[blindkid] amazing blind people

Carol Castellano carol_castellano at verizon.net
Sat Jun 1 01:19:01 UTC 2013


This brings another thought up in my mind.  I always wanted my kids 
to have healthy, appropriate self-esteem, but to understand what they 
were good at and what they were just average (or below :-() at.  I 
wanted them to assess these things analytically and matter-of-factly 
and not get crazy over them.  I also very much wanted them to be 
generous of spirit and be able to praise others and feel joy and not 
jealousy when someone else achieved something.

All of this meant that Serena needed to learn to discern when someone 
was overpraising--and learn appropriate responses to it.  If she 
recognized and understood it then I figured it would not become a 
problem for her brother (and kids in her class) and he would not 
resent her for it.  We could just discuss it dispassionately, as we 
discussed many observations we made about society and its reaction to 
blindness and other things.


Carol Castellano
Parents of Blind Children-NJ
Director of Programs
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
carol_castellano at verizon.net

At 07:50 PM 5/31/2013, you wrote:
>I have been following this conversation for a couple days. It's nice 
>to hear a blind adult's insight, Thank You!
>I have been thinking, do I over praise Caiden or more so than the 
>other 3? 2 of my other children do have a difficult time with 
>Caiden's instant attention in public. But carrying a cane and 
>missing your eyes makes for an easy target.
>I do make it a point that all 4 of children are created by the same 
>God, he doesn't make mistakes, and He made you for a purpose. Some 
>of us stand out in the open and others are like presents and have to 
>be opened. All of my kids are gifted in different areas and I have 
>to remind them, each of their talents are for good and no one is 
>better than anyone else.
>Bottom line..... They are all special whether they have ADHD, 
>blindness, or "typical development". They are all loved and have a 
>purpose to share!
>I hope they never resent the talents or gifts they were given.
>Darci Hooks
>Sent from my iPhone
>On May 31, 2013, at 19:16, Arielle Silverman <arielle71 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The other problem, as I'm sure you can imagine, is how the undeserved
> > praise of a blind child can affect the blind child's siblings. In my
> > case I have an older sister who is not blind, and who is also a lot
> > more extroverted than I am. So while I disliked the undeserved
> > attention she envied it, because in addition to the stereotypical
> > jealousy a firstborn child can have toward younger siblings, I was
> > actually receiving more attention and praise than she was. Given our
> > personality differences, I think we both would have been happier had
> > we switched places. I know my sister was deeply upset by this issue
> > and I recall one particular time, when I was 8 and she was 11, her
> > complaining on and on to our mother about how unfair it was that
> > everybody just knew her as "Arielle's sister" rather than appreciating
> > her own accomplishments. I was too self-absorbed at the time to care
> > much, but now I wish I or my parents could have done something to
> > equalize the attention and praise we received from others.
> > Unfortunately my sister did not grow up with the most evolved ideas
> > about blindness because our parents did not always treat us equally,
> > and it pains me when I hear other successful blind adults say their
> > parents treated them "just the same as their sighted brother/sister"
> > and I cannot say that was true all the time in our family. It was
> > entirely true in some situations and entirely false in others. Anyway,
> > my point in all this is to think about how those comments about your
> > blind child's amazingness might affect not only them but also the rest
> > of your family, and act accordingly so resentment doesn't develop. If
> > a blind child needs extra school support from you because of a lack of
> > services in the school system, then it might be inevitable they get
> > more or a different kind of attention from you, but it's important to
> > ensure the sighted sibling(s) don't feel left out. Of course be sure
> > that their accomplishments and talents are recognized in addition to
> > those of your blind child.
> >
> > Arielle
> >
> > On 5/31/13, Brandy W., with Discovery Toys <ballstobooks at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> I definitely got a lot of this, and sadly my mom ate it up on 
> one hand, and
> >> in another way totally didn't. My mom was told to give me up for adoption
> >> because I would never walk or talk as we know the spectrum for people with
> >> LCA is huge, and she obviously didn't have the right set of doctors so I
> >> think sometimes she was praising herself because I wasn't that way at all,
> >> but at the same time my mom has pretty much been done with all 4 of her
> >> kids
> >> around 4th grade and completely detaches at this point.
> >>
> >> There was a teacher however who told my mom if she didn't let me be normal
> >> she'd have to take care of me forever, and that gave her another push. So
> >> if
> >> my friends did it so did I, and I can't thank her enough for 
> that. But if I
> >> did a project and mine didn't compare to the sighted kids she would find a
> >> way to help mine look like there's. Sewing in Girl Scouts comes to mind. I
> >> had the most difficult time as a third grader who couldn't see 
> the examples
> >> sewing, so when I struggled we did it on a larger scale and eventually I
> >> made mine as good as the rest, and earned the badge. She never let me get
> >> an
> >> award or badge or anything like that I didn't earn. I don't think she
> >> bragged more than any other mom, until I got sick with my kidneys and it
> >> was
> >> explained to her that I had prob been sick for several years and that I
> >> wasn't lazy but sick, and then she was a bit more braggy without cause in
