Self Fulfilling Profphesy


Self Fulfilling Profphesy

     “Here’s your shirt for the day.” said the father to the small blind boy. “No. Here, son, let me do that...there we go, it's over your pull it down...Let me tuck it in....there, done.” this was a daily routine for them. ”This is your new shirt and you’ll be looking sharp there Sport!”

     “I’ll have to show Angie.” said Timmy.

     Across town, Angie was also getting ready for school.

     ”Angie, you have three choices that will go with those favorite pants of yours. This one is navy blue with the little white ducks. This red one with blue and white stripes. Or this yellow shirt with the doggies chasing a ball.” said her mother.

     The small blind girl fingered the garments, chose the one on the left, and began to put it on.

     “That’s right, check for the tag.” reinforced the mother, starting to do other things in the room. “Tuck it in as best you can. I know it's a tough one, but you’ll get it. I really like that outfit on you!”

     Back at Timmy’s house. “Here’s your cereal and here’s your cup of milk. Don’t spill, honey.” said Timmy’s mother.

     At Angie’s breakfast table, she tilted the large cereal box so she could angle a small cup into its interior. “How many scoops of that cereal are you going to have today?” asked her father as he prepared his own plate.

     “Three. I want it full! OOPS, spilled some.”

     “That’s okay. Check it out and pick them up.” said her mother from over by the stove.

     At the elementary school, the two families met in the parking lot, greeted one another, and walked up to the building together.

     “Watch that curb!” said Timmy’s father to his son as he led him by the hand from the car to the boy's coatroom hook.

     “Angie, hold that cane more toward the middle of your tummy. You know, like your travel teacher says...”

     “Sure, Mom, I know...” and Angie sang out in her sweet little girl’s voice, “Belly button city, kiddy!”

     Inside the classroom, parents gone, the instructional day got under way. The teacher had the extra task that day of training a new para-professional, a person to assist her in instructing the two blind children in her class of otherwise normally sighted students. “Yes, and among all these other things we discussed, just be aware of the difference in their personalities, their learning styles. That will carry you a long way and play to their characteristics as learners.”

     “Yes, I do notice a difference...oh there, observe...” responded the para-professional.

     The children had just finished a structured lesson and were being given a short time of free play. Angie and Timmy, as friends will do, were together at a playhouse station.

     “Timmy, does that feel like the door?” “TAP, TAP.” “Hear that? This is the way in.” said Angie, standing in the doorway, using the tip of her cane on the floor to make the sound cue. (She had proven her reliability to use the cane properly and was allowed to use it throughout the school day.)

     Inside, the two children played tea time. Timmy said, “I need help, please. I would like more tea and cookies.”

     “Okay. Hold out your cup.” Angie, finding the hand of her friend, poured pretend liquid from a toy teapot. “It's hot. And here are the cookies. I baked chocolate chip! How many do you want?”

e-mail responses to

**1. This is an excellent subject! You could write a book on this one. I was
lucky, I was raised with the same expectations as a sighted child. If
anything, I believed I had to work harder and be better just to keep up. I
have no tolerance for pampered blind people.

I know two children exactly like the ones you described. One blind girl is
12 and she loves to be babied. She resists any attempts to learn to do
anything on her own because she likes attention. She prefers to have others
tie her shoes and zip her jacket. She loves it when her grandmother feeds
her with a spoon.

The other blind girl is 7. She is expected to do the same things her
sighted brothers are doing. She is independent and she will try everything
without hesitation. If people offer help she says 'thank you, but I'd
rather do it myself'. She is naturally curious and loves a good challenge.

The irony is that blindness is not the problem in the case of pampered
children, it is their learned lazy dependence. They will never succeed and
they will blame their blindness for their failure.

I have seen the same pampering in schools. Teachers will fuss over a blind
child and reward them for the slightest thing. The above 12 year old was
failing math, but her teacher gave her an A so she wouldn't feel bad. What
kind of message is this?

Fine pamper blind kids and treat them so special that they thing they are
geniuses because they are sitting in a seat and one day they will go out in
the 'real world' and fall on their faces. They won't be able to work and
they will be dependent or on public assistance for the rest of their lives.
What a cheat!

Challenge a blind child, expect them to do everything a sighted child does,
have them do chores around the house, give them responsibilities. Expect
them to do age appropriate skills and demand that they be treated with this
expectation. THEN they will productive adults.
If you help a baby chick out of the egg, they will die. They need to fight
to get out in order to breathe. People are like that too.

