Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Myths and Stereotypes


I've been thinking a lot recently about Ashley's transition to high school next year. It has the potential to be a frightening experience for Ashley because everything will be new - new school building, new bus driver, different schedule, new teacher, new assistant, and a whole lot of new children.

In the past, I have tried to prepare the new school staff by meeting with them prior to the beginning of the year and telling them all about Ashley. I focus on all the positive things and about how much she is like her peers rather than how different she is. But, I also have to share the extent of her disabilities so preparations can be made. One of the things I have done in the past is conduct a 'simulation'.

A simulation, as my state's deafblind project has taught me, is taking a sighted and hearing person and putting a blindfold on their eyes and plugs in their ears. The person under simulation is then asked to do something, and supposedly this exercise gives them an idea of what life is like for Ashley. Except it's not accurate...

I understand the simulation exercises in theory, but in practice they make me uncomfortable. And the end of the simluation I hear a lot of 'awww, poor thing', 'wow, how does she get through each day?', and other such nonsense. I hear pity and I don't like it. But, I've never been quite able to put into words all the reasons that the simulation exercises bother me - and then I found a post from Joel at the NTs Are Weird blog. He has explained it perfectly, and I think it would be well worth your time to go have a look.

5 comments:

Marla said...

Very interesting. I will check it out.

High school is bound to be a huge transition. Our goal is to help M get back into a school at some point since the Center does not go past the age of twelve and who knows what will happen with insurance. The thought of another transition wears me out.

Amazing_Grace said...

I conduct a training for all personnel that comes in contact with my son prior to school. That way I know it gets done and I can tell them EXACTLY what they should know and do. :)

Holly said...

Thanks for sharing. What a great perspective.

Cheryl said...

Came across this article maybe 6 or 7 years ago. It sums everything up on the matter PERFECTLY

http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/archive/aware.htm

Ashley's Mom said...

Cheryl, that was a great link! Thanks for sharing it.