Careers And Dreams


Careers And Dreams

     Pulling my long white cane in closer alongside my leg and out of the way of people coming on the bus, I settled into my seat. It’s a twenty minute ride to Job Club. I went back into my favorite dream of the moment. I was a major league pitcher. “There’s the windup. The delivery. Low, corkscrewing, STRIKE! Another batter down, no hits, two down in the seventh!”

     “Main Street.” The bus driver called out.

     I joined the line of people getting off. On the downtown sidewalk, I got oriented and headed toward the library where rehab services for the blind holds their twice-a-week Job Club. “Another two hours of 'maybes'; maybe I’ll get lucky this week!”

     At the light, waiting, I think... “Where did I leave off... The voice of the radio announcer said, ‘The pitcher is up. There’s the throw, the swing... that ball's hit hard... going, going... Gone! Home run! Man oh-man! A pitcher that can not only throw the ball, but hit it, too!” My eyes water with emotion, what a feat!

     Stepping up on the curb, I notice I must have angled off to the right a few steps from the wheelchair ramp. Oh well.

     Seated by a couple of guys I know, waiting for the leader of the Job Club to start the meeting, I slip in and out of my dream, revisiting those pleasurable moments of skill and accomplishment and, YES!, mass media attention.

     “Dreams can be the beginning of a career.” said the leader. “Have any of you heard that?”

     “Finding out what turns you on would be important.” spoke up the woman with the clinking jewelry.

     “Acting upon that dream would take some work and some dreams are pretty far out.” said the man who smelled of Old Spice.

     “Yes, you are both right. How would you go about testing the dream for its reality potential? Your favorite dream life excites you, pleases you, but can you do it in real life, or a reasonable facsimile? Is it reasonable? What practical steps would you have to take to make your dream a day-to-day, workweek reality?" said the leader.

     “What if all you do is dream?” said my buddy, contrary Jerry, in the back.

e-mail responses to

**1. “Between my graduation from graduate school and employment, I heard a television personality tell a story about a woman with mental illness. She launched into her dream of becoming more comfortable functioning in society. She did well then..... The psychiatrist said that the hardest part was just getting into the water. She did this, and she may be more willing to try again. I remembered that analogy and launched my own dream. I used my grant writing
skills to design my own job and got them funded. On days when everything seems to fall apart, I think about the dream becoming the most intense nightmare!
However, I am in the water and swimming. I am not the medical doctor I dreamed of, but I am definitely busy and contributing to society.”

Marcia Beare (Martin, Michigan, USA)

**2. “The first step for me has always been to write lists. I picture what it is I want, what I have to work with and then how can I get from where I am at this moment to where I want to be. Breaking things in to smaller steps that are achievable helps me design a game plan. My biggest trouble, is too many dreams
that would lead me in too many directions. So I choose to tackle them one at a time. While serving in the Peace Corps, I adopted a blind child. Like the young man in the story, he was interested in sports. For hours he played basketball in our driveway and longed to play for the Portland Trailblazers. Being that he was only 5 foot 7, would be a real problem I gently pointed out. However, when he wanted to play football, I let him. He said it was
the one time in his life when he could run hard and knock people down without having to be careful or apologize. I encouraged him to play goal ball, wrestle power lift and hike. When he couldn't decide what he wanted to do after graduation from high school, I asked him to picture what it was he would like to do. He fantasized about having a gym where he could help people learn to lift weights etc. I asked him to break it down. He admitted he wasn't interested in the business aspect of owning a business. So we talked it over and came up with massage therapy as a goal to work toward because it was something that would give him a salable skill to put him among athletes and perhaps something that would lead towards a profession that would be useful in a health club partnership with someone who was interested in the business part. I know there is at least one professional sports caster that is blind who uses his vast
knowledge of baseball facts to give color and commentary. I know of one young man who is low vision, who started his own beekeeping honey business. I have had a number of careers, fulltime mom, La Lecher League instructor, independent living instructor, teacher in a blind school I built from the ground up as a Peace Corps volunteer, welfare caseworker, restaurant owner manager, writer, and now I am indulging my love of travel and handcrafted items by
owning and running an International gift shop where I sell things from over thirty countries. Big dreams don't have to be unattainable, they just need to be tweaked and broken down in to small enough achievable goals to carry you from where you are now to where you eventually want to be.”

