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insightful Parenting: beyond what the eye can see (part01)

March 14, 2012

sometimes it feels like I am a first time Mother. There are so many things that have changed…. … that is for another post. But, today I realize that I have to be careful “who” I vent to. I know that they might think that they are helpful and comforting, but honestly, it just makes things worse.
Example: Azaan has been fussy for a while. I remarked to my mother that I didn’t remember the others being as fussy. and, he got his first cold on February 20th, or there abouts. I had not marked my medicine tools, yet. I usually put a knife notch to mark each level (1.25ml, 2.5ml, etc). My daughter said: “How did you do it when we were small? Maybe you just had a lot of sighted help and you don’t remember.” My mother echoed her sentaments in a totally different conversation.
Hello! this is my family! Don’t they remember? I did not have much sighted help and had to do things on my own. Maybe it is more comforting for them to remember things as they think it might be instead of how they really were.
But, there is a bigger issue here than just my memory. Many people question the competency of blind parents. After all, sighted people use their eyes more than any other body part. I believe that the statistic says that 80% (if not more) of the information that most people receive is visually. (Ok, I have looked and I can’t find the figure to quote and link). However, there is no doubt that most people depend on their vision much more than they do any of their other senses. In fact, usually, if there is a discrepency between what their eyes tell them and what another sense might tell them, they will most usually rely on the perception of their vision. But, that is a choice. It is like saying: “in one study, people reported receiving 75% of their news from the Fox network.” It is not that another network is not available, it is just that people prefer Fox. It is the same with visual content. People prefer to use the information that they receive visually instead of utilizing their other senses to gain information or knowledge.
Did you know that •Approximately 800 million people worldwide are blind, severely visually impaired or have near vision sight loss according to estimates by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. [note: We will talk about the difference between blind and visually impaired in a latter post].
nonetheless, there is a great need for others to be knowledgeable about blindness and the way in which we “live,” as blind people. Many of us have full lives. We have similar workplace experiences: including being frustrated with our voss, feeling undervalued, participating in workplace gossip, etc. We date, get dumped, dump others, marry, have children, make mistakes, have epiphanies, etc. For this reason, some of my blog is not about blindness at all. Blindness is not the one characteristic that takes center stage in each and every experience. Yet, it does color my experiences and in some instances, shines brightly, either as an obstacle or a new lense from which to view the experience. I have decided to devote this series of posts to questions and challenges that blind parents face. The catalyst for this blog is two-fold. 1. I’d like it to be a resource and discussion place for other blind parents. Maybe newly blind parents can find techniques and support. And, more experienced blind parents can provide advice. 2. I’d like to help alter the perception that much of the sighted public has concerning blindness and parenting while blind(PWB???). Hopefully, when the public encounters a blind person, they will be more knowledgeable about their capabilities. I’ll take one question per post. Sometimes I’ll discuss other issues relating to blindness and parenting. Honestly, parenting as a blind individu al is not a new concept. When I was in school Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) [Formerly Indiana School for the Blind or ISB]

(I went to a residential blind school) it was not uncommon to have friends whose parents also attended the school. There were three blind (and by this I mean totally blind) teachers at the school. While Miss Whiteman(our fifth grade teacher) and Miss Minor(Can you guess that she was our piano teacher) were spinsters, Mr. Bob Gholson(our shop teacher — [yes he had all of his fingers]) talked candidly and often about living as a blind man in a sighted world. His stories were colorful and he certainly had some interesting (sometimes — many times R-Rated) life stories to tell. during my High School years, I often went home with a blind friend, Traesha. She was partially sighted (actually, now she can drive with glassses or bioptics), her mother was totally blind. I learned how to cook and change a baby from her mother, Alana. I learned to cook spaghetti, play cards and clean up my own messes (no matter how long it took) when I was at her house. Traesha’s father was partially sighted. He could read large print, but he could not drive. I became quite close to that family and we still talk to this day. During my very brief tenure as a secretary for our alumni association, I met one of the oldest Alums. Her name was Ruth Bloss and she had graduated from the school in the 1940’s. Not only did her and her visually impaired husband have four (I believe) children, but she told me about other girls who had to quit school early because they (much to everyone’s dismay) got pregnant.[See, people were scandalis even in the 1940’s)! An organization that I belong to,

even has a devision for blind parents. We are trying to get some resources together and some “how to” videos in place. When this happens, I’ll post them here. There is also blind how .com But, in the mean time, I am going to use this platform and this series of posts to talk about blindness and how it impacts our parenting. I welcome all questions that you might have. No question is a stupid question. Whether I have a video or not, I’ll try to be as descriptive and clear as possible. If I don’t know the answer, or need more help, I’ll call on all of my fellow blind parent friends to help me. If you are curious, please ask. I would rather you get your questions answered — and you can even ask annonymously, if you feel embarrassed.
Honestly, I thought about a podcast of disabled parents; discussing their families, which would include, but not be limited to their disabilities. But, that is a bit far off. I am smacked with the reality that I don’t know that many disabled parents. Time to network??????
Anyway, ask away! My next post in this series will tackle a question.
thanks for reading!
Peace and insight!

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