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

Danielle Cyclorama dsykora29 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 31 20:56:30 UTC 2015

There seems to be two main issues here:
1. Should NFB training centers incorporate guide dogs into O&M classes?
2. Do these centers have the right to tell students where and when they can work their dogs?
I am mainly going to address the second question. If the centers refuse to teach O&M skills as they relate to guide dogs, I can see how they would prohibit students from using their dogs during cane travel classes. That being said, they have no reason to say that students can not work their dog during any training period. Yes, students should spend time practicing their cane skills, but these students are adults who can make the decision to balance working their dogs and practicing cane travel. If the skills of the student while using a cane are obviously suffering, it would then be appropriate to suggest not working the dog more often. 

I think it is pretty unrealistic to think that leaving a dog for a near constant eight hours, five days a week for six to nine months is not going to have any consequences. Most likely it will be temporarily stressful for your dog and it will recover, but not every partnership is going to hold up under that strain. 

Of course there needs to be some common ground for all students, but people who are newly blind compared to those who have been blind to decades are going to have a large learning gap in most places. If there were a way to test a students competence in each area and adjust their training accordingly, the guide dog issue would probably not be so severe. Students who use dogs and have decent cane skills would not need to spend as much time practicing cane travel and would be able to use the argument that they have proficient cane skills to help justify their use of their dog during class. In colleges for example, students often have the opportunity to take placement tests and transfer credits from previous institutions in order to minimize the time they take repetative classes. I do not understand why training centers can not have something similar on a smaller scale.

In the end, it comes down to the fact that no one should have the right to tell me I can not even have my dog in the same room with me if it does not interfere with the skills being taught at that particular time.

Danielle and Thai
Sent from my iPhone

> On Aug 31, 2015, at 11:27 AM, Raven Tolliver via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> Julie,
> 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
> books.
> -- 
> 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 8/31/15, 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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