DeAnna (Quietwater) Noriega (Colorado, USA )

**3. “I use to dream about singers/actors, and how I would meet them and save their lives, etc. but I do not do that any more. I discovered, when I grew up, that these were mostly fantasies!!--But is fantasizing dreaming? I don't know. Does this sort of thing help one to get along in life by teaching or example? I don't think so, but who knows!! I believe that the person in this provoker needed to feel fulfilled and he needed relief from the stress of not being productive--employed and earning his keep, so he had fantasies about being the best baseball player!! This is not uncommon, and a little of this is fine, but when it interferes with reality, too much, it could become dangerous. I don't know what happened to my dreams/fantasies, except that that reality intruded to the extent that I didn't find it enjoyable to play the hero in that way any more. Do I still day dream? Yes, but mostly about people I know and things I want to accomplish, not some impossible scenario! Not that meeting a Rock Star is impossible, because I have done that, but the rest of that story is, how would you realistically become a friend to this famous person to be able to carry out some kind of heroic feat? So as one gets older and, hopefully, more realistic, I have found less need to do this. This person has not had much experience with life yet and all he has are his fantasies. This is sad for us all, and shows that we as blind persons much try to fit into our communities, with activities, making friends, going to our clubs, to our library, to other functions with peers. I think this would have gone a long way to keeping me from having to invent a life, rather than really living that life I have here and now!! Hope this is clear to you. I think that we are, when young, always looking too far ahead of ourselves, we are looking too hard at making our life a better one, and the only way we have is in our day dreams.”

Phyllis Stevens (Johnson City, USA)

FROM ME: “What about the underlying reasons for a blind person getting into unrealistic daydreams? Do other people, non-blind folks do it too? what is the way to break this habit?)

**4. “Daring back to when I was in sixth grade (25 years ago) I wanted to be a well known author. For the next 20 years I dreamed about it, writing small pieces like poems and short stories. But I was too shy and too embarrassed about my love of writing, ability to create, and desire to become a published author. It wasn't until about four years ago that I finally decided that if I want to turn this dream into a reality I had to put some real time and effort into it. You know the expression - 10 percent inspiration, 90 percent perspiration. It's the difference between just dreaming and actually doing. As yet, I haven't had any major works, like novels, published, though on a smaller scale I've had some short stories and articles in print and on line. I attend workshops and rub elbows with other writers, editors and people in the publishing world. As for what's realistic and what isn't. Maybe I'll never be a Pulitzer Prize winner, Danielle Steel or Steven King, but I'm 'in the business'.”

Patricia Hubschman (New York USA)

**5. “Hopes and dreams can be the beginning of a career, But it is the term "reality potential" that we should be careful of. This isn't to say that we blind people should be blind to the fact that we need to have a slightly different view of reality that cannot be decided by those who have no idea as to what we can do. Neither can a sighted person decide for us what we should regard as realistic.

This is not an incitement to riot, but the result of a firm belief that
has arisen due to my short (only nine plus years) of seeing how people deal with the everyday things that I do in my life. As long as such a simple thing as using a guide dog, or a bus, or a computer is regarded as "amazing" or "wonderful" or some other well meaning but still uninformed opinion, we must set our own standard as to what our expectations and hopes and dreams are to be. Otherwise the people who are astonished that we can navigate a city with a long white stick, or a social service agency who thinks that the blind can't raise and care for their own children (amazing thought that the blind can actually have sex!) will not only set the limits on what we desire and hope for, but they will also enforce their decisions over us by means of limiting VR funds, or cutting off para-transit, or simply loading down otherwise excellent VR workers with a client load that breaks the most dedicated soul.

I don't believe in any conspiracy against us, but everyone who is reading this has a life that they want to exercise some control over and for which they want to make decisions. Someone else's standard of "realistic" cannot be allowed to set our standard or limit what we need. Take computers as an example - if you have a nineteen inch monitor, it probably goes for about $200 to $250. Unless your native written form of communication is Braille, and then we're talking around $10,000, give or take a few Braille cells. Who decides if that is a reasonable expense? The dude with nineteen inch monitor who may already be working at his or her dream? Or will it be me armed with an achievable goal, a way to travel the path of getting there, and a desire to do my own part, who is held up by someone who has decided that the world should be filled with blind piano tuners?

I do not have a chip on my shoulder, but I believe that if we don't set
our own goals and show how they can be done, then someone else will do it for us. There are a lot of helpful people who are trying to do their best for us, but we have to give them something to work with. Just this month I read two stories about individuals who did just that - one is a paleontologist, and the other is a practicing veterinarian and college professor. One is blind, the other is deaf blind, both are working happily in their respective fields, and neither have five percent of the support staff and assistance that a corporate vice president enjoys.

Whatever goals you have, don't allow anyone to tell you that it is too
complicated or requires too much support or is too expensive. Considering what we spend on perks for senators and congressmen, a Braille display is small change. You are not!”

Gary Drennan (Valparaiso, Indiana USA)

**6. “Are the four concepts - blindness, dreaming, employment and unemployment somehow irrevocably connected? The only two that are employment and unemployment.
You're either one or the other, so there is a relationship. And, blindness relates to those two with 70% or so of blind folks being unemployed, but 90%
of the blind Braille users being employed.
And, so how does the dreaming tie in? Depends on what you do with it. We blind folks have every right to dream as much as a sighted person about jobs,
families, careers, etc. And, in some careers, blindness makes a greater or lesser impact. That might not be a major league game, but, it could be international
competition in beeper ball. And, based on the A and E coverage of the Paralympics in march, public adoration happens in disability sports, too.