Jody W. Ianuzzi USA

**2. I am Karen Crowder, from Leominster Massachusetts, and I like the short story. It illustrates the ways that blind children learn. Timmy is more dependent,
that is just the way he is. His parents do not seem to encourage independence very much. The girl Angie, is more self-sufficient, and uses a cane at
a young age. I wish I had had that opportunity. At the school that I went to Perkins, Cane travel was not encouraged until we were in high school. Even
then we had it once a week. You were made to feel that there was shame in using a cane. That was the way I felt. It was just another boring thing to
learn, when would I be using this awkward thing anyway. I finally realized the importance of the cane when I was a senior in high school. I had better
learn how to use this thing, I would be using it to go to and from a job. I left school and for the first time was given in depth training on how to cross
streets, how to independently go from one place to another with my cane. I am glad to see that children are learning how to use the cane. It is a natural
thing just like a sighted person using glasses. I am sure that Timmy will learn how to use the cane I hope soon. I use a cane today and when appropriate
use the sighted guide. I am a fairly independent traveler, except when in big cities like Boston. That was not always the case, I used to travel to and
from work and lived in Quincy in my younger years. I grew up in Weymouth, and that is where I first used the cane independently. I remember my first
trip going to a friend's house four blocks away. I got there successfully, and my mom had been right behind me with out me knowing it. That was okay
my parents encouraged me to travel independently. When I learned the streets of Boston, a certain route, I walked to my first place of training Morgan
Memorial, and my Mom was right behind me. I did not know she was there so it was a pleasant surprise. We ended up having lunch in Boston at Brigoms,
and going to the commission to see my counselor. I do not work at this time, but am looking forward to going to the Carroll Center for more computer training
to go in to customer service. I will be going for now but enjoy my reflections on early mobility travel.

Sincerely Karen Crowder

**3. None of this message is to put Timmy down as an individual. But even in preschool, Angie is displaying much more independence than is Timmy; and for the
most part, it was because of their families: Timmy's father actually dressed him, he was given the cereal, and his father guided him by the hand, and of
course he had to caution, "Watch that curb!"; on the other hand, while Angie probably could not read, and thus did not label her clothes in braille, she
did, shall we say, pet the doggies and feel the tags, got a little too much cereal for her bowl and cleaned it up, and used her cane well.
I want to emphasize that all this is not meant to portray that Angie will be a role model for all the blind to follow; quite honestly, I think we in the
American blind community have had more than enough of that stuff in the past 40 years. But it is refreshing to see someone like Angie. How many of us on
this list have not seen at least one blind individual who, to this very day, does not know how to take care of himself/herself, because he/she lived with
his/her family until mi
ddle age and held him/her in the prison of dependency?

Jeff Frye
Overland Park, Kansas

**4. Hi,

Gee, this one was so good, it's too bad the story could not have continue;, but, of course, Timmy must, it seems to me, learn to do for himself. Angie,
serving perhaps as the blind role model, might provide the beginnings of this process. Doubtless, Timmy must have wondered at the differences between
them and why it was that little Angie seemed to be able to do that which he could not. Sometimes, we adults just don't get it, so, perhaps the children
could serve as an example of what is possible. I'd put my money on it that Angie's parents were members of the NFB, ware as Timmy's...well, you guessed

Sincerely Yours,

**5. This is a great scenario that unfortunately is repeated around the country and reinforced in the academic setting at times. Thank goodness
attitudes are changing and learned helplessness is no longer perpetuated by parents or learning institutions. Having a trained person in the classroom
is definitely a plus. If the paraprofessional is skilled in Braille technique, has some input from a mobility specialist and reinforces independence in
all areas, there is a reasonable assessment for success.

The parents of the young girl are absolutely providing the necessary freedom and responsibility in providing choices in clothing, pouring cereal and cleaning
up afterward. I say that she probably poured her own milk inserting her index finger in the bowl to know when it was full enough for her taste. The astute
paraprofessional and classroom teacher can reinforce these skills with both children in the classroom. At the end of the scenario, the little girl is
already modeling pouring tea and serving cookies, as well as "teaching" how to tell what it sounds like while entering the door of the playhouse. Having
another Braille reader in the classroom also means that they can exchange papers for correction etc...
The checking for the tag in the back of the t-shirt is one of the many ways toward independence. I can remember when my student was in 1st grade, he was
one of the only 6 year olds who could put a straw in those silver Capri Sun juice packets. After much practice he felt for the hole and poked hard with
his straw until it pierced the ever stubborn hole. Soon other first graders were asking him to do theirs in the lunch room. Rising to meet the challenges
that face the blind in a visual world, can be done successfully. Mostly having parents on board that reinforce the necessary skills is a major factor.
As well as successful role models who are also visually impaired.

