[Ohio-talk] Comparing Blindness to Severe Disabilities

COLLEEN ROTH n8tnv at att.net
Fri Dec 27 17:03:12 UTC 2013

 Hi Kaiti,
I am sure that Disabilities and their consequences depend on the people who have the experience.
We have a lady in our Church who got the Flesh-eating Bacteria in Florida a couple of years ago.
She was about sixty then. She was a Cosmotologist.
She went for Rehab and now has Prosthetic Limbs. Her hands have been replaced with Artificial ones.
She can do some things that she did before but has to have help with a lot of things.
She is the most Positive person I know.
You would never know by talking to her that she faced a significant challenge.
She walks very well with her Prosthetic legs and is an active particilant in Choir and other things at the Church.
If she experienced any despair it was short-lived.
I still think loss of limbs is more significant than blindness because there are so many things you need others to help you accomplish.
At least with blindness we can do most Personal Care oursvs. We might not want to cut our own hair but many people go to a barber and beautician.
Having cared for Children and adults with other disabilities I think you have to look at what the person can do and how much help they need.
Davonna was one of the happiest people I know. She lit up a room. She could not talk or sign but we knew what she wanted or needed most  of the time. She could not do any of her personal care and needed a G-Tube inserted when she was 8. She had some proneblems with all four limbs and she needed a wheelchair.
She also had seizures and CP. That's
only part of the list. Personally I would never have considered it a burden to have her in my life.
Going along with Kaiti's theme there are people who had more severe Disabilities than Davonna.
Some people can't move at all and do not interact in any way with those around them.
Apples and oranges are definitely different but they are both fruit.
God Bless!

Molleen Roth

----- Original Message -----
From: Kaiti Shelton <kaiti.shelton at gmail.com>
To: "'Ationfb of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List'" <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org>
Date: Thursday, December 26, 2013 12:53 am
Subject: Re: [Ohio-talk] Comparing Blindness to Severe Disabilities