But, back to my point. Most motivational speakers talk about dreams, and I agree. Dreams, aspirations and ambition have a great deal to do with where you end up. And, Jerry is right. If the ambition doesn't lead to concrete action, it's worthless as the promise that you can get rich with no effort
in nothing down real estate. On the other hand, a dream that gets well analyzed for its key elements can lead to some extremely interesting careers for both blind and sighted people.
When dreams turn into concrete goals - making $1,000 a month, making $5,000 a month, becoming self-employed, reaching middle management in a company --
then it's easier to figure out how to make them happen.
I love the book "think and Grow Rich" by Nepoleon Hill. He is one of the acknowledged wise men of our nation. He encourages the reader to think and dream big, then gives examples of those who did and what happened, and how they got there. Then, he gives real concrete steps to use to achieve goals.
And, have I reached my dreams? Yes, most of them. I'm totally blind since age 7. I dreamed of being in charge and empowered to help/save people. Sort of the Roy Rogers and Super Man syndrome. I wasn't going to do it with rifle and knife, so ... lawyer? Counselor? Minister, manager? Business owner? Abandoned some cuz I didn't want to do the paper chase. Abandoned others cuz the pay wouldn't support a family. And, accomplished several on the list. I have the right to dream, gain satisfaction, and to ultimately achieve!”

Davey Hulse Braille Plus, Inc.
(Salem, Oregon USA

**7. “I think that blind people can accomplish the same goals and dreams as their sighted counterparts. Take the above example, the man who wants to be a pitcher. He may not be able to do it in the professional baseball league, but why not join a team of all blind players where the play has been adapted? If the individual feels he/she can not do that, what about working for a baseball team, or another sports team? I am reminded of the man who was blind, who wanted to become a doctor. He did become a psychiatrist,
thereby accomplishing his dream. So I say dream on! And accomplish them!”

Amber W, (Australia)**

8. “I asked my friend the Koz what he would most like to do if he didn't have CP. He said he would love to hit a pitched ball thrown by a major league pitcher.
I asked my friend Charlie in Chicago what he'd most like to do if he
were not blind, he said hit a pitched ball by a professional pitcher,
and I told them both, that is exactly what I day dream about. Funny how all of us have baseball in our fantasies.”

BillHeaney (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA)

FROM ME: “Bill is a sighted guy, so what can we gather from this response? All three guys, one with CP, one with blindness and one sighted have the same dream?”

**9. “As you know, I am a vocational rehabilitation counselor. I think the hardest part of my job is getting people to really think about what interests them. Often we can find a way to take part of a dream and put it into reality. For example, I know a legally blind young man who wrote sports articles for a fairly large newspaper. It's important to analyze the dream and figure out what is important.

I'm always looking for good ways to help my clients figure out what truly interests them. If you or any of your readers have good ideas, I welcome them!”

Mary Ellen Ottman (Daytona Beach, Florida USA)

**10. “Sigmund Freud wrote a lot about dreams. If I am recalling correctly, he said that things that happen during the day, things that we see or experience, may appear as images in our dreams in the form of : "Day Residue". I would imagine that this principle would hold for the blind as well as anyone. However a person experiences the world, through visual image or touch or sound or smell - these experiences leave us with images. The "images" that a person
experiences in their day may form "images" in their dreams. For example, I heard the song of a red wing black bird this morning. They have just returned to my area in Wisconsin. I saw the red wing black bird too - because I am sighted. They like tall grass and reeds to nest in. Tonight in a dream I may encounter the black bird's song, or, the image of one perched on a reed. What happens in the dream - around these images - has a lot to do with a person's
wishes; desires; fears; etc. I believe that blind persons are no different from anyone else in this respect. We all have wishes, desires, fears, etc. It is as basic to human nature as breathing. Sweet dreams to all.”

Clifford stephens (Wisconsin USA)

**11. “A great topic! However, I think most people don't get beyond
themselves with their dreams.

What I have discovered about myself is that I remember (and
it's in my book" .."A Thought is a thing
and words have wings, so you can do most anything!"

Remember, YOU are an important person; there is no one else
quite like you, so you might say that you have the
"world in your hands... literally!

Also, reading books fans a wide range of deals and dreams;
and NONE will be the same!

Go for it!!”

Dorothy (RPlist)

**12. “I don't day dream as much as I did when I was a kid. Seems my day dreams
always had to do with doing stuff sighted people can do like flying planes
and rockets, driving fast cars and motorcycles.”

Charlie Web (Blindfam,

**13. “This hit me in a very special way. When my Dad was very sick in the
hospital when I was nine years old, I told my mother one night that I wanted
to be a nurse and I got very emotional about it. She said very gently that
because I didn't have sight, I probably wouldn't or wouldn't be a nurse. I
can't remember exactly what she said. Well, in 1984 I started working in
our local hospital, not as a nurse, but as a volunteer in our partial Vision
Center. I ended up having seven volunteer jobs there. My last one was
playing piano in the lobby. This is the most rewarding job I've had there.
I got to work in a hospital and I'm really happy that I got to do that. No
I never was a nurse. I don't think I ever would have been a good nurse,
but I'm glad people who are under extreme stress enjoy my music. You never
know what life will bring.”

