, is that they often have to use completely different strategies for mobility than sighted people. The argument therefore often means: getting to know new strategies. I will introduce some of them to you when I describe what belongs to the spatial mobility of visually impaired people.

Turn fear into fear? - A lot of work just to see where so much fear is necessary and in place? - Aren't the visually impaired better off being satisfied with being dependent?

Overcoming fear sets us free. I would now like to examine what this freedom is all about.

III Freedom experienced

§6 Expectation of freedom and individual freedom

How free we feel depends on the number of alternatives for the situation in question: the more available, the more freedom we experience. I expect myself to be able to use the white cane properly whenever I want. If I apply for qualified positions, society expects me to organize and carry out trips on my own. I call these expected availabilities the expectation of freedom. In contrast, I experience individual freedom in the particular situation.

When we are obsessed with fear, freedom has no place. When we overcome fear, we gain freedom: the greater the fear, and the better we overcome it, the more freedom we will experience.

§7 Spatial mobility and freedom

With every more path that we can do independently, we gain at least the alternative of reaching the previously unknown goal. Usually we gain a lot more alternatives. On my way to the university in Cologne there is an Indian restaurant and a fish shop. Now that I have mastered this avenue, getting to these stores is a breeze for me.

The greater the spatial mobility, the sooner I can meet the corresponding expectations of society.

As already mentioned, there is freedom only with alternatives. Having to walk every path independently, no matter how difficult it is and how badly I feel, makes me a slave to my expectations or what others expect of me.

As Birgit Drolshagen noted, (Note 5), in addition to "Do it yourself", "Buying assistance" and asking for support from friends, relatives, etc. are also available. Spatial mobility becomes freedom because I can walk the paths available to me, but don't have to walk.

IV Spatial Mobility

I have now used the word "spatial mobility" long enough without explaining which tasks it encompasses, which skills it includes and which strategies are used to solve the tasks. I will now devote myself to these objects.

In terms of mobility strategies, I will limit myself to those that blind and sighted people can in principle apply in the same way. After all, there are the visually impaired and the sighted among us.

§8 The definition according to Emerson Foulke (note 6)

The mobile (blind) person copes with paths in space:

  • For sure: he suffers no damage;
  • Stress-free: he also masters difficult situations in traffic;
  • in serenity: he knows how to adjust to the road and the traffic;
  • efficient: he mastered the path in an acceptable time and;
  • graceful: he manages the path in such a way that he gives the (sighted) fellow human beings the impression of competence and elegance.

Stress in traffic can hardly be avoided - just think of the suddenly appearing bicycle. But on Fridays at Cologne Central Station, it is often difficult for me to get the information I need to reach my destination in time because of the hall and the many overlapping noises. I then experience a lack of calmness, and that easily leads to fear arising in me.

I agree with Foulke on the first four tasks. But do I really have to dance as light as a feather across the path and swing the stick elegantly like a conductor in order to be mobile? - Elderly people who cannot handle the cane elegantly due to motor restrictions would never be mobile. They would have to consider whether it would be better to stay at home. Foulke says - on page 129: (Note 6) If the walking style looks clumsy and helpless, the blind reinforce the undesirable impressions that are circulating about them.

In my opinion, the freedom to move around in space is such a valuable asset that one should strive for it even when it is not elegantly possible to do so. I will get into this later.

§9 Navigating and Orienting

  • navigation means sticking to the chosen path and avoiding obstacles. (Note 7)
  • orientation is knowing where you are and how to get there. (Note 8)

Those who navigate well but orientate themselves poorly often get lost and rarely get bruises. Those who orientate themselves well, but navigate poorly, arrive where they want to go with bruises.

§10 Landmark Potential and Foresight

  • The Landmark potential of a path are those things that can be used to master the path.
  • The Foresight a person is their ability to assess events in time for setting on the trail and traffic. (Note 9)

The landmark potential depends on the method of negotiating the route. If you drive one way in the car, you hardly hear any noises that are present there. For a driver, noises are hardly considered landmarks. For the blind person on foot, however, they are one of the best sources of landmarks.

Barth and Foulke differentiate between two types of foresight: foresight based on perceptions and foresight based on previous experience. (Note 9) Both go hand in hand, of course.

