“Hi Mister Wilson! I’m back!” said the Eleven year old blind boy walking speedily along the sidewalk toward his elderly neighbor who waited for him at the gate to his front yard. A staccato metallic “TAP, TAP, TAP,” punctuated each step of the toe-haired youngster’s progress as he walked and arched his long white cane.
“Well, Dennis...You are back. Oh, it is good to se you, ah-er, Dennis. Mrs. Wilson and I have been worried about you. With your loss, ah....Well...er.”
“That’s alright, Mr. Wilson! You can just call me blind! That’s what I am now!” said the boy in his typical almost too cheerful voice. “There is so much I need to teach you and Mrs. Wilson about it.”
“Well okay, blind. Ah, how was that school you went to?”
“Oh, you mean the kids program at the Rehab center for the blind I was attending for the past three months? are you wondering how I’m doing, Mr. Wilson?” Dennis said as he rapidly neared where his elderly neighbor stood.
“Well yes, Dennis. How are you doing? Ah-er...Do you think you need to slow down there?” Said Mr. Wilson, concern registering in his tone and face as the boy neared with out any slowing of his pace. The older man started to move his feet like he was getting ready to dodge, but didn’t know which way to go.
“Well Mr. Wilson, I can get around and do about any thing that I need to do! Just like before! Like right now, I’m coming over to visit you and Mrs. Wilson!”
“Well...you might want to take it easier now. Considering...er” Mr. Wilson tried to step aside, out of the path of the speeding boy and the left to right arching of a metal cane tip that looked to him that it could bruise the ankle.
“OOPS! Mr. Wilson!” Said Dennis, he knew he had just tripped Mr. Wilson by putting his cane between his elderly neighbors legs.
“OH OUCH.” said the older man. “Now look what has happened? I stumbled back and bumped the gate and it closed and pinched my finger!”
“Gee Mr. Wilson! That hurts, doesn’t it! I remember when my mother closed the car door on my fingers. Gee Mr. Wilson, when I was five I learned not to put my hand in any place like that! Well....Now that I’m home and with you having an injured hand, I’ll have to come over every day for a month to help you and Mrs. Wilson!”
”Oh well, er....Dennis. Its not that bad. I ah-er, we can manage.”
“Gee Mr. Wilson, aren’t you happy to see me back?”
“Yes Dennis...” said Mr. Wilson in a not too convincing voice, “...Ah-er, I’m truly happy to see you back.”
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James S. Nyman Lincoln, NE USA
**2. This is a story that illustrates several important concepts of adjustment. I first see that Dennis is lucky to have gone blind in a state where there seem to be good rehabilitation services in the sense of having a coherent set of skill training for the young. Having a center based set of services was also a major plus and worth mentioning. It appears that his family and the professionals in the blindness 1field plan to have Dennis stay in his home and go to his neighborhood school and remain as a part of his sighted peers. This is very significant for his eventual integration and acceptance into the mainstream of adult life.
Second, with Dennis’s adjustment, his family would also have to under go an adjustment to his changing status. Sometimes families get with the program and become a good reinforcer to the positive and sometimes they do not understand how changes must happen and they can become a negative and slow and even stop a positive adjustment. but with seeing Dennis out by himself, I’m thinking that in this story it is for us to believe the family is supportive and right minded in the sense of letting their son work on his independence.
Third, the neighbors and Dennis’s friends will need to go through an adjustment. They too need to learn what is possible and most times they will not get help to learn what is possible because they do not have a counselor or a teacher working with them. So they will mostly get their help from the newly blinded person. So when Dennis tells Mr. Wilson that he has much to teach him about what he has learned, this is one major message that this story has to tell.
Charles Bedford USA
**3. It is so great to see how a youngster can adjust to blindness! What a great story! Now that old grumpy Mr. Wilson will have to get use to having his menacing, darling little neighbor home and back to being himself! I'd like to see a second and third episode to see what cute pranks Dennis will play on his older friend! I bet blindness won't change this little boy and I bet with his vision loss he'll have a additional perspective to draw on for his comments and actions toward his elderly neighbor. How about the next new character being from the molde of "Leave It To Beaver." Or, how about RinTinTin becoming a dog gide?