Leslie Miller (Blindfam)

**14. “This is an interesting topic for me, because I am currently studying the
manifesting principles and they teach you should fantasize each day what you
want in your life and that will help to bring that thing to you. There are
also other steps you need to take to help the thing manifest, but day
dreaming and fantasizing about what you want in your life is a huge part of
the manifesting life style. For example, I would like to live in a warmer
climate in a home that is located near stores and a bus line, so I picture
just that in my mind each day, along with writing it down several times and
repeating to myself that I have that very thing and also thanking God and
the universe that I have it. This is all new to me, but I'm trying it,
because I've been taking a course in how to do this from a woman who is an
expert at manifesting her desires and she's showing me how to do this for

On the more realistic side of things, I've always wanted to be able to be a
nurse and when I was a young girl I had pictured myself being a nurse and
helping people, but, of course, because of my blindness that dream never
came true. I was just thinking about this the other day, because that is
one dream that could nor would ever come true no matter how much I tried to
make it reality. I've never had the opportunity to do anything even
remotely close to nursing and I've always wanted to help and serve others
like nurses do, but because of my blindness I feel that dream has been

Bev (Blindfam)

**15. “My parents were great at encouraging all of us kids to dream. I was the only blind shield, the second boy of two boys and two girls. We all met our dreams. What helped me to ground my dreams in reality was to be an active part of a parents and of blind children group and later a group of blind students. Going to meetings and conventions was electric and thought provoking. To see what others are doing and to sit at their knee and see what their dreams were like then and now.”

Tony (USA)

**16. “After reading some of the great posts on this subject, I thought I'd add
something else. Hopes, desires, dreams, fantasies (of a good, moral kind,
of course) tend to apply to almost everybody in most peoples minds,
except those whose needs sometimes require assistance, be it public or
private. This is a great discussion, but it would sound really out of
place in a group that did not share a disability. That we blind people
(fill in your disability in for blind) would want something other than a
bare minimum job, or the ability to travel more than around our block,
WHEN we would want it and in the manner we choose would shock many

Part of this is due to the fact that we often do not speak for ourselves.
For various motives and reasons, the professional assumes that they know
best, or the educator makes our decisions, or the State decides that
since we are "fill in the blank", we have nothing better to do than wait.
Don't worry! I'm not venting! Some of these people intend nothing bad by
doing this, this is just what they are used to. (Bear in mind, though, I
did say some . . . :-)

How many times have you sat a table in a restaurant and have the
waitress or waiter ask someone else for your order, or if you'd like
fries with that? Then, you speak (It's a miracle! He can speak!!!) and
they practically jump out of their apron! (At this point I think it's fun
to respond in sign language. It gets them thinking, "How does he DO
that?!? ")

Why is this? They are not used to hearing us, seeing us, or experiencing
that we are people just as they are, except our eyes don't work. How else
will they respond to all the things that are important to us if they
don't hear about them from us? I am very grateful to all those
professionals who have provided assistance and help to me over the years.
But, however well meaning, none of them can speak for me while I still
have a voice. Unless, of course, I surrender that voice, but I'm not
about to do that!

Nobody will hear you unless they hear your voice, from you!”

Gary Drennan (Indiana USA)

FROM ME: “Learning to speak for yourself, where does that begin, where do you learn or not learn it? Granted, there is a place where we all should first learn this, but there are a couple of other segments in a persons life where it can also be learned, right? And, how about this gentleman’s reference to a professional thinking they can speak for us, where do you think they learned or didn’t learn that? Can they be retrained at some point in their career?”

**17. “It is really exciting to read how people reached their own dreams! I wanted more than anything to go to med. school. The commission for the Blind strongly
advise against this goal. After all, they only knew of one blind man to complete med school, and he was exceptional. I didn't want to think that I wasn't
equally able to complete the steps needed to complete my goals. The career counselor even discouraged my other suggestion of social work. I was told
to collect evidence that there were actually opportunities in social work. I finished my degree at a college also not recommended for blind students and
began on the road to employment. I had difficulties beginning and tried an agency suggested by the Chaplin of the college. The Commission again said
that I wouldn't be able to get a job with this agency, because they had never placed any exceptional clients at this agency. I did get the job and worked
there 7 1/2 years. During that time, many more disabled people were added to the staff. I still keep in touch with some of the people from this agency.
My dream turned from med school to just getting employment that wouldn't waste my education. If the people at the Commission hadn't stomped on my dream
so many times, I doubt I would have done so well.

Marcia Beare, M.S.W./R.S.W. (Martin, Michigan USA)

**18. “What helped me with my dreaming was to go out and visit people working in the areas I thought interesting. This was an opportunity that was suggested by my VR Counselor. I tried to set them up, but it was too easy for people to say no to me and so he with his governmental profile got further with it.

I first met with a man who was in marketing for a national hotel chain. We talked for an hour. I took notes and came prepared with questions.

