Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Have you noticed that since having a visually impaired child your concept of "normal", standardization, etc. gets shaken up? I was discussing education with someone the other day and our conversation sort of concerned me. He was talking about how school was for him in his native China. He said in China, if you don't fit the standardized educational system, then you simply don't pursue certain careers. He gave an example of one of his students whose mother was worried about her daughter. He said the woman felt like her daughter hadn't met a teacher that was able to connect well with her and present the information to her in a way that she could comprehend. He said, "The teachers aren't the problem, your daughter is the problem. She needs to learn to catch up with the group."

Now, he obviously knows the child in question better than I do. But still, his insistence that she fit a socially constructed mold bothered me. Depending on our children's level of impairments, they will fit better or worse into our society's educational mold. Now I know that the ADA works tirelessly to help them accommodate, but I worry that attitudes such as the above will affect how well our children are accepted in the mainstream. My son, for example, will not learn the same way other children do. He simply can't. However, cognitively, he seems to be capable of quite a bit. Why should his visual impairment be used as an excuse to keep him from developing his mental capacity to the best extent possible? Do you see my concern?

Something that I've had to face, as I raise my child, is that while he's normal in a lot of ways, id est, he needs love, care, interaction, stimulation, etc., he's simply not normal enough in his mechanical abilities. The vast majority of humanity opperates on a visual assumption. We vary grately in the way we see the world, but see it we do. And our entire system is built around this.

Maybe you guys are thinking, "Yeah, nice that you could finally join us, Lessie." But for me, the implications of this are only now beginning to dawn on me. Part of me understands, now, why there are organizations out there that advocate so passionately for a rewriting of society so that it fits more closely with "normal" from a visually impaired perspective.

Am I making sense? My son's way of existing will always be normal to him. But to everyone else, he will be "other" in certain ways. I worry about our society's ability to accept that even though he's different, he's capable and worth the accomodations.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Brown Family

Here we are! Just thought I'd post this to give you a visual.