§11 Examples of spatial imagination in blind people

Using the example of the hearing network, I would like to demonstrate how blind people can come up with spatial ideas. This is perhaps the most important way of evaluating landmarks.

The Audio net is the background noise of a room or site. It consists of the typical noises and the places of their typical occurrence. (Note 10)

When I walk into an unfamiliar room - like this one - and hear the overhead projector hum, I have no way of knowing that - in this lecture - it is constantly on. At first I only hear it hum and recognize the direction from which it is humming. I can also hear a reverberation from the walls and can estimate how big the room could be. The estimate may be wrong because other obstacles could break the sound. So I have to walk into the room and get more and more noises and echoes from walls and other obstacles.

The more often I walk into the room and listen carefully, the closer I "tie" the audio network, i.e. the better I know which noises I can expect where, and which limits the room has. This creates a spatial conception from perceptions and memory contents of previous experiences, which allows me to assess my landmark potential better and better. Of course, the room layout also helps me to accommodate tactile impressions or smells in it.

Slowly, from the audio network and other perceptions or experiences, a spatial concept emerges with which I can draw a map of the room from memory. The result is mine cognitive card.(Note 11)

I do not proceed any differently when I want to imagine a terrain outside in traffic. It then quickly becomes difficult for me to form a cognitive map. Until I know, for example, what the typical background noise of a long path consists of, several inspections may be necessary - at least 18, as in my dissertation.

So a different way of presenting the path has to be found, one that can be obtained more quickly and that does something similar. In my opinion, this is the one cognitive routing slip.(Note 12) I think of this as a list of instructions that I work through in order to get from the starting point to the destination. In addition to the verbally formulated instructions, the cognitive routing slip also contains spatial information. What is going on where and how in the room is examined particularly intensively for key locations and stored in memory. (Note 13)

§12 Especially for the visually impaired

After this excursion into my spatial imagination, the following general principles of acquiring mobility for the visually impaired are a no-brainer for you.

More geographical than spatial orientation:(Note 13) Sighted people can often see larger stretches of the path as a whole and orientate themselves on the basis of their perceptions. Visually impaired people usually lack this "overview": they have to plan short stretches of the way themselves and put together an idea of ​​them piece by piece.

More foresight due to planning: Visually impaired people need more prior information about an unknown route than sighted people. However, it is precisely this information that is often not available to them.

Be on the way: The visually impaired must walk a path with special care. Four aspects of attention can be distinguished. (Note 14)

  • General Attention: Something unexpected can always happen. We must therefore register everything awake.
  • Directed attention: We have to concentrate fully on the path. Even if a nightingale is singing beautifully, we will have to "knock it out of our heads".
  • Distributed attention: In addition to orientation on the way, we also have to pay attention to the traffic.
  • Sustained attention: If the road is long, we have to maintain attention over a long period of time.

Of course, walking a path requires all aspects of attention even from the fully sighted. However, the same path usually requires far more concentration from the visually impaired, because they have to put together the overall idea of ​​the path from smaller individual parts than that.

If I can't do that? None of this can be done if your mind is elsewhere or if you feel very badly. Blind people who are up to their ears in love or seriously ill should not walk difficult unknown paths independently and should temporarily use the freedom of being dependent on responsibility in traffic.

V dealing with limits

If you want to turn fear into fear, you have to realistically assess your possibilities and limits. General knowledge can provide us with rough guidelines. Therefore, I will first come with a little statistics and then present methods of recognizing individual limits and expanding them to the maximum.

§13 General statements about visually impaired people

How many blind and visually impaired people are there in the Federal Republic of Germany? - The German Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBSV) continues to assume 155,000 blind and approx. 600,000 visually impaired people. (Note 15) He extrapolates the numbers of blind payment recipients, who were known in some federal states in 1995, to the entire republic.

The Federal Statistical Office found around 81,000 people with the mark "bl" in their severely handicapped ID cards for 2003. (Note 16)

The age distribution of blind people is undisputed: over 2/3 of them are more than 65 years old, and a good 1/3 is more than 80 years old. Therefore age complaints are likely to occur frequently in the blind. I am thinking of old age hearing loss, restricted mobility, but also worse things like the consequences of strokes or dementia. I have not found any figures on how strong and how severe these and other restrictions are.