> >> my
> >> opinion.
> >>
> >> Often she would say things like Thank you, but she is just a 
> normal kid who
> >> is blind. We didn't have the NFB as my mom wasn't into anything group
> >> oriented and still isn't, but she knew one thing and I think it 
> took me the
> >> whole way. My kid won't be pitied. She will live in society like the rest
> >> of
> >> us, and that she made happen.
> >>
> >> One thing that really helped her is in Second and Third grade my 
> elementary
> >> school higher a blind tutor for me to work on Braille and such since the
> >> TVII didn't have enough time to give me what I needed. This lady was
> >> married, had a daughter just a few years younger than me, and she loved to
> >> teach. She is an amazing writer and musician too. We are still friends
> >> today. The interesting part about this is she is a horrible house keeper
> >> and
> >> will tell you herself, but as a young kid she could read and 
> write, and was
> >> a mommy, and since I didn't know she was messy back then I saw her as the
> >> perfect blind person. She took the train and bus to my school, so I knew
> >> when I grew up I'd be able to go to work on my own. I'm still 
> close friends
> >> with her today! I think that blind mentor is a great and needed
> >> opportunity.
> >>
> >> I was also taught to except compliments, but I also was willing enough to
> >> say I did it just like Sarah or Nicky too. Which usually got my friends
> >> praised and took some of the aquardness out of it.
> >>
> >> So yes this hard, and takes some careful thought. Please don't let your
> >> kids
> >> have false thoughts. If their academics aren't college level figure out to
> >> fix that. If their art isn't truly nice don't pretend it is because if you
> >> don't know the truth you can't fix it!
> >>
> >> Bran
> >>
> >> Brandy Wojcik
> >> Discovery Toys Educational Consultant
> >> www.playtoachieve.com
> >>
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: blindkid [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Arielle
> >> Silverman
> >> Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 6:16 PM
> >> To: Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children)
> >> Subject: Re: [blindkid] amazing blind people
> >>
> >> Hi Joy and all,
> >>
> >> Joy asked about how we think parents should respond to comments 
> about their
> >> blind kids being amazing, etc. I have struggled a little with the best
> >> advice to give about this because I think it's a tricky thing and although
> >> I
> >> don't think my parents handled it adequately, I'm unsure what they should
> >> have done instead. Generally my parents encouraged me to be gracious and
> >> accepting of any compliments I received and to be kind and appreciative in
> >> all my interactions with others even if they were being patronizing toward
> >> me, grabbing me etc.
> >> I am not sure how my parents handled comments about me in my absence, but
> >> my
> >> sense is that they probably said little to correct their friends'
> >> misconceptions about me. I think this was partly because my parents were
> >> part of a tight-knit community where the parents bragged on all the kids
> >> all
> >> the time, so talk of impressive accomplishments was just natural. Also my
> >> parents really try to get along with everyone and not make waves, and I
> >> don't think they realized how impactful the negative attitudes about
> >> blindness are in our society. I grew up in an over-privileged suburb in a
> >> school system that gave my parents everything they wanted, or if they
> >> didn't
> >> get something they just bought it themselves, so they never had to do much
> >> advocating. If I got upset about being condescended to or held to low
> >> standards, they kind of just thought I was overreacting. I guess what I
> >> would have wished for most of all was for my parents to validate 
> how I felt
> >> about the sighted public even if they didn't personally understand what I
> >> was going through. I think the biggest piece of advice I would give is to
> >> make sure your kids have blind adults they can go to if they are 
> struggling
> >> with a particular person in their lives, or unsure how to respond to
> >> compliments, overhelping etc. I didn't have any blind adults I really
> >> trusted until I was in college, (lots of blind friends around my 
> age but no
> >> adult mentors) and I do think that would have helped me a lot.
> >> I know the situation Carol described, with her daughter being 
> excited about
> >> a prize she got that was undeserved, is a tricky one to deal with. I'd be
> >> curious to know how you handled it. I think finding people for 
> your kids to
> >> be around who have high standards, and don't over-praise them, should be a
> >> priority. That might also mean spending less time with folks who baby or
> >> over-praise your kids. Also, competitive activities or classes (i.e.
> >> writing
> >> classes, music classes, etc.) are good ways for kids to figure out where
> >> they stand in comparison with others in a particular subject and to learn
> >> how to improve at that subject if they so choose. Of course, 
> you'll want to
> >> be sure the teacher or coach has appropriate standards for your blind
> >> child.
> >>
> >> Arielle
> >>
> >> On 5/29/13, Joy Orton <ortonsmom at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>> Arielle, Thanks for raising a great point. I like to say, "My daughter
> >>> is amazing, but it's not because she can walk down the hall by
> >>> herself." She does happen to be a Braille Challenge winner, and THAT is
> >> super cool.
> >>>
> >>> I would love to hear from more adult blind people about how your
> >>> parents dealt with this, and how you wish your parents had dealt with
> >>> comments like, "You're so amazing, inspiring, etcetera."
> >>>
> >>> Joy
> >>> _______________________________________________
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> >>
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