[nagdu] Dont give up Tom

Marianne Robbins maryfairy2880 at gmail.com
Sat Aug 29 04:43:05 UTC 2015

Hello Tom,
I want to add my voice to others here who are encouraging you not to give up on finding a school that will work with you.
What Ann wrote below pretty much captures what I want to convey to you.
People have a lot of strong opinions on this matter. What they don’t have is your own unique set of circumstances, challenges and visual limitations.
I hope you will allow yourself to move forward and seek out other schools that may be able to work with you without guilt about getting your very real needs met.
My very best wishes to you.

Message: 20
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:52:56 -0400
From: "Ann Edie" <annedie at nycap.rr.com <mailto:annedie at nycap.rr.com>>
To: "'NAGDU Mailing List,	the National Association of Guide Dog
	Users'" <nagdu at nfbnet.org <mailto:nagdu at nfbnet.org>>
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Fwd: A question Julie and Tom
Message-ID: <00fa01d0e1ec$aaaf48d0$000dda70$@nycap.rr.com <mailto:00fa01d0e1ec$aaaf48d0$000dda70$@nycap.rr.com>>
Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="us-ascii"

Tom, I would not give up on getting a guide dog to help you travel safely
with your visual impairment, if you think a guide dog could be useful to
you. Do practice getting around with your cane. The more you use it, the
more you will find yourself depending on your intact sense of touch (and
your senses of hearing, smell, etc.), rather than almost exclusively on your
very limited eyesight to get around. Describe to the schools, just as you
have described to us, exactly what you cannot see in the environment and
what you need a guide dog to help you find or avoid. Just because you can
get around familiar settings without your cane--I think even almost all
totally blind people can and regularly do get around their homes and
familiar neighborhoods without the use of cane or guide dog at least some of
the time. But if something unexpected is changed within that familiar
environment, will you notice it among all the other things that you need to
be paying attention to while traveling? Or is it likely that you will miss
things like uneven footing, an abandoned roller skate on the sidewalk,
drop-offs, and overheads, and possibly get injured? And what happens when
you're traveling in unfamiliar environments? Or in low light or very bright
light? And what happens when your sense of hearing is "blinded", such as
when you are passing loud vehicles or lawn mowers or leaf blowers or jack
hammers working on the street or sidewalks? Can you find your way to the
correct train platform through a crowded and echoing terminal without undue
stress and anxiety? Do you find that you choose not to go places because of
uncertainty or unfamiliarity with the specifics of the route or the
environment? It sounds as if you do like to get out and walk in your
neighborhood. If you like to walk on trails through wooded areas, then
overhead branches and underfoot tree roots, stones and holes could
definitely limit your enjoyment of such hikes, let alone your safety. Even
in residential neighborhoods, overhead branches and shrubs pose a safety
hazard to eyes and head if your field of vision is limited. If any of these
situations are difficult for you, then tell the schools about them
specifically. You are legally blind, and that is the criterion, along with
the ability to work with and benefit from the use of a guide dog, that the
schools use to judge the suitability of candidates. There are many schools
out there, and their application processes and criteria are different, so
you may very well find a school that is willing to work with you. If you are
willing to do part of your in-class training while wearing a blindfold, this
may convince a school that you are indeed going to let the guide dog do its
job and not override the dog's judgment with your insufficient and
inconsistent vision.

And don't let those who insist that guide dogs are for only the totally
blind make you feel guilty or selfish for wanting a guide dog for your
mobility aid. They perhaps do not understand how exhausting it is to depend
on insufficient vision, or how the mind can play visual tricks on those with
low vision, making us think we see things that are not actually there and
completely miss things that are there as big as life. Or, as in your case,
what it is like to have to try to get a complete picture of the
ever-changing environment while looking through a field that is no bigger
than that which can be viewed through a paper towel tube.

And, if all else fails, you might want to look into the possibility of
having a guide dog privately trained for you, or of training a guide dog for
yourself. Both of these routes are perfectly legal in this country and have
been successfully and happily employed by some list members.

Best wishes,

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