[blindkid] Appology in order

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Sun Aug 22 00:05:43 UTC 2010


I was going to leave this one but Sally's post and your response below 
requires comment. With great respect, although I am sorry that Richard was 
offended, I disagree with you; I believe no apology is necessary.

Consider: had all of us enthusiastically embraced Richard's proposal for 
braille on a keyboard, I rather doubt he would have complained. To me, this 
implies that what miffed him was that we offered what he considered 
unsolicited advice that was contrary to his thinking. I am moved to wonder 
how we are to determine when we should speak up and when not? One of the 
great strengths of NFB is that we, the blind, have experiences which are 
valuable and relevant to other blind persons and to parents of blind 
children. Otherwise, why would parents participate on our list? Would it not 
be irresponsible of us to *not* voice what we consider to be our best 
judgment when asked a given question?

I have heard the criticism Richard cites wherein parents say they are 
intimidated or embarassed by our forthrightness. But, frankly, this same 
forthrightness is one of our great strengths. AS Sally has said, we didn't 
get where we are today by being meek and mild.

WE certainly should respect the dignity and feelingss of those with whom we 
work. But if we do not challenge people to consider points of view that 
might be uncomfortable, I submit that we are shirking our duty as blind 
persons to pass on our knowledge. The trick is to affirm people where they 
are while challenging them to expand their horizons.

No one ever said NFB philosophy was easy!


Mike Freeman, Member
Board of Directors
National Federation of the Blind

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bonnie Lucas" <lucas.bonnie at gmail.com>
To: "'NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)'" 
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, August 21, 2010 3:54 PM
Subject: [blindkid] Appology in order

> I'm afraid that I was one of those who made comments on Richard's post 
> based
> on my personal experience. Of course, I have never heard of anyone putting
> Braille on keys so I based my comments on that. I would like to be a big
> girl and say that I'm sorry for offending. I do want this list to be one
> where people can ask questions and get the answers to the questions they
> ask. I considered just writing Richard personally so as not to call
> attention to myself;  however, perhaps all of us could be willing to stick
> our necks out a bit and offer apologies when we have hurt someone's 
> feelings
> or offended them. So, Richard, I hope you will share with us the outcome 
> of
> your search and how it works for Kendra. Who knows, she might even start a
> new thing for teaching blind kids to type. Best of luck and warm regards.
> Bonnie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Holloway [mailto:rholloway at gopbc.org]
> Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 4:35 PM
> To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children)
> Subject: [blindkid] braille keyboards and such
> I recently posted a question asking if anyone knew where I could buy a
> USB QWERTY keyboard with factory-made braille key caps. One person had
> a suggestion (thanks, Laura). Several others expressed concerns over
> using braille on keyboards even as a learning tool. Okay, well I
> wasn't really asking what everyone thought of my idea, I was just
> trying to see where I could buy what I wanted, but I do appreciate
> people wanting to help.
> Here is my real concern though: Time and again on this list, I see
> people who I know are trying to help others respond so harshly that
> the person posting the question is likely to feel foolish at best or
> in the worst case more or less attacked. I have talked with enough
> other NOPBC members in-person at national conventions about this to
> learn that many parents (and I assume others) who subscribe and read
> posts here actually refrain from posting questions or comments
> specifically because they don't want to find themselves in a position
> of feeling embarrassed, attacked, or at times, even baited into an
> argument over matters intended to help our kids.
> I've got a fairly thick skin. I know what I want to do in this case
> and I was looking for the equipment to try out my idea. Interestingly,
> I have yet to discover any evidence of how blind touch typists
> actually function on a braille capped keyboard (not one with stickers,
> real key caps) to learn if there really is much of an effect on them
> once they really can touch type, though my original intent was just to
> have this as an option to try out and see if it helps her initially
> learn the key locations-- just that simple.
> This is another case where it seems really likely that a number of
> [fairly harsh] comments offered are based purely on speculation-- Yes,
> some have had bad experiences with stickers on key caps and with kids
> who are distracted by the braille. I get that, but nobody seems to
> even know where to get the keyboards I'm looking for, so how have you
> actually tried them out? And in particular, how have you tried them
> with a young child trying to learn key positions? If my child gets too
> distracted, I can plug in a different keyboard in a matter of
> seconds-- this is not a permanent  decision, it is a computer
> keyboard... Still, quite a few people seem to feel strongly that the
> actual keyboards which I think they have never seen or touched are a
> terrible idea. Curious indeed.
> As to typing tutors (which were suggested by at least a couple of
> people), yes, we've tried them. We had one she loved for a short while
> about two years ago. Now she wants nothing to do with it (or any
> similar program). I suspect that part of the issue is actually all of
> the praise from the programs. Kendra does not wish to hear she did a
> good job on much of anything and is fairly likely to say or indeed
> argue that she did NOT if told that to excess, so we try to avoid any
> large amount of praise.
> Thanks again for everyone's efforts & suggestions, but can we just try
> and react a bit more gently on this list when we are not in total
> agreement with ideas we run across in the future? If harsh comments
> run off even one parent who may have had a chance to benefit here or
> to share and help others with their own experiences, I think that
> would be a real tragedy.
> Richard
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