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Exploring St. Louis from a Blind Person's Perspective

Author: Lighthouse For The Blind Saint Louis

Published: 2011-04-03

Synopsis and Key Points:

Exploring St. Louis from a Blind Persons Perspective offers assessments of local attractions unique features and accessibility.

Main Digest

Lighthouse For The Blind Saint Louis Publishes Unique Guidebook: 48 Page Guidebook is Blind Author Stephen Kissel's Assessment of Local Attractions' Accessibility.

Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis, a non-profit corporation that helps legally blind people maintain dignity and independence by offering Employment, Education and Support Services, has published a 48-page booklet called "St. Louis Arts & Entertainment: Exploring St. Louis from a Blind Person's Perspective" that offers assessments of local attractions' unique features and accessibility.

Researched and written by Stephen Kissel, the Lighthouse's Blind Community Enrichment Associate, the guidebook is a valuable tour guide for blind and visually impaired people who want to visit Powell Symphony Hall, the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, the St. Louis Art Museum and a dozen other attractions. It is based on Kissel's first-hand explorations of cultural and entertainment venues as a totally blind person, and interviews with venue officials.

Mr. Kissel says, "Being totally blind myself, and having been visually impaired (low-vision) for the first seventeen years of my life, I have tried to offer a fair assessment of the major tourist and cultural attractions in St. Louis from a sight-impaired individual's perspective. This information has been gathered over the past two years through personal collaboration with visitor services departments and by experiencing attractions and accommodations first-hand.

"In my reviews, I analyze current accommodations that are geared specifically towards people with visual impairments; I cover current developments for future services, and I highlight many features of the facilities which, though not specifically designed for sight-impaired individuals, do, nonetheless, enhance the overall experience of a blind patron," Mr. Kissel says.

The detailed guidebook covers 16 popular St. Louis regional attractions in four categories: Theatrical, Outdoor, Museums & Historical Sites and Interactive. It also provides "Ratings of Accessibility" for each attraction based on criteria such as Accessibility, Usher Staff, Availability & Quality of Live Descriptive Audio, among other criteria. Each section also features Kissel's informed commentary and opinions about each venue.

Angie Yorke, Blind Community Enrichment Programs Manager for Lighthouse, says, "Stephen Kissel has been involved with the Lighthouse as a Continuing Education scholarship recipient since those particular programs began in 2005, and he is still receiving scholarships in 2011. He graduated with a degree in History from McKendree College and is now attending Saint Louis University as a graduate student studying history.

"This guidebook is part of a Lighthouse project to stimulate awareness and creativity among local museums and cultural venues in reference to making their exhibits and attractions accessible and more engaging for patrons who may be either blind or visually impaired. I believe it has been a labor of love for Stephen," says Ms. Yorke.

"St. Louis Arts & Entertainment: Exploring St. Louis from a Blind Person's Perspective" can be viewed on the Lighthouse website or acquired from the Lighthouse by contacting Angie Yorke at 314.423.4333, ext 132, or via email at

The Lighthouse for the Blind is a privately chartered, 501(c)3 non-profit corporation established in 1933. Through the manufacture and sale of products to various government agencies as well as commercial customers, Lighthouse furthers its mission of assisting individuals who are legally blind maintain dignity and independence by making available employment, education and support services. Lighthouse is committed to providing a supportive environment where employees can count on developing new and productive skills that will assist them in reaching amazing levels of independence. For information please visit the website

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