Mary Jo USA
**4. Am I the only one who found this months thought provoker kind of sad? In the end, the neighbor still wasn’t all that thrilled to see Dennis and he didn’t appear to have come to an understanding about the boys blindness. It was just kind of a ...sad little story.
Okay--time for me to get a life!
**5. It appears to me that Dennis needs to work on his listening skills. Or maybe use a shorter cane to judge his distance from someone in front of him. Since Mr. Wilson was speaking, Dennis could have avoided getting his cane stuck between Mr. Wilson's legs, and not smash Mr. Wilson's finger. Denis is depicted as walking speedily. Perhaps he needs to slow his pace when he hears someone ahead of him. I have encountered some blind folks who don't seem to care who is around, and they go barreling through tripping or hurting people with a cane.
Olivia Chavez AERnet
**6. This kid just needs more practice using that cane. It is obvious that he is new and has only been using the cane for a few months. I’m wondering if the center he attended has him using a chest high length cane or a “long” cane, like up to is nose? The longer the cane the more reaction time you get. I was given a long cane to learn on and I wondered at first if it would get in other peoples way, but I learned that its direction and use is up to me and the length is very important. I have tried a shorter one and I found it to be a problem. But my main point for this comment is like I said in the first sentence. Dennis just needs more time and he’ll be able to hear all the stuff around him and judge his distance. Keep going Dennis!
Peter Moral USA
**7. What an interesting story. You get the idea that the boy is newly blind and has gone through some good mobility training at a rehab C. The older couple are as many older persons very uneasy to talk with him about his blindness. They think that it is not just a simple handicap but almost an illness, where one has to "take it easy" what a terrible loss. Loss of vision at a young age while a loss to anyone is something that most kids who have positive role-models and good mobility and Braille skills they get a positive idea about being blind. The older couple are fascinated yet somewhat timid about approaching the boy that they have always known. He is somewhat different now that he cannot see they think. they must be careful that they don't say the BE word. Like so many older people and younger ones to blind is a nasty word not to be said under any conditions. You can say that you are visually impaired handicapped disabled but don't say blind or crippled, it is politically incorrect in today's super-cautious world. The boy has a good attitude and that will carry him far and he is not much aware of his neighbor's odd behavior. he will teach them and blindness and the word blind will cease to be something awkward that they fear and cannot say. May that be aid of many people as we hopefully are good role-models for blind people.
Signed by Karen Crowder USA
**8. Sighted people do not want to see blind people as resources who can help them but as people who need help. I am 50 years old now and people still see me as someone who will always need help even though I have a good and well-paying job, two sighted children, a Master's degree, run an NFB Chapter, sing in my church choir and made the honor roll all through school. Even though blind people achieve, it is frustrating to realize that sighted people see the blindness first and then the achievement.
Mary Jo Partyka
**9. It is true, some one must help the people around Dennis to make their own ajustment. The Kid has teachers and even his family are undobtally seeing a counselor. So who is there to help the neighbors? The truth is, we the blind usually have to deal with all others! If we do not, if we do not reach out and educate those around us, they will not have an easy time accepting us. This is just the way of the world. this is not easy, but it can be done. It is also true that not all people around us will end up still liking us and this is not because of us, but because of some people's too strongly held beliefs.
Mark Peters USA
**10. This is A classic example of integration back into a blind person's neighborhood after completion of a comprehensive center based orientation and adjustment program. We have our young blind person coming backed changed, from a new-be blind person with no skill and little confidence, to a skilled and confident blind person. And as it many times is so, the blind person is the same person that was once sighted. The clash is, with the competent blind person meeting the doubting sighted person not knowing how to recognize or how to react to the changed neighbor. A blind person is a handicapped person, an individual who needs help, and some pity. And now the sighted community is faced with this enigma, this functioning blind person that is moving independently and acting happy and confident. And so there will inevitably be clashes of will and/or philosophy and of other societal mores and expectations, but with time and persistence it should straighten itself out and they all will be the better for it. This should happen to all neighborhoods.
Marcy Peterson UK