My second interview was with a PR person, a woman who worked for a big insurance agency. We met for lunch at an outdoor restaurant and I interviewed her while we had a lovely lunch.

My third interview was with a woman in advertising. We met at her office and what started out to be just an interview developed into an opportunity for me to come back and spend an entire day.

My fourth interview was by phone and I talked with a sales manager. He worked for a large manufacturing company.

All these opportunities were so much better than just reading about a career choice. Of course, I did do some reading before I talked to all these people, after all you have to know something about a career before you can formulate good questions. But getting good information from the “horse’s mouth” the people who actually work the job is the best way to learn about them. I highly recommend it!”

Jamey (Nebraska USA)

FROM ME: “Also visiting with an Human Resource department to learn what they say the job consists of is good; what education and/or experience they look for, the duties, areas for advancement, etc. Second, visit a college/school that offers the training to enter a career area. find out what courses are required and where do their grads get jobs.

**19. "Like any child, I agonized about what I would be when I grew up.
One day, when I was about eleven or twelve, I was having difficulty making a
career choice. Finally, in exasperation, after taking my visual impairment into
consideration, my mother finally exclaimed, "You could be anything you want
to be, except maybe a brain surgeon." That phrase has stuck with me ever since.
When a college career counselor suggested that music therapy might be an
appropriate field for me, since I was interested in music and psychology,
Mother went to the library and checked out a book on the subject and read part of
it to me. I learned that music therapy can be used to help children and
adults with a variety of disabilities and that was what I decided I wanted to do. Now, I have been working as a registered music therapist in a nursing home
for the past thirteen years and I find the job rewarding and enjoyable.
However, I recently took up creative writing as a hobby and I am now considering it
as a career option. Right now, I don't think I could afford to quit my job and write full time.
Although some of my works have been and are being published, I am not as yet
receiving any money for them. However, I do have a dream of becoming a
writer and I feel that if I keep trying, I will eventually be successful.

For anyone interested in reading my works, several of them have been
published on line. You can find some of my poems at>.

Also, Robert has published one of my stories on his web site at>.

Abbie Johnson (Sheridan, Wyoming U.S.A.>)

**20. "What helped me the most after I went blind and needed to redream my
life's future was to meet a lot of other blind people. Going and joining
the NFB was my choice and attending both state and national conventions was
the greatest dream catcher experience I could have done. I have sat through
many panels of employed blind people and have also listened to featured
speakers who spoke of their careers and what it took to get there. Many of
these blind people were once searching for a dream, some of them had to
struggle with doubting parents or public or teachers or counselors, but they
persisted and were successful.

My recommendation is to get with other blind people and share dreams."

Mike P. (Texas USA)

**21. "To find the impossible dream! Reality is always stranger and more
fulfilling then dreams. Reach out and touch someone, someone who is blind
and living their dream, their dream may be yours! Join a consumer group for
the blind, either the ACB or the NFB; each have their good and bad points,
but each have employed members and they are into all kinds of careers.
Especially attend a national convention, there you will find the largest
gathering of blind people in the world! Read both the ACB's and the NFB's
news magazines you can find articles by employed blind people. I urge all
teachers and counselors and parents to join and if not join, at least use
these groups for models for those needing to find a dream."

Marcy K. (USA)

FROM ME: "I Whole heartedly agree!!! Go to the blind themselves. You may
not find someone who is in every career known to Man, but you'll find the
mindset, the philosophy that a person can do."

**22. "I would like to know where the employment statistic for Braille users
came from. I find this very interesting. I believe that people who are blind
have a much better chance of employment and attaining their dreams if they
can read and write either Braille or print very well. People who must rely
on tape for storing and retrieving information have a harder time in our
fast paced society. The 90% employment rate of Braille users is interestingand will help as I encourage my clients to acquire this skill."

Mary Ellen Ottman (Daytona Beach USA)

FROM ME: "I have sent her request on to the individual who made the
statement. I believe it comes from the NFB, but to have the article or
report with all the background with it would be best. One thought I have,
is what I tell anyone who really can't efficiently handle print, is that you
need to be able to quickly and accurately read and write and if print can't
do it for you, then be smart, use Braille. In general, you can't expect to
get far in school or on a job if you can't read and write. Lastly, I
applaud this respondent for asking the question she did; she is a Vocational
Rehabilitation Counselor and needs to know this.

**23. " The thing which stands out to me in this situation is the one point
which hasn't been mentioned and that is the expectations of others. As much as we
wish to avoid it there is no doubt that the actions and or success of blind
people depend on the expectations of others as dreams don't just involve
individual. Often realizing a dream is the more difficult option than
fluting along with what others feel is appropriate. I do admire people who
strive to achieve and I also admire people who admit that they are quite
happy not to achieve because this is not an option they could consider as
the stress would be too much. As a rehabilitation officer I never feel
happy with taking no, from sighted people, for an answer when visually
impaired clients really want to achieve but there are so many people factors
where dreams are concerned. For example, you may be right for that perfect
job but your employer may discriminate and you can't prove it. Or you may
wish to travel round the world and your medical insurance company states
that you must take a guide.

