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By June 19, 2009 Read More →

Another Post From Karen

Here is a reply to the comments that were left on Karens previous post and to a letter written by WV Santa

Thank you so much for sending the posts along Tom. Have been to post page but this software doesn’t agree with mine somehow I thought I should answer some of those nice posts that were sent. Thanks for acting as a go-between appreciate that a lot. Okay first my friend who wants to know just wy are sighted people afraid of the blind. Actually, I think that answer has many facets. Over the ages the blind were seen as a negative force, to be pitied as they roamed the streets with intentions of begging for their next meal. I could hope this has changed, but after this post, maybe you will see why it really has not in spite of laws. You can write all the laws you want but it won’t change people’s basic beliefs. Okay, first, in the past the blind couldn’t do much and there was no technology to help in say, the early days, before around the early part of the twentieth century. People were lucky to have a cane to get around, and families had the idea that most would need taking care of for life and often closeted anybody who was disabled in any way. People didn’t travel or go out much. Then the advent in 1929, and The Seeing Eye came along, the first guide dog school who started out in Europe helping blinded veterans and then they moved here to the U. S. This changed things for some blind folks. Recommended reading in your local library for a fabulous book “The First Lady of the Seeing Eye” This book covers the early years and how Morris Frank, our first graduate in the U. S. relentlessly fought for the right to bring his guide dog into public places. He was an insurance man, and needed his dog for his job to get around. So he spoke in front of the legislatures all over the United States about the work of the Seeing Eye. By the way, if you are ever in Morristown NJ go ask for a tour of the school. Okay, this opened doors for some blind folks and it was easier to get work if you could get to a job in the first place. Ah, but here is the rub. Do you really want to hire anybody who is blind? Sure there are discrimination laws, but our dear congress for all it is worth, never funded the bill to help employers with funding for disability equipment needed for the jobs people were to be hired for. Nobody ever says this about the ADA bill, but it is true. Great to have rights, but without funding has no teeth. Now, People are afraid for one reason and one only that I have figured out and most friends who are blind know this. You are afraid my friends because you haven’t the slightest idea how you would manage if blindness happened to you. Contrary to your beliefs, you can’t catch it from quit avoiding asking questions which most of us don’t mind and would rather educate a mostly ignorant public. If you became blind, there are more gadgets than you can possibly imagine to help you with everyday tasks, and these days all it takes is research to find out how to do a task you can’t imagine how to do by yourself without sight. Sorry if I sound harsh, but I am well planted in reality. I have to be for sanity around those who treat me strangely most of the time. Sometimes it is a relief to talk with other blind folks and know this happens to them on a regular basis. How about talking to us the way you would your best friend? That would be great for a change and treat us like your sister or brother. Okay enough lecturing…don’t mean to do that. So when I was a social worker and working with over one hundred clients there was a survey taken by some organization that came across my desk. This survey asked adults in the state which disability they feared the most. For me, it is deafness by the way or being in a wheelchair. One because I greatly depend on my hearing on the street, and two I am fairly mobile now can’t imagine what somebody in a chair puts up with so much inaccessible. But friends, on this survey, at the top of the list, was blindness. To go back to my original point, people think they couldn’t possibly manage a thing if they didn’t have vision. I used to be partially sighted, but through the years and several operations to keep me on my feet with great pain, I lost all color vision and then what was I to do about it? I did say poor me for a time, the grief of the loss mostly, but after that, I said what can I do to remedy the fact I can’t see my colors of my clothing any more? Answer; the color test, a small hand-held machine that you point to an object, and it says the color in speech for you. Yay, that problem solved, go on to another and work things out. What about the groceries? There are several ways to attack that. If you learn Braille, you can tag things with somebody telling you what everything is on the shelf, but I used to do that and prefer a much more elegant solution now. See the Omni scanner. It scans bar codes on the groceries and other items, and speaks the results aloud. So, I get the groceries, and scan before placing them organized in the kitchen. Do you see now how ridiculous some fears are? It is a matter of education.Remember, my post about walking in the dark? Education is the key. It is natural to have some fear of the unknown, but try to get past this. You will find that most disabled persons are more like you than you know. There is honestly nothing different on the inside from you…even though you may think you are superior to us, we all are the same. Hey, we are all going to the same place in the end right? It is the fear of the unknown which scares people. Many have curiosity questions and accept that, but you have to hope that at some point people get by these, and become a friend instead of just a curious onlooker. I used to have a teacher who I became quite annoyed with because she would come when I was reading my braille books and stare at me. She thought I didn’t know, but I would stop reading and just sit there. “If you’re going to stare at me, I will quit reading and there will be nothing more to stare at.” My revenge as a child. Well if any of you have any more questions about this please ask freely and get it over with and I will answer to the best of my knowledge and ability. Oh and Santa you are kind about the radio lending, but in my area seems ham clubs not active much. Different if I lived somewhere else. This is part of the reason I haven’t got my ham license. Hmm did I miss something? I would have to go back to the posts. On exercise, great if some of you are frequenting the gym. My best place is there before guide dog training as Morristown is nothing but large hills. Bye for now, and hope this answers questions. Ask away, and as long as Tom is kind enough to act as a go-between I will answer. Prep on folks…I’m doing the same.
Karen and Harpo

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