[blindkid] overseas teaching

Carol Castellano blindchildren at verizon.net
Tue Feb 8 03:14:47 UTC 2011

Ah, Rene, I am so happy you are on this list.

At 11:26 AM 2/6/2011, you wrote:
>This is classic butt-covering. What they are trying to tell you is that they
>have no idea how to meet the needs of a blind child, and they don't want to
>be made responsible for doing so. If you were truly interested in pursuing
>this job, your response would need to indicate that you are fully aware of
>the challenges, and you are willing to assume the full and complete
>responsibility for doing so yourself. Essentially, someone in your family
>would need to be willing to function as her TVI, ensuring she got
>appropriate materials, Braille, and whatever else she'd need, without asking
>them to assist in the process. They are correct that overseas schools
>legally do not have to accommodate special needs children, period (except
>for DoD schools through the military, and even they are allowed to
>re-station a child/family if they feel they cannot meet their needs).
>So, my response would be geared towards those concerns. They're coming from
>a place of ignorance of the needs of an otherwise typical blind child and
>their needs. They understand how brutal the rest of the world can be towards
>those with disabilities. They have no idea how her needs could be met in a
>different setting. So, I would outline very specifically her transition from
>China to the U.S., a brief summary of what her needs would be, and I would
>spend the bulk of my letter focused on how we, as her parents, would assume
>full responsibility for meeting those needs, and then outline a specific
>plan on how we would do so (i.e., I would be ordered her braille textbooks
>from ________ company; I would be bringing XYZ equipment with us from the
>United States and I will be translating all her printed materials to Braille
>at home as necessary; we would arrange for adequate O&M lessons throughout
>our new neighborhood so that she will have full familiarity of her
>surroundings etc. etc.). Basically, figure out what your plan of action
>would be to meet her needs, and then share that will them, down to the most
>minute details. The more it looks like you have thought this through and
>come to a careful, considered opinion, the more they will see your
>confidence and planning and realize that not only are you serious, you are
>actually prepared. Then, I would make it crystal clear that you don't expect
>them to do *anything* for your daughter that they would not do for sighted
>children. Nothing. They don't need to worry about her, or assume any
>responsibility beyond what they do for each of their "typical" families. See
>if that doesn't placate their concerns and move things forward.
>If it doesn't, what you will be doing with this is setting it up to a valid
>a legal claim of discrimination (if you were to pursue it to that point).
>Legally, they are allowed to say they are not equipped to educate a blind
>child. If you were asking them to do so, they could legally refuse you. When
>you take that responsibility away from them and remove that obligation, then
>all they are left with is that they just don't feel comfortable having a
>blind child in their organization. They don't have the legal right to say
>that--- that is the discrimination, and that is what for which you could
>pursue legal re-dress.
>Good luck! They may really want to work with you, and just not understand
>how. I will hope that is the case!
>On Sat, Feb 5, 2011 at 9:20 PM, Joy Orton <ortonsmom at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Dear friends,
> >
> > We are looking at possibilities for teaching in another country next
> > year. In contacting one group that has schools throughout the world,
> > we received this response:
> >
> > "We so appreciate that you would like to serve with us but I remember
> > that we talked last year about the issue of one of your children being
> > blind.  That must be such a challenging situation but one that you
> > indicated you have successfully dealt with in the States.
> >
> > "However, with a move overseas and placing a young child in a country
> > she is not familiar with, a language she does not understand and the
> > enormous issues of public transportation with a blind child, this
> > would be beyond traumatic for her.  This is not something that
> > directors could entertain with the many demands on their schedules as
> > this would become a very time consuming thing for the director too.
> > We just don't have the staff for special needs like this and foreign
> > countries are no friends to anyone with disabilities.  They do not
> > have special accommodations at all and often have a very negative, non
> > supportive stance on anyone who they consider, not perfect.  It's very
> > sad, but true.
> >
> > "So, I regret to say that this is not a situation we'll be able to
> > address.  I do appreciate the interest, so much.  If anything changes
> > concerning this situation, I'll be sure to contact you."
> >
> > That was the email I received this evening. Help me with how to
> > respond to this, please, friends.
> > Our 10 year old daughter is blind. She has no other disabilities and
> > no health issues. Her ethnicity is different from ours, because we
> > adopted her, at age 4, from another country. She successfully made the
> > transition to the US and learned English. Currrently she is one of the
> > top three readers in her school, and last year she was our local
> > Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year. Her mobility skills are
> > excellent and on par with sighted ten year olds.
> >
> > What do I say and do in response to this?
> > Joy
> >
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Carol Castellano
Director of Programs
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
carol_castellano at verizon.net

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