I feel that part of the role for those who want to is to educate, educate,

educate. we all must keep pushing to make dreams as near to reality as we

Best wishes and keep dreaming

Jayne Connor (High Harrington, Cumbria England(

**24. "Dreaming for dreaming sake isn't good, it is like a drug, it is like
a trap. Visioning is like dreaming but it is a more controlled activity.
Visioning is taught to professional athletes and others wishing to make
great strides in whatever task the person is undertaking. what I think is
needed first in visioning is to feed your imagination with facts and reality
factors of the topic to be visioned. What takes place is a mental ordering
of seeing yourself taking and feeling each step toward completing the goal.
Once you feel you see the path, and once you feel you understand what it
takes, then this leads toward the necessary confidence to go through with
it. Then you've had a real productive dream. Then go for it!"

Bob Marley (Washington USA)

**24. “I have been enjoying reading the responses to your recent THOUGHT PROVOKERS and I have especially enjoyed your careers and dreams. With a student preparing to go into high school it is inspiring to see how lots of people have handled the "What do I want to be...?" question. As far as having professionals
speak for their blind clients, the best thing to do is tell the person questioning to ask them. I have done this since my student was in first grade. There is a sense of making a person feel small or insignificant that struck me as ludicrous. So I would always say, "I don't know what he thinks, you will have to ask him!" Needless to say, he is quite capable of speaking up to get his point across. It is great to see him preparing for High School
next year, working independently and actually enjoying school. It has been a wonderful experience to witness his progress. All of the newest technology has really enabled our students to bypass the human factor many times. The BrailleNote being the most innovative and wonderful piece of equipment I have
seen yet! I recently read a story about how the BrailleNote can be hooked up to GPS system for navigation. There was a cab driver who took a blind patron the wrong way on the freeway while taking him to his destination. The ride seemed unusually long, so the rider asked the cabbie what had transpired. The
cabbie copped to the mistake, so the blind gent pulled out his BrailleNote, activated the GPS, figured out how many miles out of his way he had been taken, and when he got out at the end paid the cabbie his fare after deducting the ten extra miles! Loved it.”

Suzanne Lange (Chico, California USA)

**25. “So many of these responses are catching my attention. In the first update, a responder referred to a blind vet. I still love medical science even though I didn't go to medical school. This spring I even got the chance to deliver triplet lambs into the world. This was a big, beautiful feather in my cap of dreams! I got to deliver a baby!!! If possible, could you e-mail me privately.

Another response made me laugh! This was the idea of responding in sign language. I will have to try this sometime. It will be interesting if the server catches on! So many times clerks will tell my companion what my total is for a purchase. Being my usual assertive self, I try to separate myself from my companion to stand on my own. This makes a difference to me both emotionally and mentally! Now, I am going to look up the National Federation for the Blind. Another suggestion given.”

Marcia Beare, M.S.W./R.S.W. (Martain, Michigan USA )

**26. “Before my vision came to the point it is at now.. I was living my dream job.. I was one of five of the only industrial wheelwrights and cartwrights in the US... now. I dream about making.. dream of the wood, and building.. but I don't know how to even remotely learn again. (in this manner of perception).
I had never come across anything like that in Texas.”

Tarran (San Antonio, Texas USA)

FROM ME: “I’m not totally sure what type of wood crafting it takes to be a wheelwright and a Cartwright, but I as well as many others I know who are totally blind will tackle and joyously and very successfully any type of carpentry. I personally can’t think of anything in construction via wood that can’t be done by a blind person who knows non-visual alternatives; a few special measuring tools and the right mind set, that’s all. It’s something you learn from the right counselor and/or teacher of the blind. It is pure 100 percent expectation and some perspiration.”

**27. “Ideally, the best careers should be those which evolve from dreams.
Unfortunately, because of a lot of circumstances, including counselors who
are less than encouraging, this often does not happen for blind people. But, if a person has a dream and can determine that that dream is attainable for them, as a blind person, then I think they should go for it.

For me, my dream of a career didn't come for many years after my actual
career began. I've worked for 28 years in the consumer protection field.
But, my dream is to teach blind people to travel with a cane. I know that
dream has been accomplished successfully by many blind people. I hope that,
for me, I'll be able to realize the dream by teaching people I encounter. I
know, it won't become a career. This isn't because I question whether I can
do it, or whether a blind person could do it, because I know the answer is
yes to both. I'm not willing to relocate at this point in my life, and the
chance of my getting a job in this area, with the local agency is pretty
slim; because of their attitude. But, that's my dream.”