It is even more difficult if you want to know what degree of spatial mobility blind people have or could possibly get with appropriate support. In 1986, Brambring & Schneider found that the visually impaired were far less likely than the sighted to manage paths independently in space; the reward of foregoing self-employment: they have accidents far less often than sighted people in road traffic. (Note 17)

If you want to determine how mobile a blind person can probably become, you first need information about them: attention, memory - especially working memory - and of course spatial imagination. And there are almost no tests here that could be used - especially with older blind people. (Note 18)

§14 Methods of recognizing and expanding one's own limits

How can you get information about your possibilities and limits and expand them as much as possible?

Mobility Lessons: If you are visually impaired in a new environment, I strongly recommend that you apply for mobility lessons from expert mobility teachers. The application usually has to be submitted to the health insurance company. If it is used to practice the way to a new job and its surroundings, the integration office or the pension insurance agency come into question. If the medically necessary basic care has been exhausted by the health insurance company and if the teaching serves to participate in social life, the provider of the basic care can be responsible. (Note 19)

Mobility lessons are particularly important for people who have recently become blind or have lost a large part of their eyesight. There you learn to find your way around the room blindly or by yourself as confidently as possible. You will learn how to handle the white long stick and how to use other aids.

Psychotherapy: Perhaps fear makes it impossible for you to endure the idea of ​​exposing yourself to road traffic. Or you are already walking some paths independently, but want to be able to do more and notice that fear often prevents you from doing so much more than fear that is appropriate to the situation justifies it.

Even visually impaired people do not have to suffer from constant fear of being exposed to traffic! Here, professional psychotherapy with trustworthy psychotherapists usually improves the situation.

Of course, psychotherapists are rarely familiar with mobility classes for the visually impaired. So try to make sure that your mobility teacher and psychotherapist work together.

Exercise yourself: Use the strengths from psychotherapy and the skills from mobility classes as often as possible. In this way you can adopt even more new paths and increase your freedom.

Please do not let yourself be deterred from finding your way around on your own even if you have not been granted mobility lessons at all. Then get yourself a white long stick and try out for yourself how you can best use it so that the stick gets to the obstacles as soon as possible. Try this first in your apartment and in the hallway that you know well. Then go out into the street. On the first few attempts on the new path, have a sighted person walk behind you and observe you. This is how you protect your life and health while you are unsure.

But really bet everything getting mobility lessons. If necessary, use your own assets or the blind money to learn at least the basics correctly. Mobility lessons are at least as important for the blind and visually impaired as the driving license is for the sighted.

But how realistic is it that visually impaired people get the greatest possible degree of spatial mobility with the least possible fear? - At the end of my lecture, here are some suggestions.

VI Perspectives: realistic and desirable

§15 Prerequisites-Appropriate Mobility Lessons?

In principle, we in the Federal Republic are not in a bad position. Mobility lessons are usually financed for younger blind people. The same applies to aids such as the white long stick and the guide dog.

But how long and how expensive can mobility lessons be? - On the site of the Professional Association of Rehabilitation Teachers for Orientation and Mobility for the Blind and Visually Impaired (BOMBS) e.V. (Note 20) I found an expert opinion from 2002 that was prepared by Prof. Michael Brambring and commissioned by the DBSV. Here are some highlights: (Note 21)

After Brambring explains why visually impaired people need mobility lessons (pages 2-12), he shows how many lessons different groups of people need (pages 15-22). He differentiates between: basic training, special training for people with learning and memory difficulties and training when the living environment changes (e.g. after moving). I will now go into more detail on the basic training:

It consists of five components (modules; see pages 19-20). For blind adults without additional restrictions, Brambring uses a certain number of lessons per module. The total of these hours forms the base value (page 18). Different groups of people receive a percentage discount or surcharge (page 23). It results:

Elements of the basic training and hours required according to Brambring, 2002

1.Long pole technique and awareness training 25
2.Paths in a quiet residential area 25
3.Regulated road crossings: depending on the area
 a)Rural (light) environment 10
 b)Small town (medium difficulty) 20
 c)Big city (difficult environment) 30
4.Public buildings, shopping centers etc .: like 3.10-30
5.Dealing with public transport: As 3.10-30
Total: Basic training for blind adults without further restrictions80-140
Severely visually impaired: 30% discount56-98
Visually impaired: 70% discount24-42
People who are older than 65 or those with learning and memory disorders are usually only trained up to the third module (regular street crossings) as part of the basic training (page 24). so it results: 
Base value (modules 1-3 for blind adults)60-80
People older than 65 years: surcharge of 30%72-98
People with learning and memory disorders: 100% surcharge120-160


