[Pibe-division] Fire drills and sighted guide

H. Field missheather at comcast.net
Wed Mar 2 01:30:54 UTC 2011

Hello  Carlton,
As ever, you are right on target. Here's my advice. From infancy to employment, the mantra is age-appropriate and/or peer equivalent. Simply ask the meeting attendees what the other students are expected to be capable of doing. Then, remind them that their duty is to provide services/tuition that enables the student to act age-appropriately and with peer-equivalent behaviour. 

It's also useful to ask questions such as "I'm just wanting to clarify, so that I'm understanding. Are you saying that "student" should specifically be taught to express her adolescent independence/young adult status by waiting for someone to remember her in an emergency and come and get her and lead her out of harm's way. We shouldn't be teaching her to simply use initiative, nonvisual skills and knowledge of the school layout and leave the building like everyone else? Just clarifying if that's how you believe a blind student should be taught self-reliance and independence, like she'll need at college in a year and a half?"

Also remind them of the story of Mike Hingson who, not only did not wait for someone else to "lead" him out of the burning World Trade Center, but led the sighted "blind guide" out of danger. In a real fire situation power often fails, lights go out and thick smoke obscures the view of the sighted. A young blind woman with confidence and independence may well lead her sighted friends to safety. I'm sure you could find a video interview with Mike...yes, he had a guide-dog but Mike was in charge of the dog and the situation. Perhaps showing the short video would, in itself, mostly make your point.

Hope this helps.



----- Original Message ----- 
From: Carlton Anne Cook Walker 
To: Pibe-division at nfbnet.org 
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2011 3:38 PM
Subject: [Pibe-division] Fire drills and sighted guide

ARRGH! Am I really crazy for believing that a blind high schooler (11th grade) should (1) have the right to decline sighted guide for emergency drills and (2) be taught independence skills BEFORE she graduates so that she does not NEED sighted guide??

Any advice/ideas/information I can present at Thursday's IEP meeting on behalf of this student?


Carlton Anne Cook Walker


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