[nagdu] Guides at NFB training centers

Raven Tolliver ravend729 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 30 04:12:22 UTC 2015

If someone needs an attitude adjustment, that person can visit a
counselor, practice meditation, participate in group therapy, etc.
The people I’ve known who have visited training centers, including
myself, attended one out of a need or desire to gain and improve
independent living skills. In those sorts of situations, it’s nice to
have people to empathize with, who you can sit down and chat with, who
understand what you’ve gone through and the struggles you face as a
blind person. But ultimately, I’ve never known anyone who went for the
sake of being patted on the back and told “It’s okay to be blind. You
should wear your disability loud and proud in the way we think you
should wear it, not in the way that makes you feel most comfortable
and accomplishes the most for you.”
Not to say that isn’t a part of some people’s purpose for attending.
I’m sure it is for some. However, that is not the case for all
clients, and just as any training is tailored according to a person’s
needs, learning speed, and learning style, I don’t see why the
training centers could not tailor their training methods and practices
for the individual.
blind pride is all good, but people should still be taught to
accomplish and complete daily life tasks using the tools that best
meet their needs if those tools are reasonably obtainable. When I was
at the Michigan training center, all the clients there were and still
are exposed to a variety of technologies and allowed to trial them to
figure out which best suits their needs. Perhaps this is not
representative of training centers in other states. If I own a guide
dog, and a dog best meets my needs while traveling, why does anyone
insist on me partaking in O&M training that does not integrate my
guide dog? I have already been a cane user, and decided that travel is
enhanced with a guide dog by my side.
As a guide dog user, I am not ashamed to be blind, and I have already
decided that a cane is an inadequate mobility aid, or at least does
not supersede what a dog can do as a mobility aid in most situations.
Even if I was ashamed of demonstrating my blindness, or ashamed of
what the white cane signifies to the sighted public, how does learning
cane technique help me as a guide dog traveler?

Guide dog travelers don’t need anyone at a training center to coach
them on using a guide dog. We’ve all spent at least 10-28 days
receiving proper training with our dogs. Why can’t an instructor
simply teach structured discovery without being a cane coach? We can
figure out how to use our dogs while the instructor provides input and
advice on basic orientation. It is still possible to acquire route
information, explore, find landmarks, and gain a sense of direction
and location using tactile and sound clues from the environment. It
just might not be the same tactile clues a cane user would use, and it
would definitely rely on different methods than that of a cane user’s.

We don’t need to create a training center specifically for guide dog
users. The assertion that such action should be taken is
discriminatory. Really! These centers are for cane users and that one
is for guide dog users. We don’t accommodate your kind here, so you
can go over there with the rest of your kind. Sounds like a million
other prejudiced, intolerant, insensitive, discriminatory, devaluing
battles that have been fought throughout history. Seems like there are
still some kinks in the NFB philosophy.

People have complained about prejudices and discrimination ever since
the creation of woman and man. So we talk about it because discussion
brings about change. This is a straight, wealthy, white, able-bodied,
right-handed man’s world. The fewer of those demographics you fit in
to, the more discrimination you face, and the more you are put down by
society, no matter whether you use a cane or a dog. Why is there a
need to promote and encourage further discrimination?

Interesting that discrimination is the thing we fight, but even within
minorities, there is this, I’m a better insert demographic here
because of x reason. I’m a better black person because I wear my hair
in French braids rather than wearing it straight like a white girl.
I’m a better woman than you because I can walk up to the checkout
counter with nothing but a box of tampons and don’t need to hide it
with other groceries or go to the self checkout. I’m a better man than
you because I have a hairy chest and hairy arms. I’m a better blind
person than you because I walk around with a cane, the originale
mobility aid, instead of a dog.
While we’re focusing on discrimination, let’s work on the instances
that occur within our own community.
Founder of 1AM Editing & Research

You are valuable because of your potential, not because of what you
have or what you do.