Cindy Handel (Willow Street, Pennsylvania USA )

**28. “People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant
ship coming in. Rather they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters: they will not allow life's circumstances to push them down and hold them
Charles Swindoll

Dreams are good, but they will never come true unless you act to make them come true. Think carefully about where you *REALLY* want to be and how you can
get there. It is very important to know just what is involved in doing that type of job so that you can be sure that it is something that you can and want to do. Be realistic, each person has different abilities. But don't be too quick to *ASSUME* that you can't do something, you may be surprised at what
you can do if you really try hard enough. For some it may be necessary to start with very small basic goals and work their way up. Get out of your comfort zone, work hard, and be patient with the process, but be careful not to get stuck along the way. Realize that you may fail at times and that is OK if you
have done your best. Go out and try again, whether with that job or some other one. Your successes and failures and what you do with them are your own responsibility. Remember *YOU* and ONLY *YOU* can use your abilities and make *YOUR* dreams come true.”

Anitra Webber (Salt Lake City, Utah USA)

**29. “Reading through this story reminds me of what my dreams have always
been. Now as children we all have had dreams of what we wanted to be
when we grew up, but I'm talking serious dreams of a future
profession. I have had mainly two. My first dream, and the least
realistic, is to become an Astronaut. I always get an adrenalin rush
when I think about launch, the power of the two SRBs lifting me up into
space, the thought of seeing Earth from orbit for my first time, and
just plain traveling in space. Our "Undiscovered Country" awaits. Now
I'm not saying it's unrealistic because of my blindness. Two levels of
Space Academy have taught me to the contrary. I'm saying it's
unrealistic because. . . well. . . I'm out of shape and to lazy to
change that. Trust me, I've tried.

My other dream, and the one I'm pursuing, is to become a
Veterinarian. I have grown up with dogs around me, and the friendships
I have had with some have been amazing. I have seen them healthy and
not so healthy, and felt with them during the whole trip. When one
particular one died, I felt death. So my main goal is to make a
difference in the lives of all pets, and the families that love
them. Now I know that I can't always save them, but that won't stop me
from treating my patients like they were my own pets.”

Brent J. Heyen (Chadron State College, Chadron, Nebraska USA)

**30. “Dreams are fine, but most of the time, they take hard work.
Rehab professionals take a lot of blame for many things, chief among them,
in my opinion, is that they don't expect as much from their clients as those
clients are capable of. Society in general expects little from blind
people, and unfortunately, many blind people don't expect much of
themselves. Now that I am one of those dreaded rehab professionals, I can
say that I never tell my clients that they can't do a thing, I do tell them,
however, that if they wish to accomplish a thing, their skills will have to
meet the challenge. If they don't travel well, if they intend to use
technology and they do not have the skills, they need to know that. It is
one thing to tell someone they can't do a specific job, it is another to
realistically assess a person's skill level and advise them that if they
wish to compete, they're simply going to have to hone their skills. Rehab
professionals like me need to be looking for ways to truly assist people in
achieving all they can, rather than simply saying, "you can't."
If we go to a job site, what we're attempting to do is determine the
problems a visually impaired person will encounter when using the specific
computer systems and software they will find on the job. We hate to lose,
we hate to go to a job site and conclude that with today's screen reader
and/or magnification technology a job will not be doable. Unfortunately,
sometimes, it will work out that way.
But the goal of a computer teacher like myself is to teach, as much as a
student is willing to learn. I deal mostly with those who have recently
lost their sight or most of it. They are extremely difficult to teach
simply because they are so accustomed to accomplishing tasks visually that
they don't have enough sight to do in the same way any longer. They tend to
resist non-visual techniques with a vengeance. Though this is
understandable, it stands in their way. Two of my most challenging students
these days are young people who have both lost their sight in rather
traumatic ways. One because of a brain tumor, one because of a gun shot
wound. Both of them have little or no useful vision, they cannot read print
yet they resist with every fiber of their collective beings the idea of
learning Braille. To some extent, they also resist non-visual computer
classes. Yet, you must continue to teach, and no matter what your actual
job description says, you find yourself doing some on the fly counseling. I
believe in dreams, but success for those of us who are blind truly does
require that we be willing to work hard and expect a good deal from

Rich Ring (Portland Oregon USA)

**31. “My philosophy is that what's realistic is relative. Do I realize there are some things I can't do? Yes. I know I could never be a race-car driver, even
if I wanted to. People who can't carry a tune can't sing professionally at Carnegie Hall. People who can't successfully pass high school biology need
to think twice if they have ambitions of becoming a doctor.
But, my limited sight does not make me less creative, less smart, less of a leader.
Other people cannot decide---and should not have the right to decide---what I, or any other visually impaired person can handle doing. It is my intelligence,
my talents, my goals. While I need to be responsible with them, other people cannot tell me rightfully that I should not develop them, or work toward them.

