Children, Youth and Environments vol:22 issue:1 pages:99-124
In the context of inclusive design, this paper reports on a photo-ethnographic study that is part of a wider inquiry into the haptic qualities of the built environment. To stimulate conversation with children born blind about their haptic spatial experiences, we invited them to take pictures of their daily living environment—a school for children with visual or hearing impairments or autism. The pictures taken by the blind children offer a unique perspective on how they experience the school environment. Non-visual triggers for taking pictures were both tangible (tactile, olfactory, auditory) and intangible (memories and knowledge) in nature. Besides offering insights into non-visual stimuli in the school, this study suggests that photo-ethnography may be a useful approach for communicating about sensory experience with children born blind and for overcoming a lack of vocabulary to articulate these experiences. Moreover, using the camera provoked sensory experiences and memories in general and revealed details on haptic perception in particular.