Naturally-reared guide dogs

>> On Aug 29, 2015, at 10:32 PM, David Andrews via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
>> wrote:
>> Raymond:
>> What I am about to say probably won't go over well here.  Nevertheless, I
>> hope people will think about what I say.
>> Our three training centers and some others, teach skills of blindness,
>> like travel, Braille and Technology, but they also teach us how to accept
>> our blindness, how to prosper in a sighted world and other
>> attitude-related factors.  I think it was Jim Omvig who said they are
>> "attitude factories."  From my time at the New Mexico Commission for the
>> Blind, and working near BLIND Inc., for over 20 years, I would say this is
>> true.
>> Part of how they do this is through travel with a cane.  People are moved
>> to using a cane, having it at all times, accepting it, being proud of it
>> etc.  For most people this is where the rubber meets the road in terms of
>> adjustment to blindness.
>> Our Centers are simply not just teaching skills and the cane is an
>> integral part of the process.
>> Now, could it also be done with a dog guide.  I don't know -- I am not a
>> dog user, so wouldn't presume to say. I would think it might be harder
>> because you are using the dog to make some decisions that a cane user
>> makes.  Also, the public has different attitudes about dogs and canes, so
>> don't know what a difference this would make.
>> Anyway, our current centers do what they do in part through the cane.  Let
>> them do what they do well.
>> It seems to me that the service animal crowd should come together and
>> design a training center that does good things using a dog.
>> People have complained about our Centers and dogs for as long as we have
>> had centers, and these lists.  Do something about it!
>> Dave
>> At 07:40 PM 8/29/2015, you wrote:
>>> This is ridiculous. Teaching me how to travel better encompasses
>>> teaching me to use orientation skills in conjunction with a guide dog
>>> since that is my mobility aid of choice. Better cane technique or cane
>>> usage for mobility does not help me as a guide dog traveler. As guide
>>> dog travelers, we are required to assess our environment through our
>>> feet, hands, sound shadows, and cuing our dogs to locate certain
>>> landmarks. I don't see how cane travel translates.
>>> Cane travel and guide dog travel are diametrically different, as Julie
>>> J described in a previous post relating to Tom trying for a guide dog.
>>> If the training centers don't have these differences in mind and
>>> cannot adapt lessons accordingly, I think this is incredibly devaluing
>>> and inconsiderate of handlers relationships and use of their guide
>>> dogs.
>>> After I got a guide dog, I received mobility training from an O&M
>>> instructor around the city that I lived in. How useful would that
>>> training have been to me if she had said, "Even though you've got your
>>> dog, I'm gonna show you how to navigate the city using your cane."
>>> What kind of sense does that make? The cane does things the dog
>>> doesn't, and vice versa. I have to use certain techniques with my dog
>>> that I never had to with a cane, and vice versa.
>>> I'm not saying the training you'll receive will be useless, but part
>>> of it will be a waste, considering there are important aspects of
>>> guide dog travel you could concentrate on instead.
>>> I understand that training centers teach much more than O&M. But I've
>>> stayed at the training center here in Michigan, and the O&M
>>> instructors there are perfectly fine with clients using their guide
>>> dogs. In fact, my instructor at the training center recommended that I
>>> apply to get a guide dog, a long while before I even considered it as
>>> an option.
>>> --
>>> Raven
>>> Founder of 1AM Editing & Research
>>> www.1am-editing.com
>>> You are valuable because of your potential, not because of what you
>>> have or what you do.
>>> Naturally-reared guide dogs
>>> https://groups.google.com/d/forum/nrguidedogs
>>> On 8/29/15, Michael Hingson via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>>> > Hi,
>>> >
>>> > I have not been to a center as a student, but I serve on one of the
>>> > center
>>> > boards and have talked to many people who have participated in the
>>> > programs.
>>> > My understanding is that centers will assist by permitting you to
>>> > leave
>>> > your
>>> > dog in an office, possibly with staff, so the dog will not be alone.
>>> > Remember that the reason, in part, for going to the centers is to
>>> > learn
>>> > better travel techniques which means developing better cane skills as
>>> > that
>>> > is what the centers teach. You WILL find this invaluable after your
>>> > time at
>>> > the center.
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > Best Regards,
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > Michael Hingson
>>> >
>>> > -----Original Message-----
>>> > From: nagdu [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Ashley
>>> > Coleman
>>> > via nagdu
>>> > Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2015 5:11 PM
>>> > To: NAGDU Mailing List, the National Association of Guide Dog Users
>>> > <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
>>> > Cc: Ashley Coleman <amc05111 at gmail.com>
>>> > Subject: Re: [nagdu] Guides at NFB training centers
>>> >
>>> > Hi, I know that these centers do a great job in regards to teaching.
>>> > Please
>>> > make sure that your dog get as much exercise as normal. Also, live a
>>> > radio
>>> > or TV on so that your dog has something calming to listen to. Check
>>> > with
>>> > your trainers to find out when they would like you to use a cane.
>>> > Honestly,
>>> > I would rather work with my dog than a cane. I would have a difficult
>>> > time
>>> > leaving Landon behind in my room all day. JMO.
>>> >
>>> > Ashley Coleman,
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >> On Aug 29, 2015, at 19:07, Aleeha Dudley via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
>>> > wrote:
>>> >>
>>> >> Hello all,
>>> >> I will be attending the Louisiana center for the blind in September.
>>> >> I
>>> > know what their policy on dogs is, but I would like to hear from those
>>> > who
>>> > have attended centers with your dogs. How was it? What can I do to
>>> > reduce
>>> > the stress on my dog from being left all day?
>>> >> Thanks.
>>> >> Aleeha
>>> >>
>>> >> Sent from my iPhone
>>        David Andrews and long white cane Harry.
>> E-Mail:  dandrews at visi.com or david.andrews at nfbnet.org

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