Daniel Martin's story helps us understand who to include in "design that's usable by all people."

And not just in Staunton, VA, but anywhere.

Daniel has been living in a world of total blindness since he was 15 years, after a car accident left him completely blind. Daniel attended a rehabilitation program in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania the summer following his accident, where he learned invaluable life skills, including cane navigation, Braille, and computer assistive technology.

In addition, Daniel has learned to navigate his world by making physical adaptations to his home, as well as incorporating tactile cues to help him complete his meal preparation independently. Daniel offers tremendous insight into how communities can be more welcoming to people with visual impairments, and how his disability is only an element of who he is as a whole person: blindness does not define him.

Location: Staunton, VA, United States


Watch the interview:

Notable quotes from the interview:

I’m a person like anybody else. I don’t want to be seen as a person with vision loss; it’s just an aspect of my life. It’s kind of like, in some aspects, it’s almost like saying, and I know this will sound weird for some people watching this, is that it’s almost like having a different hair color. Because I don’t go through my day thinking, oh, I can’t see, or I can’t do that, I can’t do that…I’m literally thinking about what am i teaching my students today.

I have done some things in the garden where I have used stakes with strings that you can kind of feel a row… I’ve done mowing. When I lived in a town home up in D.C… I had an electric mower and I had such a small area that I would go from sidewalk to sidewalk to sidewalk, and just kind of mow that whole area.

One issue for me is, people do this all the time. They’ll come up, “Hello,” and then they’ll walk away. It’d be nice for people to say “Hello, hey this is so-and-so.” And when somebody walks away, just to say, “I’ve gotta go,” or “I’ll see you later.” That’s so courteous because I’ll be staying there talking to somebody…and I’ll pause for a second and be like, “are you still there?”

I think with anybody for a person with disabilities; looking beyond that disability. This is a person and they’re more than just a guide dog, they’re more than just a cane, they’re more than just a pair of sunglasses; they’re a person. They’ve got feelings, emotions, they can get upset just like you. They’re allowed to get upset. They’re allowed to have a bad day.