FROM ME: Do look over previous responses to this one and note how many people have suggested that talking with other like-minded blind people is one of the best answers to help either bolster or boost ones morel or attitudinal status.
**35. This Thought Provoker story about a blind guy's reaction to being considered a blind "role model" just because he is a competent person inspired some very
interesting replies. (Although I do wish the writers knew the difference between "excepted" and "accepted" and a few other such words that sound alike
with voice output software.) I think these "essays" would make a good addition to a discussion on handling blindness at any center for adjustment to blindness.
Lorraine Rovig Baltimore, Maryland USA
FROM ME: I too can be fooled by what I think the speech software is saying; sometimes it is a mind set, sometimes it is the ear or the true closeness of how the man-made hard and software function. Braille is definitely better for editing (oh to have an 80 cell display to edit with; a dream of mine).
**36. Reading this Thought Provoker reminds me of something very positive. Although Jack doesn't like where he is emotionally he is taking care of himself and
allowing himself to have his feelings. His friend may not want him to be in this emotional state, however, Jack is staying away from people, but allowing
his feelings to flow. Emotions can't be put away and not dealt with. You may not have to act on them, however, but unless you want them to pop out at an inopportune time, you must allow them to flow. Jack knows he can work through them much easier if he gets busy, which proves that he owns his feelings and is aware
of how to work through his emotions. One thing blindness has helped me with is identifying and accepting my emotions whatever they are. The idea that
anger is empowering sometimes surprises people, however, when I get angry about my blindness I look at ways to work through my anger by learning something
new. My anger gives me the energy to work through my fear and frustrations. When I am afraid, I think of things to help me feel safe and the fear goes
away. Even if it is seeking training from an outside source. Everyone goes through their process differently. When I learned to accept me, it allowed
me to accept others blind or not.
Sandra Jordan California USA
**37. Look a lot of us who have sight and go blind have psychological problems in our adjustment. This is a loss!!!! Being blind is not desirable. Being blind is not accepted by most of the sighted world in which we live! How can we like being blind! We will have days when it bothers us more than other days! This is normal! Hating being blind is normal! Yes, we need to learn to live with it.
Mark P. Tucker, Kentucky USA
**38. The blind need a public relation campaign to educate the sighted, or as I call us, normz, meaning not perfect either. If there were an average blind person as a regular character on a tv program, that would be a step in the right direction. I'm not at all sure what an average blind person is, but a character could express some of the problems and indignities the blind face.
We normz are ignorant, we simply do not know how to treat or to behave around blind people. Our up bringing teaches us to offer help, but we don't have a clue when or how to offer it or even if it is wanted. We see blind people as brave because we ourselves have problems coping and we have sight, so anyone else who copes as well without sight, is a hero, or so we think.
To the normz who feel a need to make comments about blind people, especially comments that are cruel or stupid, well, they are the cruel and stupid speakers, and should be thought of as that.
Minorities have made a lot of gains in television, it should be the blind's turn soon. Most Americans, and I'm sure other nations, are influenced by what they see on television, it can be a great learning tool.
I read Thought Provoker and send it to my sighted friends, and I hope they get an education like I am getting.
Bill Heaney Philadelphia USA
**39. For me, this doesn't really come down to a blindness/visually impaired thing, its
all about being a human being and recognizing that you're not perfect. Yes, you try the best you can and if you give 100% a day, that's all anyone can really ask of you. it really is O.K. to have off days, even several in a row.
What really counts for me is the ability to learn from those off days and to try to turn the failures experienced, whether emotional or physical, into successes the next time I'm confronted with them. its all about recognizing the human spirit and emotions.
Jeffrey Pledger Burtonsville, Maryland USA
**40. Though some may say Jackís problem is no more than a mere human mood thing, the point of the forum and the story is being blind! The point is Jack is wondering how he is doing with his adjustment to being blind! He must have once been a sighted person and is now blind. This I think is the majority of blind people. Most of us were once sighted. the number of us who were born blind is few. Thus, at some level of adjustment we live more comfortable. At some level of adjustment we can function and live in a normal setting of work, family, school, community and all that. Until we are ďadjustedĒ we are not able to hold it all together and be successful in our lives. This is true!!!! And I am not saying that to be not adjusted is to be nuts, but if you are not stable enough to stay with something like going to school or stay reliable in a job or in a relationship, then these activities of life will not happen for you and you will not be successful or be happy. So when JACK questions his adjustment and asks if there is something he should do, then we and he better look hard at what is going on. I see too many of us that are doing okay, but there are major problems still there and just being carried along, managed. We must recognize within ourselves or in our friends where these unsolved issues are just being tolerated and we must do something to eliminate them. ď
FROM ME: Just getting along is never good enough, right?
