[AI] independence and mobility

Jean Parker radioforever at gmail.com
Mon Sep 27 11:55:45 EDT 2010


Geetha and All:

The variations on this are endless.  I often think of Europe as being 
somewhere in between India and America on the assistance issue.  There are 
many European countries who provide a continuum of assistance to blind and 
disabled people, and many that do not.  It would be interesting to know if 
there are studies about employer or public perception of disability in 
countries where this is sometimes provided versus those countries where 
nothing is provided.

For many blind people in America they don't want or require assistance on a 
daily basis.  The problem comes when they want to attend a large event or 
travel some place posing some kind of practical mobility difficulty, or 
requiring reading assistance or some other support.  The problem is there is 
no option for them to have an assistant.  They don't get to choose.  And for 
some this very fact has resulted in them having fewer opportunities because 
whatever the assistance was that they needed was simply not available.

I see this as very different from a person who relies on other people to do 
everything for them even when they can do it themselves.  Or, the person who 
has always had so many servants and assistants throughout life they have 
never had to learn how to do anything for themselves.

Jean

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Geetha Shamanna" <geetha at millernorbert.de>
To: "Jean Parker" <radioforever at gmail.com>; <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 7:18 PM
Subject: Re: [AI] independence and mobility


> 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?
>
> Geetha
> ----- 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.
>
> Jean
>
> ----- 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
>> of
>> India wants to go out, atleast 50 escorts should be there.  That means PM
>> of
>> India is more dependent than a blind person.  He added that being
>> effective
>> is more important than being independent.
>>
>> Ffull marks to your opinion.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Vamshi G
>> M: +91 9949349497
>> R: +91 877 2243861
>> Skype: gvamshi81
>>
>> www.retinaindia.org
>> 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
>>
>> All:
>>
>> 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
>> assistance
>> 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
>> of
>> how each person defines independence and how do they implement their
>> beliefs
>> in everyday life.  It also raises the question of how we judge each
>> other's
>> 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
>> I
>> 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
>> still
>> get where I want to go and I am in control of the process.
>>
>> Jean
>>
>> Voice your thoughts in the blog to discuss the Rights of persons with
>> disability bill at:
>> http://www.accessindia.org.in/harish/blog.htm
>>
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>
>
> Voice your thoughts in the blog to discuss the Rights of persons with
> disability bill at:
> http://www.accessindia.org.in/harish/blog.htm
>
> To unsubscribe send a message to accessindia-request at accessindia.org.in 
> with
> the subject unsubscribe.
>
> To change your subscription to digest mode or make any other changes, 
> please
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