When I was in junior high, my special resource teacher asked me what I thought I might want to be when I grew up. I started making a list of jobs I was interested in at the time. They included nurse and teacher, among other things. She looked at my list and told me in order to do any of the jobs I had
in mind, I would have to go to college. I pretty much said, "" And that was when she told me she didn't think college would be realistic for me. I couldn't handle it, she said. I stupidly took it to heart for a while. Then I realized that since it would be my life, not hers, it would
be up to me to put in the work. Also, I realized that anything worth having is worth working for. So I was bound and determined to try college, to prove her wrong, if for no other reason.
The first semester was harder than I realized it would be. I did take on too much at once, and although I put in lots of time and work, I didn't do very well. So, I resigned myself to the idea that she may have been right after all. I went back for a second semester, but sort of under protest. I did a little better then, but didn't go back in the fall. It only took me a week of bagging groceries to realize I didn't want to spend the rest of my life doing that! I went back to college the following semester, determined to make it, and I did get an associate degree. My dream was actually my bachelor's degree at that time---which, I'm happy to say, I am now pursuing. I had wanted to go back for years, but heard so many stories about people I knew staying up all night just to write a paper or study for an exam. I know I'm no good to anyone, including myself, when I get
run down. If I would have to spend a few years feeling that way, maybe it wouldn't work out. But, I thought, it would be nice "someday.”

I got to know a blind person who has two masters degrees, and from the beginning, I knew I didn't want to pursue my degree the way he went after his---at breakneck speed, overloading himself, just to prove to everyone he could do it. No. I wanted my degree, but I wanted it then, and now, so that I could learn and use it. I was determined to not make school some kind of contest, but I knew at that point that I could do it after all.

When the department I worked for closed down a few years ago, it occurred at the perfect time for me to get all the paperwork together, go through my medical checkups, and register for spring semester at the University. I have been taking a few classes at a time, but have been going through summer school as
well, and have done very well for the most part. I've only struggled with two classes. There have been other classes that I have had to really work for, but ended up fine in. All my other courses have still taken time and effort---as future ones will. But for now, the "worst" is over. Not only am I doing better than I ever expected to, I was accepted into the National Honor Society this spring! Isn't it a shame someone like me can't go to college?! What
a waste, and a sin, it would have been if I actually let someone who may have meant well discourage me! It would have cost me a world of opportunity I would have never even known existed and was open to me, had I let someone else's doubt dictate my life's path! I should look up that former teacher of mine, and when I graduate, send her my picture---honor cord and all!”

Carla (Arizona, USA)

**32. “recently I attended a career work shop. One of the exercise was to write out on paper our dream career. we were not to trace out the path to reach it, just what it consists of once you have achieved it. we handed them in and the instructor mixed them up and passed them out to a different person. After we all received someone else’s dream career, we were to map out the steps to reach it. . If we knew if required school, then we said it and if we didn’t actually know, we were to write that point as a question. We also were to write in the steps to research what the career would be like for someone in it, because maybe the dreamer was only dreaming and didn’t really know the truth. We were not to make judgments if the goal was realistic or not, but just try to outline the steps to make it real.

this exercise taught us how to analyze a dream, the step to take. this made us all evaluate ourselves and compare our skills and determination to make our dreams come true.”

Robert park (USA)

FROM ME: “Have any of you taken the time to look through the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and its accompanying Occupational Outlook handbook? Interesting reading, a list and description of tens of thousands of jobs. Granted, not all these jobs will be found in your community, but it gives food for thought when it comes to dreaming.”

**33. “I had dreams but never let them materialize. I got my Master's degree in counseling and really wanted to go into private practice. But I never let myself do this, partially for financial reasons and partially, I guess, because it was easier to stick to my comfortable and probably better0-paying job. I have done some informal counseling and have worked on a crisis intervention hotline for several years. I also realize that counseling would be a big responsibility and that what I say to people may have long lasting effects on them. So maybe it's better that I didn't live my dream but there is still somewhere inside
of me that part that wants to reach out and help people in this unique way.”

Mary Jo Partyka

**34. "I have read the responses to the thought provoker, "Careers and Dreams." I like the response by a Rehab counselor who said that he tells his clients they can do anything they want. I agree. It is hard to get a job. they can do anything they want. I agree. It is hard to get a job. Employers think that just because your blind, you can't do anything."

Beth Kats (USA)

**35. I think people who are blind or visually impaired are told to work harder to succeed. We are under much more pressure to succeed than our sighted friends. My dream at one time was to pursue a career in music. I went to a two-year college majored in music and loved it. Then I went to a four-year college and found out my love for improvization was going to get me nowhere so I changed to education. People ask why I don't combine the
gifts of music an education but I don't want to teach music. I never
thought I could be a concert pianist I wanted to major in music therapy. At the college I attended they required music therapy majors to double major in music ed. Not what I wanted. I am not a natural born teacher. I don't dislike teaching but I am not truly happy in my major. I want to teach children with visual impairments but first I must get my under grad in elementary education. In my state it is required that one have a teaching license to be a teacher for students who have visual impairments. I have also thought of walking away with my liberal arts degree and going into rehab teaching. But I have decided to stick with the teaching. I
went to a meeting over spring break with my VR counselor and the director of the agency. He is totally blind and himself has been a teacher. He expressed concern in me getting a job with my teaching degree. He said it wouldn't matter my cridentials he had a 4.0 GPA and couldn't find a job. I don't really know what I m trying to say here just relate my experiences.”

Lisa USA