**41. There once was a time when I wondered how well I was adjusting to or accepting blindness. As I became older, I decided I was worrying about the wrong thing.
Now I focus on whether I am doing what I want to do with my life. When I reach the end, I don't think I'll worry much about how well adjusted I was.
More likely, I'll regret the people, experiences, and other things I never managed to fit into my life -- lost opportunities -- whether they resulted
from my approach to dealing with my blindness or from other life choices.
Jeanine Worden Arlington, VA
FROM ME: Looking at this response and comparing it to the two above it... It puts me in mind of that old fraise of, ďSomething can be either the means to an end versus that something becoming and end in itself.Ē And here that something Iím referring to is questioning oneself, your actions, what you said and how people are reacting to you. so, is the process a healthy one? Is it one of those things that has a fine-line that you must watch out for? Who can best evaluate if and when that fine-line has been crossed?
**42. I have been lurking here awhile and haven't had a chance to post. My husband is deaf/blind. Our oldest son is hard of hearing and visually impaired. Our middle son is deaf and showing some symptoms of vision problems (soon to be tested). Our daughter, the youngest, has not been affected to date. This is a hereditary condition obviously. Anyway, on the topic of adjustment. . . yes, my husband has good and bad days. I think it is part of being human. There are days when he feels down and frustrated. There are days when he feels confident in himself and quite happy. We moved to a more accessible area with public transportation, my husband got a guide dog. The other day he managed to go into the city and see a play on his own. These things he would not have been able to do if we had not moved and he had not gotten his guide dog. Doing these things have helped tremendously in terms of him adjusting to his blindness. But he still has bad days just like anyone else. Part of our frustration is that we know our two boys will go pretty much through the same thing my husband is going through now. It is my hope that my husband can be a good role model for our boys in terms of adjusting to progressive vision loss. Even I have my down moments. Anyway, this is a nice group and it is interesting to read responses from other people here.
Sue Chicago, Illinois USA
**43. I think the Jack in this story could have a serious adjustment problem. He speaks of fog of depression that he has again and again. He is also questioning it and I see that as a call for help.
Mark Key Florida USA
**44. In regards to Jack's adjustment being a human thing vs. related to blindness, Resp. 40 pointed out the possibility that Jack may have once been sighted but is now blind. They said, "Most of us were once sighted", citing the point that Jack's adjustment was more due to blindness as opposed to just a human
I want to say here that some of us blind people who had, or still have, light perception thought for some time that we were able to see like everyone else, and we based our hopes, dreams, and goals on doing things that blind people cannot obviously do. Such was the case with me. For the first eight
years of my life, I never really knew that I was blind. Because I could tell the difference between day and night, whether it was cloudy or sunny, when
the light in a room was off or on, and could see colors up close, I never thought I was blind. I always understood blindness to be not being able to see
any light. Sure, I was given a cane and was shown how to use it, and I was taught Braille when I attended the school for the blind for a few months before
I came here to the States. I just figured, though, that these things I was being shown were things some sighted people did while others didn't. When
I came here to the states to my adopted family at age eight, one of the first things I asked was how old one had to be to be able to drive. After telling
me all the criteria--having to be sixteen and obtaining a license--she told me that I would never be able to drive. Stunned and confused, I asked, "why?"
That's when she told me the truth--that, though I had light perception, my visual acuity was not enough for me to be able to see road signs, stop lights, etc; that being able to see up close was not going to cut it. Needless to say, I was crushed, as being able to drive was one of my major hopes, dreams,
and goals. Of course, that led to wondering what other things I was not going to be able to do, which, then, led to what I know now as bouts of depression.
Thank God I learned a lot over the first two years that I was hear about what other things I would still be able to do as a blind person, and continued
to learn more as more technological advances of Braille displays and speech software came out with the rise of computers. It also helped that I had other
blind role models throughout those first two years who were parents of sighted children or were childless couples who owned homes and lived independently
without sighted supervision.
So, I think that adjustment not only has to do with recently going blind, but it also has to do with your own understanding of your own condition based
on what you were told, or lack there of. Once you understand what your limitations are yet are informed of the many more things you can still do despite
some limitations, then you learn to adjust. Of course, this adjustment process is not an overnight thing or without doubts and fears, but you learn to
overcome those things that you see as barriers through self-determination and support from positive role models and peers.
