Monday, July 9, 2007
Again this morning, I had to explain to the aide on my daughter’s school bus that my daughter is deaf and blind. The explanation came after that aide said in a very helpful voice of normal speaking volume “Hi Ashley, do you need help?” The aide seemed a little annoyed when Ashley did not answer her.
It’s not wholly the aide’s fault that she didn’t know about my daughter, but it sure bothers me that I have to share the same information over and over again with teachers, bus drivers, school aides, and medical facility personnel.
Ashley has been a student in the same school district for 10 years now. She has also seen the same doctors and been to the same hospitals for 10 years also. Isn’t the fact that she is deaf and blind written in her records? What is the point of maintaining all the records that school and medical offices maintain if no one ever refers to their contents? And, in Ashley’s case, it’s pretty obvious that she is visually impaired – her white cane is a tip off. I understand that it would be more difficult to figure out that Ashley is deaf, but when either I or her intervener is with her and we are using sign language, that is a clue.
I have no problem explaining Ashley’s disabilities to someone new meeting her for the first time. I also don’t mind talking about the source of her disabilities or what adaptations and modifications need to be made for her to participate fully in society. But, I don’t think I should have to explain to people in our school district or medical facilities we have frequented for many years.
Maybe I could use the same response that is often used in the computer industry (my area of employment) when certain people ask questions about every little thing – RTFM (Read The F*&%$# Manual).