Suzanne Lange
Braille Interpreter
Chico, CA

**6. Hi, I couldn't resist, not writing in. I am so thankful I wasn't raised this way, but I was on the side of Angie, as to Timmy with a best friend of mine
throughout elementary school. I played like the rest of the kids while he preferred to be led around afraid to venture out and do anything because he was
sheltered and protected by his parents. I would say to those parents with blind children, please give them the chance to be themselves instead of doing
for the, they won't learn otherwise. I may have more but I couldn't resist not chiming in here. Take care and God Bless.

NFBtalk list

**7. I sure like Angie's parents' style of raising better than Timmy's parents. Timmy will always expect help for everything he does. I think Angie will be
resourceful and inventive when she grows up. Timmy's parents are loving,
but they give him so much help that he won't learn how things are done when
he tries to do them himself and that's lots different. I liked this story
because it's very illustrative.

Leslie Miller USA

**8. This is one of the most frankly depressing and yet true thought
provokers you've ever sent out. I found waves of deep sadness washing
over me as I read it.
Approximately fifteen percent of people who are blind become so at or
near birth. This doesn't begin to describe the amount of time and
energy spent on these people when they are adults. Sadly, most have
major concept deficiencies-- both spatial and social.

I have a one and a half year old daughter who is sighted. She runs,
looks for things to play with, explores her environment, makes eye
contact with those around her, sees facial expressions, watches lip
movements, sees birds, the sun, Etc. Her world is very visual. Take
that away and she would still be "normal" if she were exposed to the
same myriad of stimulus described above but through sound, touch, smell
and so on. It is said that between birth and the age of 2 years, about
half of the neurons in the brain slough off. That is, the brain is
setting up pathways with which to understand the world. Without
exposure to the massive amount of things in the world, the neurons don't
differentiate, don't set up pathways, don't develop. I'm not sure we
can really go back later and make that deficit up. Yes, we can try and
we do try to help adults who have major concept deficiencies learn to
travel but it's very difficult for them and it's so sad because it
didn't have to be that way.

If these children are given lots of exposure to the world they have the
capacity to organize and make sense of it. Limited exposure though,
results in great difficulty which is so unnecessary.
Professionals are sometimes heard to say that some of these concept
deficiencies in those blind from birth are the result of the blindness
itself but I don't think so. I know some blind people who have no such
deficiencies and my talks with them indicate that they were encouraged
to explore, take responsibilities just like other siblings, run, fall
down, play, Etc. Personally, I think we need to start pre-schools that
focus on 0 to 5 years of age where we truly give these kids intense
amounts of exposure. And of course, as your thought provoker points
out, the whole thing hinges on parents. We must find new and effective
ways to help parents expose their children to the things that will help
them become normal kids who just happen to be blind. It's a huge
challenge but what rewards there will be for taking it on.

Mike Bullis
Baltimore Maryland USA

**9. As I was reading I found myself being very agitated with the father. I was
irritated because what he was doing to his child number one is so
stereotypical of how most people treat those of us with visual impairments
or any other disability. the second reason that the fathers behavior
irritated me is because his son will not learn how to be independent. This
child will learn to be dependent on others, because at the most crucial
learning time of this child's life he was encouraged to be dependent. I was
very happy that the other family was encouraging their child to be
independent, but I do hope that they use some sense and do not force this
child to be to independent and/or afraid to depend on others.

Jannel Morris, BSW
YWCA Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault advocate
St. Joseph, MO. USA
**10. I had the interesting experience of growing up in both Timmy's and Angela's
situations. My grandmother, whom I lived with for several years was not as
extreme as Tim's parents. Nonetheless, I was frustrated, lacked self
confidence, and down right bored because of her unwillingness to make me a
full fledged member of the family. I actually remember being excited when
she asked me to do the dishes and very disappointed and confused when she
abruptly forbade me from washing them any more. Apparently I was not
performing the task correctly and instead of teaching me what to do she
just gave up on me.

