[bct] child sighted guide.

  • From: "jeff" <j1armstrong@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "blind cool tech mail list" <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005 19:11:25 -0600

Hello all,

My children have been guiding me since they were about 4 or 5 years old. The older they got, the blinder I got. At first, they would notice that I didn't seem to be seeing certain things. Later, they would start telling me about things before I encountered them. I have always fought myself over the luxury of having a loved one help me and getting around quickly and easily, vs the large amount of responsibility I was putting on their little shoulders. My son, who is a year and a half younger than my daughter never seemed comfortable with guiding me and neither child will guide their mother. She has never seemed to ask for help and she has always had a pretty constant amount of vision. To this day, my 19 year old daughter will still grab my hand as I'm getting out of the car and guide me by holding my hand. My son does it by me grabbing his upper arm as we learned in grade school. My daughter isn't comfortable with that. It could be that she likes the fact that it doesn't point out my blindness if she holds my hand? I have tried to pull away from the help she gives. I tell her to go on and enjoy her shopping and that I'll walk with mom or on my own with my cane, but she insists. Perhaps I taught her to be too responsible for my safety. She still calls me whenever she takes a bus to come and meet her at the bus stop to walk her home for safety sake. I don't know for sure, she obviously sees me as a protector but once we're out at a store or whatever she'll try to always do the guiding. There is a disadvantage to having your kids help you in this way, they don't seem to mention the items they don't want to look at with you. They get a bit put off when I go down a shelve in Sears or Target, checking everything with my hands. I used to be embarrassed to use my magnifying glass to read things, even though I could. Well, I've decided, I don't care what people think, I will feel things if need be, to check them out. The other night, I stopped by CompUSA to help my daughter by some memory for her new camera, I had a great sales person, he showed me all the digital recorders and players and answered all my questions with no show of impatience. It felt nice to be treated like my interests were important as anyone else's. I checked out the Ipod Nano for the first time. I also saw the video Ipod as well as several other players. Most didn't have connections for external microphones so I left them alone but there was a model which was like a flattened out Iriver which supposedly held a 2.5GB hard disk. Does anyone know what type of hard drive they use in such a small package. The notebook hard disks are too big to be what was inside the player. I'll have to investigate their web site to find what it was called. Well, anyway, I wanted to say that when one uses their child as a sighted guide, one has to worry that the child might become overprotective. I want my daughter to be comfortable moving on with her life without worrying that dear old dad needs her at home. I have learned one thing. Just start looking at computers and techy stuff at the store and even the most helpful kid will eventually get bored and walk away to look at more interesting things. So far, that's been my best solution to start breaking the ties that bind. I remember my own father going through all kinds of trouble letting go of his kids when they wanted to move out on their own. I want to make it smooth and let my kids feel sure that I am happy and safe when they aren't around. Anyway, just wanted to share that perspective. By the way, my kids are great people whom I'm very proud of. My daughter is going to school for nursing and my son is getting ready to start his automechanical schooling over in Minneapolis. Yeah, we tried to talk him out of it but he's got the car bug something fierce. Just kidding, he got it from his grandpa, my old man was a car buff and an automechanic in his spare time. He had learned repair in the Airforce. He was actually a trucker/dock worker in his working life. He was a Teamster. Anyone who ever wants to know the truth about those guys, don't ask me, I like being alive. Capiche? Don, of Don's Guns was my dad's union steward. We witnessed a lot of violence in the strikes of the 60s and 70s. Who knew that the Midwest would be of such interest to certain organizations. Enough on that subject. Well, I'm off on a tangent, correcting course, there it is. Later, Y'all
Jeff Armstrong,

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