[nagdu] the body language workshop

Lisa Irving lirving1234 at cox.net
Mon Apr 11 18:57:44 UTC 2011


I don't think the presenters doing such workshops are worried about hurting 
our feelings. I think, because blindness is the second worst fear; next to 
cancer,they're struggling to face or avoid their fears. That's where Dr. 
Jernigan's writings come into play in a positive sense. Most of us as blind 
people realize we're not the ones with the hang-ups about our blindness. 
Yeah, I rant now and then when I've spent far too long looking for 
something. I've been known to even gripe to God when I'm utterly frustrated. 
Again, it's society's issue and not ours.

Lisa and Bernie
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tamara Smith-Kinney" <tamara.8024 at comcast.net>
To: "'NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users'" 
<nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2011 11:45 PM
Subject: Re: [nagdu] the body language workshop

> Lisa,
> I've heard that one a time or two myself, and I always have to shake my 
> head
> to get my brains back in order.  Huh???  /lol/
> Some people, trying to be politically correct out of genuine consideration
> combined with confusion can be amusing in their efforts not to use the 
> word
> (gasp!) blind.  I still find their efforts somehow insulting, but I can 
> tell
> they're trying and some I've known enough to see that they truly do 
> respect
> me as a person.  Just not enough, apparently, to get that I have figured 
> out
> I'm blind and see the word as a descriptor not an insult.  I don't think 
> it
> makes me less, just different.  It's a PITA, but many things are.  You 
> just
> deal, right? To me, the assumption that I can neither grasp nor deal with
> such an obvious truth as my own blindness comes off as an insult.  But 
> since
> I know their intent....
> Oddly, the couple (I don't think I'm up to a few yet) of people who have
> popped up with "hard of seeing" seem to be more, I dunno, negative in 
> their
> attitude toward me as an individual because of the state of my retinas...
> Or is that retinae?  They don't know me, they just see the dog or the 
> cane,
> and they beat around the bush about my dire condition because I'm inferior
> somehow mentally and morally or whatever....  So it's infuriating!  I 
> don't
> know that it's the phrase itself; just the people who have used it to 
> refer
> to me who make it downright offensive.
> So I pull out the vocabulary and encyclopedia speak to make sure they get
> the point that they are hard of thinking and hard of speaking their own
> language.  Then I smile, politely excuse myself, and move on.  I can
> generally figure they'll get the real message (you are an obnoxious moron) 
> a
> few minutes later...  Unless they're really stupid and can't grasp the 
> real
> reason why they didn't understand what I just said because they don't have
> the language or ideation to understand what I said.
> What's really funny is that DD has long used the same technique when 
> people
> push him too far.  By the time they figure out the extent to which he has
> just insulted them in return for their rudeness, he is long gone and 
> doesn't
> have to bother with them anymore.  /lol/  Apparently, moreso in his 
> younger
> days, he wasn't above just punching somebody in the nose if that seemed 
> like
> it would be more fun.  I've never had the physique to pull than one off, 
> so
> I just have to fall back on rhetoric.
> Hard of seeing!  I don't have very many deaf friends, but those I do and
> have asked seem to feel Hard of hearing is more insulting than deaf.  They
> refer to themselves as deaf or deafblind and are annoyed or even disgusted
> that people can't just deal and use the right words.  Pretty much how I 
> feel
> about the word blind.  Or some fool notions that crop up every now and 
> then
> about how it's just mean to remind someone he/she is blind because it will
> rob them of their confidence and make them feel bad.
> Puh-lease!  /grin/
> Tami Smith-Kinney
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
> Of Lisa Irving
> Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2011 6:13 PM
> To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
> Subject: Re: [nagdu] the body language workshop
> I'm still hung up on the presenter's term, "hard of seeing". What the 
> heck!
> I had a similar experience at a diversity training work shop. Go figure.
> Lisa and Bernie
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Julie J" <julielj at neb.rr.com>
> To: "NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users"
> <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 1:00 PM
> Subject: [nagdu] the body language workshop
>> Heya all!
>> I just got back from that body language workshop I talked about a few
>> weeks ago.  I did learn some new things, but mostly it was common sense
>> things...eye contact is good, staring is considered intimidating and lack
>> of eye contact is interpreted as hiding something.  There was lots more
>> stuff like that.  She did a pretty good job of addressing physical issues
>> that could contribute to a difference in body language, a deaf/hard of
>> hearing person not responding to a question or a visually impaired person
>> not responding to a waved greeting.  Although it was extremely annoying
>> that she used the term "hard of seeing".
>> She talked a lot about open and closed postures.  They are pretty much
>> exactly what you'd think.  closed is head down, eyes averted, arms and/or
>> legs crossed, hands in pockets and the body turned away.  All of these
>> indicate a closed affect.  She never really did get clear about what
>> exactly this means.  To the best of my understanding it can be different
>> depending on the person and the situation.  Closed body language can
>> indicate nervousness, lack of repor, lack of interest,being uncomfortable
>> or generally not wanting to participate in the conversation.
>> Open body language is just the opposite.  Generally you would face your
>> belly button toward the other person with it not covered by crossed arms.
>> Looking toward the person, palms open held out such as in a high five,
>> wave or handshake, leaning forward and head held up  are all open body
>> language.  Generally these all indicate a willingness to communicate or
>> interest in the other person.
>> To gain repor with another person she suggested mimicking their body
>> language.  they have their hands in pockets, you put your hands in
>> pockets.  They rest their chin on their hand you do the same.  This is
>> supposed to give people a feeling of sameness and familiarity.  Once this
>> repor is established you can do something using your body language and 
>> the
>> other person will mimic your action.  In this way you can steer a person
>> toward feeling more comfortable with you.
>> All that said, I want to relate what happened when I first entered the
>> classroom.  I didn't tell them in advance that I'm blind, have a guide 
>> dog
>> and I didn't request any accommodations.  I wasn't taking this workshop
>> for any particular reason other than personal interest.  and part of me
>> wanted to find out just exactly how an instructor teaching body language
>> would handle a blind person in their class.  So as I'm walking by trying
>> to navigate the maze of tables to find a seat, the instructor flies out 
>> of
>> her chair and moves toward Monty and me fast enough that Monty felt it
>> important to move me out of her way.  While she's moving toward me she's
>> rattling off question after question without even a breath in between,
>> "What's his name?Can I pet him? and then she reaches for Monty.  You guys
>> have heard enough of my stories by now to know that Monty is not fond of
>> weirdoes touching him.  Come to think of it, I'm not either, so I can
>> totally understand where he's coming from.  Monty backs away from her 
>> hand
>> as I'm telling her that he's not into strangers touching him. 
>> Fortunately
>> she had sense enough to back off and sit back down.
>> For the next three hours I was thinking about this interaction and  what 
>> I
>> could have done to prevent it in the context of body language.  I didn't
>> make eye contact with her.  I didn't even know she was there until she
>> started spouting all her questions.  I wasn't facing her.  I had
>> intentionally turned away from her and put myself in between her and
>> Monty.  I didn't smile, nod or make any other gestures that were 
>> mentioned
>> in the workshop that could have been interpreted as an invitation to come
>> accost my dog.
>> So what I am left with is that people are nutters and no amount of 
>> amazing
>> body language skills are going to keep them at bay.   Or maybe because of
>> my body language she got the hint and sat back down quickly.  Perhaps 
>> body
>> language can't prevent encounters, but it can end them more quickly.  I
>> don't know.
>> Julie
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