I have always been guilty of zoning out on car trips. Since I am blind and can’t drive myself, I tend to luxuriate in my role as the passenger. As a kid I spent my time singing to the radio or reading a book. Nowadays I sing my kids ridiculous songs to keep them entertained, or pass them snacks, or play referee in the classic backseat sibling game of “That’s mine! Stop touching me!” In short, I’m rarely paying strict attention to where we’re going. Nowadays it’s usually out of necessity, but when I was a teenager, it never even crossed my mind. I would never be the one driving, so why were driving directions even relevant to me?
As I grew and as I began to ride with people other than my parents, I began to regret not having paid more attention. Driving directions are so much more relevant than I ever imagined. Today when an Uber driver brings me home, I want to be able to tell her which house is mine even when it’s dark and she can’t see the house numbers. I need to be able to help my driver when she can’t figure out if she’s missed the turn onto my street or if she just hasn’t gone far enough yet, or to reroute us if the road is blocked off from construction.
The purpose of this activity is to help students learn how to direct someone to their house, building on orientation and mobility skills, as well as skills for work readiness and independent living. Students may not think these skills are necessary, but they will be incredibly valuable when they reach adulthood.