Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Educating People About Blindness, Part 3: Brick Walls

There are a million things connected to low vision or blindness that have workarounds and don't present problems at all. But there are just a few things we've run into (get it? Pun?) that really don't have a solution. You kind of just have to shake your head and keep walkin'.

1. Overhelpfulness

You'd think a blind kid OUGHT to be pulled off a curb or grabbed from the top of a descending escalator, right? In fact, I just read a blog of a blind woman who doesn't always use her cane who asked people to pull her back if she is about to take a header down some stairs. 

So far, though, strangers grabbing Abi has always been bad. Always. 

But their intentions are so good...

2. The Cane Trip

Blind person walks up behind sighted person and accidentally sticks the white cane between their feet, tripping them. It's completely unintentional and unavoidable if the sighted person is being really quiet. I've asked our O&M teacher and she says there isn't really a fix. 

Abi just about wiped out a frail elderly man in a parking lot the other day. Yikes!

3. Eating Gracefully

You can do it, but it's REALLY HARD. Especially if you're seven and have severe PTSD, so any time the least little thing goes wrong you freak out and shut down. Sigh. 

4. Getting people not to say dumb stuff. 

Examples:

Adult at park says: You are so sweet to play with that poor little blind girl. 

Blind kid hears: You are so weird kids have to get extra parental praise to play with you. 

Adult at church says: You'll see in heaven someday because bodies won't be broken in heaven. 

Blind kid hears: You're broken now.

Adult on street says: You're so brave. 

Blind kid hears: There's something scary on the street that you didn't know about but I'm not telling you what it is. 

Adult says: Your parents are so great to raise a kid like you. 

Blind kid hears: You are so messed up it takes a real saint to deal with you, loser. 

Adult says: You're amazing. You get around so well. 

Blind kid hears: blind people deserve a medal for doing every little normal thing! People are going to treat you this special your whole life and you never have to try to accomplish anything because walking three steps is enough to win you the Olympics. So just be lazy and bask in the world's admiration of your mere existence. 

Those are just a few of the strange problems that we encounter with blindness. Getting from point A to point B? Not a big deal. Getting dressed? Reading? Brushing teeth? Chores? No biggie. But some of these issues are what make blindness inconvenient! Who knew?

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