> Hi all, 
> This is a very interesting discussion, and one I have debated myself for
> several years.  I have memories of thinking my blindness is nothing in
> comparison to what some people with disabilities face.  I still remember a
> Special Olympics swim meet where my mom ran into the mother of one of her
> high school boyfriends, and finding out that I had competed against her
> other son in a race.  I was ten with a lack of eyesight being my only
> disability, he was in his late twenties with severe Down Syndrome.  A
> trainer had to walk along the side of the pool to remind him to keep going.
> I didn't think it was fair to have the gold medal that I had received when I
> was swimming against people like that, those without all their limbs, etc.  
> On the other hand, I know that people with these other disabilities think
> that blindness is scary and far worse a thing to deal with than their
> disability.  I have spent the past year learning bits and pieces of deaf
> culture and basic sign language.  I know enough to hold conversations with a
> deaf person because I performed in a sign singing choir at school, but I
> always wondered what would happen if I randomly came into contact with a
> deaf person.  How would I work around the communication barriers?  How could
> I let them know I couldn't see what they were signing?  Would we have to
> revert to the painstaking hand spelling stuff?  Then a few months ago a
> member of music therapy club brought in her dad, who is deaf, to speak at a
> club meeting on deaf culture.  He taught a lot of signs to the group that I
> did not learn the year before, and he was moving so fast.  Everyone else was
> picking it up so quickly, and although people around me positioned my hands
> when they could I still missed a lot.  I decided that I needed to learn how
> to work around the communication barrier, so afterwards I asked the guy how
> it would be best for me to approach a situation like this.  He taught me how
> to say, "Sorry, I can't see you," and then to say, "But I can sign a
> little."  This is because even if the person had to hand spell into my palm
> I can still use sign language to convey the message I wanted to get across
> more quickly.  Then he saw my BrailleSense and asked a lot of questions
> about it.  It was really interesting to have this conversation with someone
> who seemed so opposite from myself.  As a blind person I would be terrified
> of losing my hearing, but as a deaf person he relies on his vision so much
> that I'm sure blindness is a scary concept to him.  I was very thankful that
> he could speak well and read lips, but I wondered how reading lips was even
> possible since that is a foreign concept to me too.  
> I think it is natural to assume that we are always better off than someone
> else, and this is true for anyone with any disability.  I've been in
> situations at music enrichment sites for school where people with various
> disabilities have said all sorts of things about my blindness, ranging from
> things like, "We feel sorry for you," to questions, and to "That Braille
> thing you're using looks really cool."  
> I agree with Colleen on the notion that I don't think disabilities can
> really be compared to each other.  Now that I've reflected on it for my
> philosophy project, I think that each disability poses a unique set of
> challenges, but none have to be totally terrible.  Deaf people find joy in
> things they can see, while we find it in things we can hear and touch.
> People who cannot walk adapt to getting around and getting things done just
> as we do, but in different ways that are appropriate for their challenges.
> Those with mental disabilities are sometimes the happiest people you will
> ever meet.  But each of these group is effected by different things, so it
> is not right to categorize them into something like the chain of being which
> is basically a hierarchy and say, Deaf people don't have it as bad as blind
> people, but blind people have it better than those who are in wheelchairs."
> If we were to do that, we would have a lot of different chains, neither of
> which is really ethical to have in the first place.  
> Sorry for the rant, but I find this discussion really interesting.  I hope
> everyone had a merry Christmas.  
>   Kaiti Shelton
> University of Dayton---2016
> Music Therapy Major, Psychology Minor, Clarinet
> Ohio Association of Blind Students, President 
> Advocates for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP), Vice President
> NFB Community Service Group, Service Project Committee Chair
> Sigma Alpha Iota-Delta Sigma, Usher Coordinator
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ohio-talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Marianne
> Denning
> Sent: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 6:07 PM
> To: NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Ohio-talk] Comparing Blindness to Severe Disabilities
> This is a very interesting discussion.  First, I have been blind since birth
> so I really have nothing else to compare my life to.  I remember my first
> job out of college.  I worked at an apartment complex for people with
> physical disabilities.  Many of them could not feed themselves, dress
> themselves or communicate easily.  I felt sorry for them.  I learned later
> that they felt sorry for me.  It really opened my eyes to a lot of things.
> If anyone is going to be successful in life you must handle what life gives
> you.  I have met people who had, what looked like, an easy life and they
> were constantly complaining and feeling sorry for themselves.  I have met
> people and wondered how they went from day to day and they had a fantastic
> attitude.  I think any time someone loses an ability they once had it is a
> challenging situation so even though the loss may be different the challenge
> is similar.  I don't understand this at all, but most people fear blindness
> above anything else except cancer.  I don't get it but I don't think we can
> ignore it either.
> Okay, I am off my soap box.  It is a great topic for discussion and
> thinking.  I would especially like to get responses from people who lost
> their vision as adults.  I believe the NFB philosophy is great for putting
> blindness in perspective.
> On 12/25/13, Dawn <dlanting at bex.net> wrote:
> > Colleene  I really considered myself with a disability  but I guess I 
> > am disabled because of my blindness  I just feel so blessed  that I am me
> and
> > I can think and have a heart   there are many people worse off then I  I
> > don't ask God why me  I say  why not me  Merry Christmas  and Happy 
> > Birthday Jesus  Happy New Year  everyone
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Ohio-talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of 
> > Sent: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 3:17 PM
> > To: ohio-talk at nfbnet.org
> > Subject: [Ohio-talk] Comparing Blindness to Severe Disabilities
> >
> >  Hello Everyone,
> > When you read this please do not think that I am diminishing the 
> > adjustment to blindness that many people on this list have 
> > experienced. I hope that what I am going to say will put things into
> perspective.
> > On the news Monday night Channel 13 had some coverage of some students 
> > from the University of Toledo Engineering Department's Project inhelp 
> > someone with a Disability.
> > Asparently they invented something to help a nun who has lost all of 
> > her limbs.
> > The person from the Ability Center who commented about this Invention 
> > said it just proves that people with Disabilities can succeed in 
> > overcoming such major challenges. The person who mace this comment is 
> > blind. While I know that there are many adjustments for those who 
> > become blind I do not think you can compare these adjustments to those 
> > experienced by someone who has lost the use of her arms and legs.
> > This just reinforces the stereotype the public have about blindness. 
> > It says to the general public that blind people are as disabled as 
> > someone who has lost the use of all four limbs.
> > It would have been helpful if the Ability Center had used someone with 
> > significant disabilities as the spokesman for this story.
> > I am making these comments after Dawn shared information with me about 
> > this story.
> > I did not see the story myself but I just want to encourge people to 
> > think about our attitudes when we make comparisons.
> > We all have differing views on which disability would be the hardest 
> > to adjust to and deal with in our lives. I am sure a deaf person would 
> > say that it would be harder to be blind. I am sure that a blind person 
> > would say it would be harder to be deaf.
> > I think that some people who use a wheelchair would think it would be 
> > easier to be blind or deaf. The comparison between being blind and 
> > having no use of your limbs is like comparing apples to oranges.
> > Colleen Roth
> >
> >
> >
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> >
>> Marianne Denning, TVI, MA
> Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired
> (513) 607-6053
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