  1. Visual impairment:
    1. Is visual impairment always an aid to spatial mobility?
    2. Couldn't residual eyesight be particularly confusing in some situations?
    3. Why is it not taken into account that visual impairments gradually lead to blindness or are suddenly acquired?
  2. Weighting factors: Where does the reviewer get the exact weightings? Why, for example, do 65-year-olds get a flat-rate hourly rate of 30%? why isn't it 20 or 50?
  3. Learning and memory disorders:
    1. How does the reviewer come to the assertion that people with learning and memory difficulties should only be trained up to the third module in the basic training?
    2. Wouldn't it be easier for such people to use public transport efficiently because only the right trams and buses run at certain train or bus stops?
  4. Role of fear: On page 28, the reviewer mentions "particularly anxious behavior" as a possible learning difficulty. Does this adequately describe the role of fear for the mobility of blind and visually impaired people and, above all, for their acquisition?

Of course, the cost of mobility lessons must not rise indefinitely. The BOMBS sets 56.43 euros per lesson; in addition: up to 400 euros for two long poles, 44.87 euros per working hour for arrival and departure as well as 0.30 euros mileage allowance. (Note 22) The total cost of a 100-hour course in orientation and mobility is therefore easily 7,000 euros.

The BOMBS recognizes Brambring's report. Despite all inquiries, it allows skilled mobility teachers to justify a significant number of hours for their students. In the case of an 85-year-old blind woman with restricted mobility and age-related reduced perception and memory, 100 hours can easily be justified. With this, the lady should be able to achieve noticeable successes in her spatial mobility.

§16 practice?

But what is practice? Will the (statutory) health insurance fund quickly and unbureaucratically € 7,000 for 100 hours of mobility lessons for the lady mentioned? - My own experiences as well as a telephone report from the first chairman of the BOMBS, Ms. Ulrike Schade, point in a different direction:

Mrs. Schade had filled out the application for the lady mentioned. She had signed it and sent it off. Two weeks later - reports Ms. Schade - the lady called her completely relaxed. "The one from the health insurance company said," she said, "that mobility lessons are no longer worthwhile for me. It would look ugly if I were to walk around in traffic alone." - The lady thereupon no longer pursued the application.

A health insurance company gave me a similar experience: I had just married and moved to Giessen. Now I applied for mobility classes because of the move. I brought my application and the lady from the health insurance company asked: "What do you need mobility lessons for?" "Sometimes," I replied, "I have to go shopping for us near the new apartment." "Your wife can do that for you," replied the clerk. I said furiously: "My wife is my partner and not my slave!"

The application was then approved. Even the additional need that the mobility teacher had asserted because of my reduced spatial imagination due to my birth blindness was recognized. I received 40 lessons instead of the usual 20 hours after moving.

VII To the resolution

§17 conclusion

The battle for spatial mobility is tough. Hardly any visually impaired person will achieve complete independence in finding their way around the room. In this respect, visually impaired people have to come to terms with being dependent on their independence ..

But this fight is necessary and will mostly be worth it. Spatial mobility is a Human right. It gives us the experience of freedom in an obvious way.

It is therefore everyone's responsibility to achieve the maximum spatial mobility that their personal requirements allow. The society is to be obliged to keep appropriate funds available and to enable each member to use these funds. This includes, for example, mobility lessons for visually impaired people.

To increase my mobility and that of other people, to support each other, to transform the fear of and on the way into fear and to experience newly gained freedom, has become the meaning of life for me. So today I tried to give you some insight.