After a few years I returned to my parents. My mother treated me no
different than she had when I was sighted. I can't say that I was excited
about doing the dishes after the first few times, but I certainly felt
needed and valued. I remember in my late teens, my mother was mowing a
patch of grass that was starting to turn into a mini wild kingdom. She
struggled with the mower which kept stalling out due to the length of the
grass. When she no longer had the strength to restart the motor for the
umpteenth time she shouted for me to come out and help. I clearly remember
being shocked, horrified really, and rather thrilled that Mom had asked me
to help with restarting the mower. That task seemed so difficult and

Eileen Levin NFB Parents List

**11. Well, as Tiny Tim in Dickens' Christmas Carol, put it: "God bless us, every one." This story doesn't really break new ground, but it does have a marginally
different dimension from many of the other Provokers. Besides the philosophical point that is being made, the two main characters exhibit some distinctive
personality features. This makes it a better story. This element was not altogether missing from earlier scenarios, but it stands out more in this one.
The device of having the girl also helping Tim at the end highlights the issue nicely, but it also casts the girl in a bit of a "rescuer" role and perpetuates
Tim's situation a little. Bad ;enough to have his parents creating his dependency.

James Nyman Lincoln, Nebraska USA

**12. Somehow that whole story makes me think of childhood and how two blind children can be brought up so differently. Timmy's mother and father while loving
were a little over protective. Angie's mother from her youngest years was teaching her daughter to be self-sufficient. My parents were a mixture of both.
My mom tried to have me be self-sufficient, while my dad was a little over protective. He as a child had been blind for eight months due to the measles.
He was born in 1905 and had the measles during his childhood. In those days there were no antibiotics and that disease could be serious. He felt sympathy
for my blindness and would sometimes do things that I could do my self. My mom was having me do laundry my own at the age of twelve. It we was a short-lived
project, because they did not have the detergent tablets Salvo for very long. They were good but did not clean all that well. I learned again when I
got older and when I was in Little Rock at what is now Lions world. I made sandwiches often as a child and helped my mom in the kitchen. My favorite
thing was baking and forming balls of chocolate chip cookie dough or peanut butter dough. I loved making cakes because in those days they did not think
it was dangerous lick the beaters or eat the left-over batter out of the bowl. I still have done that because the eggs we get are organic. The playhouse
they talked about, reminded of the playhouse we had in Bradley cottage at Perkins. They had painted it and rebuilt it and I always loved to run around
inside opening up the sliding windows and climbing the ladder which was outside onto the deck. It was spring so you could enjoy the sunshine. I will
be going for now, but I thought the interaction between the children was good. Until I write again God bless all of you readers.

Sincerely yours Karen Crowder

**13. In a native American family, the first born daughter is her mother's second pair of hands. The fact that I became totally blind at eight and a half didn't
change that role in my family. So, my mother took the extra time to teach me to perform household tasks and I was expected to help her in the home and
to care for my four younger siblings. This gave me the confidence in myself and my abilities I needed when I faced low expectations from teachers and
the general public. If everyone around you believes you are helpless, it can be hard to learn the skills you will need to be independent or perform at
a high level. I was shy as a child and small for my age, but because I was expected to do my best at any task I was set, I had a good foundation to build
on in meeting the challenges of blindness despite a somewhat timid temperament. So yes I do believe that low expectations can be self fulfilling. So can
high ones. Tim is being set up to be helpless and Angie is being provided with the positive reinforcements to be successful. The teachers are putting
it down to temperaments when it is more a case of environment. Loving your blind child means supporting them with encouragement and providing them with
the skills they will need to be successful, not overprotecting and smothering any chance for them to be independent.

DeAnna (Quietwater) Noriega USA

**14. It is very easy to become reliant on someone especially if they let you. and
it is just as easy for you to become self reliant. sometimes you begin to
feel sorry But you should try very hard not to feel sorry for yourself. It
all depends on your situation.

Doris Nebraska USA

**15. It's interesting how teaching blind children could make such a difference in how the look at things. I have to confess that my parents were more like Timmy's
and I had to fight to be as independent as I am now. I think parents today in this generation are more like Angie's parents and that's fortunate. I think
that my parents and maybe others in that generation saw my blindness as a tragedy and thought they had to do anything they could to protect me and not
make themselves look bad. And forget about using a cane when I'm around them. I hope that Timmy will have the sense to try things even though he isn't
encouraged to do it now.

