[nagdu] should the world conform to our desires was Guides at NFB training centers

Raven Tolliver ravend729 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 31 15:27:36 UTC 2015

I don’t fully understand the complexity of O&M offered at training
centers. This is because a big part of it includes a philosophical
aspect that I find faulty. Also, I don’t understand how you can
adequately teach a guide dog traveler O&M without incorporating their
guide dog. Clearly, it makes no sense to me.
If it is impossible for the training center to incorporate an
individual’s guide dog, then there is something wrong with their
teaching methods and understanding of adequate O&M training.

I don’t want people to think I have infinite disdain for training
centers, I really don’t. I think they’re great for people who have
recently lost their sight or are having trouble adapting to being
blind, which seems to be a large group of blind folks. However, For
those of us who have been blind since infancy or toddlerhood, we don’t
need half the training offered at training centers. We receive lessons
in Braille staring in preschool or kindergarten., We receive once or
twice weekly O&M lessons from ages 3-5 up into our late teens. We
learn how to cook and clean house as blind children and teenagers
because that’s all we know.
So putting people like me in such classes and starting us from square
one, rather than assessing individual skills and formulating lesson
plans accordingly, seems like a huge waste of time. I think the same
of college curriculum, and that’s so off topic, I won’t go there.

Applying eye ointment and clipping nails are not major aspects of my
job. And I did not use and would never use blindness as an excuse not
to do something.
I am not the only puppy and breeding care attendant to refuse to do
such things. There are 6 of us. In a specific situation, my boss said
a dog needed its nails clipped, while I and 2 of my coworkers were
standing there. I and another woman both said “I ain’t clippin’
nails.” The remaining coworker had no issue, so she just did it. Mr.
Bossman obviously wasn’t clipping nails either since he could have
done it himself, but did not, and stated that he was not comfortable
clipping nails.

Unlike many other people, I get to pick and choose a lot of my job
duties because I oversee volunteers, and I can also ask vet staff to
do something. A lot of the people in guide dog schools work with
volunteers, so really, if there’s certain things you don’t want to do,
you can ask somebody else to do it. It’s not playing the blind card.
Where I work, it seems that no one’s job description is so strictly
outlined and detailed as it is in other work places. Sometimes, you
help out with things that aren’t exactly your area, and the volunteers
just help out with everything. All that matters is that the dogs get
taken care of, and that the standards of protocol are followed. If I
need someone to do something for me or help me with something, it is
not an issue. Thankfully, I work in an environment that isn’t uptight.

Yes, I do choose to work my dog during that specific day of class.
It’s usually during lunchtime, so it is not a concern since the
students are in the cafeteria eating and not out walking. Even if they
were out walking, I would still use my dog.
If a supervisor said something to me about it, there would be a
conversation. But it was not my supervisor who brought it up to me,
and those people did not seem to have an issue when I pointed out that
he is my guide dog. Is that considered playing the blind card? No. If
he was some other service dog like my wheelchair assistance dog or
diabetes assistance dog, I would do the same thing.

To answer your question, no the world shouldn’t conform to our
desires. I don’t expect people to. However, if I have certain
preferences and needs, I will make those known. If I think something
is pointless, arbitrary, or faulty, I’m not just gonna roll with it. I
was not raised up to believe that I should let everyone dictate how,
when, and where I do something. I have an understanding of what is
legal, what is situationally appropriate, and what is against the
“rules” of the individual establishment. Sometimes, I act against
those factors because they don’t align with what I think is
reasonable. Sometimes, I'm completely unsure and ask someone what I
should do. And sometimes, I understand completely and do things by the
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 8/31/15, Julie J. via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>> Raven,
>> I disagree with you on all of your points, quite a lot actually.  It
>> appears
>> that you are expecting the whole wide world to conform to what you
>> want, regardless of what they are in business to do, paying you for or
>> what the rules are.  There are two key points in the law that perhaps
>> have been overlooked in this discussion.  They are the concepts of
>> fundamental alterations and reasonable accommodations.
>> The NFB centers offer a specific curriculum that includes using a long
>> white
>> cane.  that is what they have on offer.  Using a guide dog is a
>> fundamental
>> alteration of what they are offering.  You simply cannot learn what
>> they are
>> teaching if you are using a guide dog. I've heard your arguments and I
>> don't
>> think you truly understand the full complexity of orientation center
>> training.
>> You stated that you do not want to clip nails or give eye ointment,
>> even though this is a job duty you were assigned and your employer
>> offered you training.  It looks to me like you are using your
>> blindness as an excuse to
>> get out of doing work you don't like.  I've never had a job where I
>> got to pick and choose my job duties.  they were clearly stated from the
> beginning.
>> I could accept the job or not, but the duties were not negotiable.
>> Perhaps
>> I'm the only one and have had unreasonable employers.  I asked my son
>> what would happen at his place of employment if someone did this.  He
>> replied that in fact it had happened before and the person was fired.
>> A reasonable accommodation is required of the employer in order to get
>> you the tools, training or whatever you need due to your disability in
>> order to
>> be able to do the job.  Your employer offered you training and you
> refused.
>> If we want to be treated as equal in the workplace we have to act like
>> equals, including doing *all* of the work we are assigned.
>> You also stated that at the beginning of each class of new dogs and
>> students
>> the staff is asked to not walk dogs through that part of the campus.
>> You work your dog irregardless of this requirement.  Have you
>> requested this as
>> a reasonable accommodation?  I think it could be considered a
>> fundamental alteration, because it interferes with the normal flow of
> business there.
>> Reasonable accommodations doesn't mean we get whatever we want,
>> whenever we
>> want without consideration of the needs of the business.  It means
>> reasonable.  The employer isn't required to let us do whatever we want.
>> There is a long history of guide dog programs not hiring blind people.
>> In recent years this has slowly been changing.  There are now a few blind
>> people working directly with dogs at the guide dog programs.   I think
> this
>> has been a really positive change.  I'd hate to see it go back to
>> discriminating against blind people again, because experiences with
>> blind employees have given the wrong impression that blind people
>> really can't do
>> equal work for equal pay.
>> Julie

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