[Ohio-talk] FW: COMs 4110- Reflection Submission

barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 30 12:24:44 UTC 2018


It makes you feel good when you see that you have reached a student. By the way, Scott was not at the Scholarship Committee meeting this weekend because he was at a function for the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association, of which he is a member. I gather that he did a great job testifying before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee two weeks ago.

Barbara
Barbara Pierce 
President Emerita
National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
Barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com
440-774-8077
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

> On Apr 27, 2018, at 1:26 PM, Smith, JW via Ohio-Talk <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> 
> It is the end of our semester here and one of my final assignments in one of my classes is to write a final reflection paper on a topic that we have covered.
> 
> I thought that I would share the reflection of one of my better students as I think that some of you will find it to be both encouraging and satisfying as we continue to impact how people see blindness and visual impairment in our society.
> 
> Read on below and enjoy as I did while grading it!
> 
> jw
> 
> Dr. jw Smith
> School of Communication Studies
> Scripps College of Communication
> Ohio University
> Schoonover Center, Rm. 401
> Athens, OH 45701
> smithj at ohio.edu<mailto:smithj at ohio.edu>
> T: 740-593-4838
> 
> If you see someone today without a smile, why don't you give them one of yours?
> 
> My Bio<http://www.ohiocommstudies.com/people/smith/>
> 
> Check out some of my music here<https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jwsmith22>
> 
> From: Rich, Danielle
> Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 9:15 PM
> To: Smith, JW <smithj at ohio.edu>
> Subject: COMs 4110- Reflection Submission
> 
> 
> Hi Dr. Smith,
> 
> Below is my reflection paper. Thank you for a wonderful semester! I truly enjoyed your class, and am extremely glad I took your course.
> 
> 
> 
> All the best,
> 
> Danielle
> 
> 
> 
> Danielle Rich
> 
> Dr. Smith
> 
> COMS 4110
> 
> 25 April 2018
> 
> Reflection Paper
> 
>            Societal perception both drives and inhibits what individuals believe they have the capacity to do. Throughout the duration of life, the opinions of others, especially on a community level, alters the actions that one chooses, or not chooses, to take. This phenomenon is particularly relevant for those with disabilities, principally within the blind community.  Society has a knack for de-normalizing those that do not align with the cultural standard. To many, those with disabilities are incomplete and helpless. Those without disabilities are quick to take pity on those that do have disabilities, without having the capacity to realize that those people are comfortable in their own skin. Within his work, "Practicing Law as a Blind Lawyer: What It Takes," Scott LaBarre outlines the misconceptions individuals hold towards what those with disabilities are able to achieve. LaBarre is a distinguished, blind lawyer, who has worked on a plethora of unique and beneficial legal cases. Throughout the following pages, LaBarre's work will be utilized to counter the stereotypes towards the blind community.
> 
>            This semester, our class studied and discussed various elements pertaining to individuals with disabilities. However, there was one predominant theme that appeared within the confines of each conversation. Those without disabilities are notorious for doubting those with disabilities. To my dismay, I, too, and guilty of this. We may attempt to overcompensate by offering to lend a helping hand when it is not needed, or by incessantly asking if they do need help. For this reason, I chose to write my reflection on LaBarre's work. Upon graduation, I am attending law school. Prior to reading LaBarre's piece, I had not considered the possibility of an individual with a disability entering the legal realm. I believe that there is a stereotype in the professional world against those that have disabilities, and that those that society deems outside the norm. Thus, when reading his work, I perceived the misconceptions that many individuals hold. LaBarre is capable of defending, arguing and winning cases, and excels within his practice. His dedication to his career and to overcoming challenges is explicated as he states, "The key element for being a successful blind lawyer is a positive attitude and confidence in yourself as a blind person. You must believe that you can be effective and competent as any sighted lawyer. The only true limits placed on you are those dictated by your ability, imagination, and willingness" (LaBarre 133). I believe that he is an amazing example not only for the blind community, but for anyone who feels as though stigmatization prevents them from achieving their aspirations.
> 
>            Similar to other course materials, the themes presented within LaBarre's work coincided with additional course material. In the film, At First Sight, the story of Virgil, is depicted. When Virgil's girlfriend, Amy, learned that he was blind, she was surprised. As Virgil was attractive, educated and employed, his blindness did not occur to her. Both Amy and his sister attempted to overcompensate and to protect him, which irked Virgil. Both LaBarre's work and Virgil's story depicted the most prominent theme within our course- the need for autonomy. Independence is vital for self-esteem and self-efficacy. Without autonomy, individuals feel seemingly helpless. Within the film, Virgil injured himself and grew infuriated when his sister kept insisting that she help him. When discussing how he may travel for work, LaBarre explains, "I will not and do not bring my legal assistant if the only purpose for doing so is being guided" (134). Similar to other adults, those with disability to do want to be treated differently based on one factor.
> 
> LaBarre's statements made his work extremely effective. He exhibited how he, working against the norm, earned his JD, and competitively practices in the field of law. From his work, and also from additional materials, my worldview of those with disabilities has dramatically shifted. When we ventured around campus blindfolded, I was initially horrified. I was flooded with concern that I would trip, and I was shaken due to the fact that I was unaware as to where I was. However, with time, I grew slightly frustrated. I did not like having to depend upon Halle, my partner, to guide me around campus. I felt as though by her leading me, I lost a degree of my freedom and independence. No amount of class discussions or readings could make me feel the way that our in-class activity did. It is sometimes difficult to learn how to act appropriately until you are on the other side. Those without disabilities believe that they are doing an individual with a disability a service by aiding them. Holding a door, providing directions, or leading them across the street are seemingly minute actions, but directly diminish the sense of their independence. Like those without disabilities, people do not want to be belittled or aided without request. This experience resonated with the content in LaBarre's essay. When on business trips, he does not want the help of a guide unless it is absolutely necessary. He has found means to compensate for his blindness, and does not allow it to deter him from providing immaculate legal defense and counsel. LaBarre preps and reads by utilizing Braille, and works as timely as an individual with vision. Throughout the duration of the semester, the central focus has been that individuals with disabilities are just as capable as those without. LaBarre not only encompasses this narrative, but proves that a disability does not define you.
> 
> The stories, narratives, and discussions have significantly altered my perspective. Oftentimes, it is easy to ignore and overlook situations that are not particularly relevant to us. As I do not have an individual with a disability in my interpersonal network, the information presented to me throughout the semester was fairly new. Studying the courtesy rules, listening to TED Talks, and reading articles as LaBarre's provided me with a heightened degree of insight I previously did not have. LaBarre's work embodied the fact that disabilities are not a defining factor, and that those with them do not have to be outside of the societal norm. On an ending note, I have truly enjoyed the presented material this semester. Throughout my tenure at Ohio University, it has been quite rare for me to learn information that I will carry with me for life. However, the knowledge I gained within this class is quite unforgettable. In my future career, I look forward to the prospect of working alongside an individual similar to LaBarre. It is my hope that one day, the cyclical pattern of stigmatization towards those with disabilities will be broken.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Danielle Rich
> 
> Ohio University '18
> 
> Chi Omega Fraternity | Career & Personal Development Director
> 
> Industrial-Organizational Psychology Research Assistant
> 
> Phi Alpha Delta | Pre-Law Fraternity
> 
> Psi Chi | International Honors Society for Psychology
> 
> Associate Justice | Ohio University Student Government
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