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Debunking some Myths about People

Who are Blind or Visually-Impaired  

Adapted from materials provided by the American Foundation For the Blind training workshop, Bridging the Gap: Best Practices for Instructing Adults Who Are Visually Impaired and Have Low Literacy Skills, with additions and modifications by Robby Barnes, Sylvie Kashdan and Cecilia Erin Walsh.

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Blindness does not:

*      Cause one's hearing to diminish

*      Cause one's hearing to improve

*      Give one the innate ability to identify objects tactually

*      Give one the innate ability to recognize people by their voices

*      Mean that one does not dream

*      Mean that one isn't interested in how things look

*      Mean that one doesn't care how others look

*      Mean that one does not want to have relationships with sighted people

*      Mean that one is patient all the time

*      Mean that one is good all the time

*      Mean that one knows sign language

*      Mean that one has innate musical ability

*      Mean that one is instinctively good with computers

*      Mean that one is instinctively good with one's hands

*      Mean that one is not normal

*      Mean that one knows all or most other blind people who live in the same neighborhood or city

*      Mean that one lives in "the blind world"

*      Mean that one is always ready and willing to tell any stranger everything they want to know about blindness and her or his personal medical condition

*      Mean that one has a poor sense of balance and is prone to falling easily

Blindness is an attribute... the person is who he or she is.

This article was presented as part of Session One:  The Basics:  Challenges and Possibilities for Blind and Visually Impaired Immigrants and Refugees, part of

Extending the Bridge: Helping Tutors, Teachers, and Other Service Providers and Their Organizations to Better Serve Blind and Visually-Impaired Adults Learning English as a Second Language (ESL), Focusing on Literacy Acquisition, a six-session series of information sharing and discussion.

This series was presented in May and June of 2003. It was funded primarily by a grant from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB).  In 2002, the presenters, Sylvie Kashdan, Robby Barnes and Cecilia Erin Walsh  attended a three-day training presented by the American Foundation For The Blind National Literacy Center, entitled:  Bridging the Gap:  Best Practices for Instructing Adults Who Are Visually Impaired and Have Low Literacy Skills.  Following this training we were invited to submit a proposal for sharing what we had learned.  Hence, this series, Extending the Bridge.  Other funding sources were St. James ESL Program, Kaizen Program for New English Learners with Visual Limitations, and Washington State Office of Adult Literacy.  We also received help from volunteers with research and organizational tasks.

CITATION:

Kashdan, Sylvie, Barnes, Robby & Walsh, Cecilia Erin (2003), Debunking some Myths about People Who are Blind or Visually-Impaired.  Workshop document; Seattle, U.S.A.

NOTICE:  In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.  Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  Readers are free to post, forward or reproduce this material for nonprofit research and educational uses, if it is clearly identified as the work of the Kaizen staff:  Robby Barnes and Sylvie Kashdan, and any collaborators, and if the citations noted are used.  All other rights reserved.

Kaizen Program

for New English Learners with Visual Limitations

810-A Hiawatha Place S., Seattle, WA 98144, U.S.A.

phone:  (206) 784-5619

email:  kaizen_esl@literacynet.org

web:  http://www.nwlincs.org/kaizen/