**45. we all have our good days and bad days. I mean we as people, not just blind folks. There can be many reasons for the bad days, only one of which is blindness,
our reactions and that of others. Problem is that whether or not we like it, most folks, including the blind themselves tend to interpret our environment and see the world through the lens of vision or lack of it and how that variable affects our lives. Poster boy or depressed, we are seen and too often see ourselves based on vision, value
of vision and even various aspects of blindness. Its the stereotype, the fact that we are in fact a minority whose feats and failings are attributed to the characteristic rather than to our character or lack thereof. I think that it is important to realize that we are in fact a cross section diagonal slice of society, including feelings, functioning and so many other things. Our feelings are probably just as normal and normally distributed consistent with the general population given a wide variety of situations. The fact that society and we as a part of that society may tend to attribute not only everything we do but things any blind person does to all blind people that generalization of perception to all members of a minority group, not limited to the one person observed to be doing the behavior.
Past the minority status and stereotypical reaction, we can also consider the why's of our situation. I believe that most blind persons do not get or at least take the opportunity to deal positively with blindness and to develop positive attitudes or at least neutral attitudes about being blind. We are
praised often for doing the most miniscule things like pouring coffee, crossing a street. We are often discouraged from cooking, serving meals and moving chairs or often are greeted with reactions of amazement when offering to do so. We are often discouraged from working and are given access to many entitlements
contraindicative to work and self realization.
Most problematic, we are not expected to learn, and do and to be equal. Until recently we had difficulty being teachers, but welcome to be subordinate in our role as students. In rehabilitation too we are those to be serve, although we are allowed to aspire to certain positions and professions such as teachers
and counselors. But what about travel instructors? It has not been until very recently that blind persons found entry into this area of work, most of it with the sighted professional kicking and screaming as we move toward access. One of the most significant areas that may account for poor perception, self-esteem may be the soft bigotry of low expectations. It is alive and well in
education. However, it is also maintaining itself in services for the blind in rehabilitation itself. The expectations and demands in a training center for example may be minimal for the blind student. The student may be given information and even the answer for that situation without thought for how he will deal with it next time in real like. Skills are taught, but what is learned? Often skills only move one from one level of dependence to another instead
of truly moving the student from dependence to empowerment. Dealing with that person's inner feelings about blindness and getting to a place where its
okay to be blind is essential to a transformation past inequality, depression and despair. Experiencing success without having to attribute it to vision and having confidence in the alternate skills are e important. Finally knowing that it is not blindness but the attitudes that need to change is important.
If we leave these out of the mix in terms of training then we and the student lose. As we include them to provide a new mind set that its okay to be blind
and that blind folks can do stuff, the student will have that foundation to fall back on. yes I may some days feel more poorly than on others, but the immediate explanation need not be blindness...and the negative feeling can overcome more easily.
Ed Kunz Austin, Texas USA
**46. I think the answer to this one is yes. I for one have been blind all my life, at least as long as I can remember. Yet there are times when I don't feel
good about a situation. An example is employment. I have been looking for work for a very long time and nothing is surfacing. I think definitely there
are going to be those tough times in the lives of blind or visually-impaired people, whether born that way or with declining or total lack of vision later
in life. I for one am comfortable about being blind. Do I love it? Probably not and I might not wish it on other people, but I am managing okay except
Jake Joehl, Chicago USA
**47. Good for our subject. He doubts his adjustment, but is well on his way. I figure that anytime someone is willing to question himself as this person seems
to be doing, that person has already begun dealing with the situation. As he apparently already realizes, the physical aspect of adjustment is frequently
much easier to accomplish than the emotional or psychological. I'm impressed that he chose to avoid striking out at the friend who asked him a question.
Blaming or striking out at others may be used to attempt control, while avoiding a true self-examination.
I feel that this person needs a good sounding board who is willing to listen, reflect and be supportive. In addition, when he is ready, I suggest that
he become involved in a consumer group, where he can receive social support, information and an opportunity to see how others deal with vision loss. I'm
a believer in involvement, where people can experience success, using forgotten or unappreciated abilities, learn new skills and, perhaps more important,
help others. In short, true appropriate adjustment is going to take time, effort, self-examination and a willingness to take risks or to change.
Doug Hall Daytona Beach, Florida USA
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