How far I have succeeded in this will be shown in the following discussion, which I hereby open. I would like to thank everyone involved from the bottom of my heart. (Note 23)

§18 discussion

Above all, my advice to people who do not receive mobility lessons to "go out with a long stick" themselves caused backlashes. "If mobility lessons are as important for the visually impaired as the driver's license is for the sighted," said one participant, "can you then advise seriously blind people to walk independently without any idea of ​​how to use a long stick in traffic? After all, you can also do without a driver's license don't drive a car. "

I replied: "Of course I consider mobility lessons to be fundamentally important. But it is definitely going too far for me to make it a prerequisite for the blind and visually impaired to walk independently. In my opinion, walking must remain at your own risk Everything else is regulated by the traffic laws. "

I would be delighted if this lecture inspires you to further thoughts. I am ready to speak to you about this. (Note 24)

§19 Notes, Sources and Acknowledgments

  1. Note The lecture was held on October 6th, 2007 in the Johanneskirche in Düsseldorf as part of the eighth "Düsseldorfer Tage", an information event organized by the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland for the pastoral care of the blind and visually impaired.
  2. Note Freud, S. (1999). Inhibition, Symptom, and Anxiety. In: Anna Freud (ed.). Sigmund Freud, collected works in chronological order, vol. 14 works from the years 1925-1931 (113-205). Frankfurt a. M .: Fischer.
  3. Note Burlingham, D. (1981). Blind in a world for the sighted. Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 29, 315-329.
  4. Note Butollo, W. (1993). Fear is a force. 5th edition, Munich: Pieper.
  5. Note Drolshagen, B. (2007). And I do it anyway - self-determination despite the need for help in old age. horus, 69 (3), 110-113.
  6. Note: Foulke, E. (1983). Spatial ability and the limits of sensory systems. In: H. L. Pick & L. Acredolo (Eds.). Spatial Orientation: Theory, Research, and Application (125-141). New York: Accademic Press.
  7. Note Petrie, H., Johnson, V. V., Strothotte, Th., Fritz, S., Michel, R. & Raab, A. (1996). MOBIC: Designing a travel aid for blind and elderly people. Journal of Navigation, 49, 45-52.
  8. NoteBrabyn, J.A. (1982). New developments in mobility and orientation aids for the blind. IEEE Transactions of Biomedical Engineering, BME-29, 285-289.
  9. Note Barth, J. L. & Foulke, E. (1979). Preview: a neglected variable in orientation and mobility. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 73, 41-48.
  10. Note Mansfeld, F. (1940). The blackout and the blind. Arch. F. Ges. Psychology, 107, 411-436.
  11. Annotation Downs, R. M. & Stea, W. (1982). Cognitive maps - the world in our heads. New York: Springer.
  12. Note Harder, A. (1993).For the acquisition of paths: a field test with birth-blind people. Unpublished dissertation, University of Giessen.
  13. Note Brambring, M. (1982). Language and geographic orientation for the blind. In: R. J. Jarvella (Ed.). Speech, Place, and Action (203-216). Chichester: Wiley.
  14. Note Plohmann, A. M., Kappos, L., Ammann, W., Thordai, A., Wittwer, A., Huber, S., Bellaiche, Y. & Lechner-Scott, J. (1998). Computer-assisted re-training of attentional impairments in patients with multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 64, 455-462.
  15. Note http://www.dbsv.org/infothek/statistik.html (query: May 2006).
  16. Note Telephone inquiry at the Federal Statistical Office: May 2006.
  17. Note Brambring, M. & Schneider, W. (1986). Locomotion and traffic behavior of visually impaired people. Rehabilitation, 25, 74-79.
  18. Note Harder, A. (2007). Tests suitable for the blind: Problem definition and perspectives.
  19. Note Telephone information from Dr. Richter, attorney at DVBS, October 2007.
  20. Notehttp: //www.bombs-online.de (query: August 2007).
  21. Note Brambring, M. (2002). Expert opinion on the teaching needs for a training in orientation and mobility with a long stick for visually impaired people.
    http://www.bombs-online.de/13gut.htm (query: September 2007).
    The report is available as a PDF document. All page numbers in the following text refer to this source.
  22. Notehttp: //www.bombs-online.de/6kost.htm (query: September 2007).
  23. Comment Mr. Andreas Nehring, DB press office in Düsseldorf, has given me permission to film at Cologne Central Station. Mr. Nils Neubert shot and mixed the video. I discussed the lecture script intensively with my partner, Ms. Christina Henf. Pastor Holger Johannsen gave me the worthy lecture framework. The lecture was greatly enriched by the lively attendance of the auditorium.
  24. Note from Dr. Arne Harder, Luxemburger Straße 124 - 136 Apartment 2208, 50939 Cologne. Tel. 0221-4925431. Mail: [email protected]

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