Merging of Deaf and Blind Schools, Union for Low Vision Students and More

 

Let’s talk about “et cetera” today. 

There was an article by Jamie Berke on deafness.about.com regarding the merge of Deaf and Blind schools. By Deaf and Blind schools, some states are merging schools for the Deaf sighted and the hearing Blind to save money for the state’s education budget. What do I think of this? I think it’s absurd. I don’t think both schools should be merged, rather, kept separate. If the state wanted to save money, then merge the hearing Blind school with one of the private hearing schools? Deaf schools are special in their own right. But I have one lingering question no one seems to be able to answer: Deaf schools are for the Deaf sighted; Blind schools are for the hearing Blind. Where do the Deaf-Blind fit in? Jamie asked a good question: How would a Deaf Mute using sign language talk to a Hearing Blind who doesn’t use sign language? That’d be tuff if two of these children bumped into each other and fell to the ground…. 

Sonny James asked me this a while ago and I need to pulse everyone for this, especially my Deaf Blind readers.Is it appropriate to call someone Deaf-Blind, DeafBlind, deafblind, Deafblind, deaf blind, deaf/blind or what? I have a hard time conforming to one of these – I usually say Deaf-Blind or Deaf Blind. Both in capital letters to begin with. I guess it’s because I grew up calling myself Deaf with a capital D with my background in a Deaf institution – and capitalizing B gives Blindness the sense that it is important, too. Deaf blind would give off the impression that blindness is secondary to being deaf. The more blind I become, the more I want them to be equal. What do you think? 

I am still waiting to hear from Ottawa-Carleton Transpo and the President’s Office regarding my two letters for accessibility and a meeting, respectively. La la la. 

I have a 11-minute terrific vlog I want to share with everyone. It is about my horrific experience as a injured Deaf-Blind in a hospital that tried to force Video Relay Captioning on me and ousting my two Deaf-Blind interpreters. YouTube won’t accept the vlog as it’s over 10 minutes; Xanga finds it tiresome. I want that vlog out on the cyberwaves asap. 

Do you have research skills to help me out? I want to develop a portfolio, a plan to present to Dr. Davila that is loaded with information about Gallaudet’s programs for the disabled and enrollment/graduation/employment numbers of the Deaf-Blind, physically-challenged and learning challenged? Find anything I can use, email me at tactiletheworld@gmail.com.  

I contacted a Deaf-Blind man named John whom I advocated, counseled and mentored during my year as a Director for the Higgins-Hogue SBG administration. He was deep in denial and I had hoped I shed some light on accepting the fact that he was in the end stage of Usher Syndrome and started adapting to blind life. When I returned to DC in October for the protests, I joined a large crowd in front of the SBG on the first day I arrived. It had been the second day of the HMB lockdown. A former interpreter of mine had volunteered to relay information from the speakers, and he said “Now getting up on the stairs is that Deaf-Blind guy, he’s tall as heck and using a cane…”. I was puzzled and looked around to see who he was. It was John! He was holding a tall cane and asked someone if he/she could hold his “weapon”. My eyes filled with tears and I was still in awe. When he asked someone if he could begin and reached his hand out for a response, he actually used tactile to interpret the signed response. I was utterly shocked. In May, this guy said he didn’t need a cane and took his hand away from mine if I had attempted to sign under his, encouraging him to use tactile. Now he was there, making an announcement: I am the President of the new Gallaudet Association for the Deaf-Blind.I almost shit in my pants.“The reason why I am in this protest… is to speak out for the rest of the Deaf-Blind students on campus. Our role model and mentor, Christine Roschaert, graduated and we were left to wonder: who would take after her? Who would lead us? Thanks to her legacy…”I started bawling like a baby. Ok? 

Yesterday, in my CC to him and several others on Davila’s invitation letter, he responded back and said he was the President of the
Union for Low-Vision Students.
I went: eh? Low-Vision? Don’t you mean Deaf-Blind?He went on to explain that the officers decided to change the name. I protested, telling him that 1) calling yourself low-vision is a politically correct term, but does not define the attitude you have towards building a partnership with all kinds of Deaf-Blind individuals; 2) by stating the name of the organization, the members must abide by the constitution and accept only students who have low vision and turn away fully-blind Deaf students. That is not the objective I had sought out. Deaf-Blind students vary by blindness: legal blindness, low-vision, fully blind… etc. I still have a problem with the title of the new organization. Imagine if I were a graduate student doing my studies in Braille because I am fully blind, and I want to go to meetings where there are Blind students but I cannot join this one because it’s for only low vision students. Like Asian Pacific Association, they don’t say “Chinese Association for the Deaf” or “Gallaudet Filipinos”. The APA accepts all kinds of Asian people, especially from the Pacific. Catch my drift?I tried explaining this to John but he is set in his ways and refuses to consider my arguments. Oh boy. 

Today, during my grasshopper commutes to work, no one would give up their seat for me. And you think Canadians are gracious, kind, polite? My ass. 

Throw me a bone to chew on? 

Tactile luv.

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This entry was posted in Advocacy, Articles & Published Studies, Education & Training, Organizations, Rants. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Merging of Deaf and Blind Schools, Union for Low Vision Students and More

  1. e-girl says:

    Why should anyone get up and give you a seat? Is there something wrong with your legs? You are young and healthy. Stop whining already.

  2. Is something wrong with your eyes?
    Read up on symptoms of Usher Syndrome and you will find out that people with Usher Syndrome Type I have balance problems. Even the slightest jolt of the bus will send me flying forward, which can prove to be dangerous. Read up on my letter to OC Transpo in a previous post.
    Son’t be quick to judge me.

  3. mishkazena says:

    egirl, is anyone forcing you to read her blog? Don’t come if you don’t like her comments.

    christine, great post! I can help you with the research.

  4. Kate says:

    It’s the law to give up your seat! Good grief, that poster was not thinking. About the low-vision thing – isn’t full blindness the lowest kind of low-vision? I can’t imagine that that organization would turn away fully blind students. Their name of low-vision probably feels more inclusive to those people who still have some usable vision.

  5. Its like hard of hearing, ci, having 70 db remaining as opposed to 90db all of these are under the category of deaf…. same as low vision falls under the catergory of deafblind.

  6. sir
    if u really getting sumthun outaf it
    then its good. im from india developing software and hadware for the people blind and deaf both….it will take several monthes to complete and some funds also.i dont know what is ur motive about ol u written b ut i have an perfact idea to sort out the problem faced by blind and deaf both
    please do consider our request and e-mail us at :cyber_pitcher@yahoo.com/shekhar.nik@gmail.com
    call us at:+919829514779;+919414493450
    thanking you
    shekhar bhardwaj
    CrossRoadz Solutions

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