Mary Jo Partyka USA

**16. In examining this thought-provoker over the past week and a half, I found two ways this can be looked at. The first is the level of independence both
Timmy and Angie are taught as blind people. The second is the gender roles that used to be taught socially.
As blind people, both Angie and Timmy are taught differing degrees of independence. IN Angie's case, she is taught a high level of independence--traveling,
feeding herself, dressing herself, etc. Thus, she's taught not to be held bound by her blindness to be independent. Timmy, on the other hand, is taught
to be dependent on everyone else to do everything for him, including someone to lead him around and tell him when there are curbs, etc. instead of being
encouraged or forced to use a cane and do things for himself. Thus, he's being taught that his blindness holds him bound from becoming independent. As
both Angie and Timmy grow older, they will come to believe what they're taught and live as they believe; Angie always believing that she can do anything
she wants to regardless of her blindness while Timmy continues to believe that he cannot do anything on his own or for himself because he's blind. Likewise,
people, such as the teacher and the para-professional in training, who meet Angie and Timmy will be taught these same ideas just from observing them; one
is very independent while the other has to be led around and have done things for him every step of the way because he's "incapable". The fact is, however,
both are equally capable of being independent if they try, but those who meet Timmy and he's the first blind person they've ever met would not know this
unless they met Angie first.

On the other level of this thought-provoker is gender roles. Timmy's parents were getting his clothes and breakfast out for him while Angie's parents
encouraged her to do everything for herself. When Angie and Timmy were playing tea time, he expected Angie to pour the tea for him and serve him the cookies.
Yes, while Angie serving Timmy exhibits the low level independence Timmy has and the high level of independence Angie has, the idea of women being servants
to the man is also demonstrated in this role-play. Because Angie was probably seeing this situation in regards to Timmy's level of independence and capabilities,
Angie may not have seen it this way.

Regardless of gender roles or Timmy's level of independence, though, Timmy should be taught and encouraged to be just as independent as Angie by his
parents, teachers, and peers. Timmy not only would be breaking the stereotype of blind people as incapable or totally dependent on everyone else for everything,
but he would learn that not everyone, including women, is going to be expected to wait on him just because he's blind or a male.

My ex-boyfriend was much like Timmy and I was much like Angie. In the beginning, I did help him with a lot of things that I knew he would be able to
do on his own if taught and given the chance to practice. Helping him only lasted a couple weeks, though, when I attempted to clean up where he was eating
only to discover a much larger mess than just a small spill the size of a quarter. That's when I showed him how to start cleaning up after himself. I
also started showing him how to use his cane more properly so that he could walk beside me when we're walking down the street instead of always using sighted
guide. With the wide difference in our levels of skills, however, our relationship didn't last anymore than six months, as I was becoming more and more
frustrated with his continuing high expectations of me to weight on him hand and foot.

Linda USA

**17. I realize that the story is a bit simplistic, but it packs quite a story! You almost might be
able to call it "over-protection or challenge".
I feel sorry for Timmy and his parents. His parents don't realize it, but they are doing just the opposite to what they intend and setting Timmy and themselves
up for failure and unhappiness. They might be creating a "monster". The child is learning that he is to permit or expect others to do for him, because
he isn't able. This could turn into "do it for me" or "I can't do it." I have an acquaintance, who's mother did just what Timmy's parents are doing.
She did everything for her son, who was blind at birth, because he
"couldn't." He wasn't expected to cut his food, serve himself, care for his room and belongings, etc. He is quite smart, but finds it easier to have others
do for him. Even though he is an adult, living away from home, in an apartment , his mother still cooks meals for him, cleans his apartment and does
his laundry, because it's easier for her to take care of such things. Besides, she does them for her husband, who is sighted. Is she happy about doing
these things? No, but she feels that it is her job. I expect that she blames herself for his disability. Perhaps doing for him makes her feel better.

On the other hand, Angie is being challenged. She is given assistance, but expected to try herself. For the short-term her parents are giving themselves
quite a bit of stress and, perhaps negative reactions from others, but they are helping Angie to become a more self-confident and capable person. I expect
that Angie will become more independent and better adjusted than Timmy. Actually, we see the beginnings of this behavior in their playing at school.

Doug Hall (Daytona Beach, FL, USA)