[nagdu] Guides at NFB training centers

Dan Weiner dcwein at dcwein.cnc.net
Sun Aug 30 17:54:04 UTC 2015

Because the NFB is the blind leadning the blind so if the NFB centers say so
then of course the bllind have spoken and it doesn't matter what the laws of
the land are--lol

Dan W.

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Lisa via nagdu
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2015 1:00 PM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Cc: Lisa
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Guides at NFB training centers

Hi everyone,

I have a question regarding the training centers.
Why does the dog have to stay in an office while the student is in class
whereas it is totally normal to have the dog with you _in_ the class
room/office at school, college or university? Wouldn't we all be very
annoyed if a college had the policy of leaving the dog in the headmaster's
office during class?
I'd just be interested in the difference that obviously exists between
learning at the center and at a mainstream school or work.

Thanks for explanations.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marianne Denning via nagdu" <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
To: "NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users" 
<nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Cc: "Marianne Denning" <marianne at denningweb.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2015 6:43 PM
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Guides at NFB training centers

> Julie, wwhere do you work?  Is the decision to let the person work
> with their dog based on each individual's progress through the
> program?
> On 8/30/15, Julie J. via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>> Raven,
>> A few thoughts...
>> First I do not believe that guide dogs and canes are diametrically 
>> opposed,
>> as you previously asserted I said.  I believe they are different, but 
>> that
>> many of the skills are similar or overlapping.  I believe that 
>> orientation
>> skills are the much, much larger part of orientation and mobility 
>> training.
>> Folks learn to use a guide dog for mobility in less than a month.  I also
>> believe that you can learn to use a cane strictly for mobility in that 
>> time.
>> However the larger orientation skills take months and months to learn and
>> master.
>> I've said before that it is preferable to learn orientation skills while
>> using a cane.  This is because it causes you to learn without confusing a
>> dog or inadvertently relying on input from the dog.  Here's an
>> example...early in O&M training here at our center, people learn the 
>> skill
>> of identifying where the door out of a room is, even if they are the only
>> person in the room.   This skill is the predecessor to more advanced 
>> skills
>> like mall travel where you need to be able to recognize when you pass a
>> certain store or leave one area of the mall for another and the like when
>> there is no distinct doorway.  Here's the thing though, if you are a dog
>> user, even if you do not cue the dog to find the door, it is going to be 
>> the
>> obvious thing and they are going to suggest it.  The person may never 
>> pick
>> up on the subtle indications of where that door is.  They don't learn 
>> that
>> base skill to be able to build on it later and perhaps later the dog 
>> doesn't
>> know which way to go in the mall because there is no obvious choice. 
>> Because
>> the person hasn't learned to recognize other clues in the environment, 
>> they
>> don't know how to direct the dog.
>> Raven, you seem to have very good O&M skills.  For you it may make little
>> difference if you went through center training with a cane or dog, but
>> having worked at a center, I can absolutely tell you that the huge 
>> majority
>> of people are not like you.  They are attending the center training 
>> because
>> they need to better their skills, all of their skills.    We do have 
>> people
>> attend our center with their guide dog.  Here they work their dog in 
>> their
>> free time, before and after classes and at the lunch break.  As the 
>> training
>> progresses, the dog is incorporated into travel class and other times. 
>> By
>> the very end of training, the person will be back to working the dog the
>> majority of the time.
>> We all know that dogs get sick,  tragic things happen and eventually the 
>> dog
>> will need to retire.  For about 99.9% of us this means using a cane when 
>> the
>> dog is unavailable.   It's unrealistic to think that someone will be able

>> to
>> work their dog 100% of the time for the person's entire lifetime.   So if
>> you don't have decent cane skills this means you are going to need a 
>> human
>> guide, put your life on hold or have two dogs at all times. Seems to me
>> having learned to use a cane would be a good base skill to have.
>> I know that all of the programs have requirements about being able to use

>> a
>> cane or show that you have good O&M skills.  But let's be brutally honest
>> with ourselves for a minute,  we all know that what passes for good O&M
>> skills varies widely from program to program.  I also cannot begin to 
>> count
>> the number of stories I have heard from people who attended a program and
>> had classmates who couldn't find their way around without significant 
>> help.
>> To me it's pretty clear that folks with guide dogs do not all have good
>> orientation skills.  Perhaps we could work with the guide dog programs to
>> help them better understand the importance of acquiring good orientation
>> training before getting a dog.
>> You made the argument that a dog is your preferred mobility tool and the
>> center programs should support that decision.  I think they do, but that
>> they also recognize that a dog is a mobility tool and that there is more 
>> to
>> independent travel than mobility.    What if a person went to a center 
>> and
>> said they use GPS, so they don't need to learn orientation skills?  that
>> would be silly and no one would think that a good idea.  GPS only goes so
>> far in getting you where you want to go.  It doesn't tell you when it's 
>> safe
>> to cross the street, when there are stairs, when there's road 
>> construction
>> or when a kid has parked his bike across the sidewalk.  If someone went 
>> to a
>> center and said they didn't need to learn to use the stovetop because 
>> they
>> were going to eat microwave dinners for the rest of their life, no one 
>> would
>> think that a good idea either.   The centers recognize that personal
>> independence through skill training includes a wide variety of skills. 
>> It
>> means moving out of your comfort zone and learning new things.  Perhaps
>> there are people who only use the microwave to cook, but the point is 
>> that
>> after center training that's a choice, not a necessity.  To me that's 
>> what
>> it's really about, having the choice to pick from a wide variety of 
>> skills
>> to find the one that best fits the particular situation I find myself in.
>> Julie
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> -- 
> Marianne Denning, TVI, MA
> Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired
> (513) 607-6053
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