A Training Guide On Being Blind At A Con

Gen Con is a week from today!

I’ll be arriving in the afternoon on Wednesday, and am slowly putting together a Guide Human team & I realized that part of my nerves about going to this giant event for the first time is because I haven’t met most of the people I’ll be spending time with in person before.

So let’s talk about what it’s like for me to be at a con – and what *you*  my friends, fans, and potential cohorts can do to make this experience a little easier.

Cons are generally speaking, enormously overwhelming for me. Lots of people, lots of new places for me to figure out how to get to, and in this case, lots of work opportunities. So, I’m nervous.

If you see me wandering around, try to approach me from the front. Definitely *do not* touch me from behind. I get all freaked out. Please also do not immediately grab me by the arm. Just say hi. Make sure I know who you are. Just because I’ve seen your picture doesn’t mean I can recognize you on sight!

Remember that cons can be quite loud – so I won’t necessarily hear you over other people. If you want my attention you need to come up to me, not flail your arms or shout. Sometimes I notice, but sometimes I don’t.

Please don’t be offended if I don’t make eye contact, if my eyes wander, or if I can’t remember your name. Also, I don’t wave hello at long distances. So, please be aware of that instead of being upset.

Also, I like it when people beep so I can find them with my nifty echolocation skills…. I mean, I like it when I can hear you! If you want my attention, say my name. Elsa. Say it once, or twice, but don’t shout. I get bitchy.

A few notes on cane etiquette – please do not touch, pick up, or step over my cane. Seriously. Also, try to get out of the way when you see me. Really, try to get other people to notice the cane, the most irritating thing is having people yell at me for hitting them with my cane, and then have the words die in their mouths like ash.
Finally, if you wanted to know what it’s like to game with me/what you can do as a designer to game with a disability, come to my class “Accessibility in Game Design” on Friday at 1pm!

Photo by Stephanie Jones Photography

Photo by Stephanie Jones Photography

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