[AI] independence and mobility
geetha at millernorbert.de
Mon Sep 27 09:48:38 EDT 2010
Hi Jean, Rajesh and all:
I totally agree with Jean that independence does not mean not asking for and
accepting assistance whenever required, particularly in new and unfamiliar
environments. Here in London where the public transport system is excellent,
I still have to resort to asking for assistance to figure out where a
building or a bus stop is located when traveling to an unfamiliar place.
However, there is a difference between permanently depending on an assistant
for travel as against asking for assistance when traveling independently.
Here in England where the government provides support workers who can also
be used as guides, I am constantly asked by prospective employers as to
whether I can travel independently if hired. If I were to tell them that I
would use a guide instead, I am quite certain their attitude toward hiring
me would change perceptibly, although legally speaking, it is not supposed
to. I think the attitude of sighted people toward blind persons using
assistants is the same the world over; the moment they see an assistant,
they assume, whether rightly or wrongly, that the assistant does all the
work and is in control, even if that is not the case.
It is true that when a blind person chooses to travel with an assistant or
otherwise, he has his own reasons and does so for his own convenience and
not to please or displease sighted people. However, how do you explain that
to a hiring manager or to a superior who rejected Mahesh's application? How
do we spread awareness if people are convinced only by what they see and
assume all blind people are similar to the one they briefly encountered on
the street or in their office? While Mahesh's case can be highlighted, his
is certainly not an one-off incident. There must be millions of superiors
around the country who discriminate against a blind person, because they are
convinced that a blind person is not capable of doing things independently.
How do we educate such people without resorting to passing laws?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jean Parker" <radioforever at gmail.com>
To: "Vamshi G" <gvamshiai at gmail.com>; <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 1:37 PM
Subject: Re: [AI] independence and mobility
Well I'm laughing outloud at your comparison!
The best would be if we are independent and effective at the same time.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Vamshi G" <gvamshiai at gmail.com>
To: "'Jean Parker'" <radioforever at gmail.com>;
<accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 6:01 PM
Subject: RE: [AI] independence and mobility
> Hi Jean Parker,
> Very rightly said. I fully support your opinion.
> In the 2008 Access India convention, Mr. Vinod Asudani said, if a blind
> person wants to go out, one escort is enough. But if the prime minister
> India wants to go out, atleast 50 escorts should be there. That means PM
> India is more dependent than a blind person. He added that being
> is more important than being independent.
> Ffull marks to your opinion.
> Vamshi G
> M: +91 9949349497
> R: +91 877 2243861
> Skype: gvamshi81
> From darkness unto light
> -----Original Message-----
> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Jean Parker
> Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 1:25 PM
> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
> Subject: [AI] independence and mobility
> Being independent in one's mobility does not mean never utilizing the
> assistance of others. Actually, it means quite the opposite. To be
> independently mobile, one uses one's mobility skills which might include,
> cane, listening, asking for and using information about one's location,
> having back-up plans in case the first plan doesn't work, employing
> strategies to get where you want to go and, at times, requesting and
> receiving assistance from others. The thing that makes you independent is
> that you make the decisions about where you will go, when you will go, who
> else will go, what you will do when you get there, and how you will get
> there. It doesn't mean, nor has it ever meant, never asking for
> from others.
> It does mean gauging one's environment based on what you know about it and
> employing the mobility skills and available assistance that best fits the
> situation. But the key is that YOU decide, no one else decides for you.
> It might interest you to know that while blind people in the United States
> often pride themselves on using good cane technique and navigating to
> unknown locations "by themselves," this does not mean not asking for and
> receiving assistance. The environment there is much different than it is
> here. You should also know, that many blind people in the United States
> find themselves in the difficult situation of attending large events and
> having no assistance available to them at times when they really need it.
> This is both a practical issue and a cultural one. It asks the question
> how each person defines independence and how do they implement their
> in everyday life. It also raises the question of how we judge each
> mobility skills and/or preferences. This is an ongoing debate among blind
> people which will probably not be completed in any of our lifetimes.
> We can not always apply the mobility strategies used in the west here in
> India or in most other developing countries. But we can adapt much of the
> philosophy that has emerged in the west and adjust the techniques to meet
> our individual needs.
> Finally, having traveled widely in many parts of the world, the strategies
> use to get where I want to go are always flexible as to the environment,
> language, time of day, culture and a million other factors that are beyond
> the scope of this list. The strategies I use in India are often different
> than the one's I use in America or Europe but the end result is that I
> get where I want to go and I am in control of the process.
> Voice your thoughts in the blog to discuss the Rights of persons with
> disability bill at:
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