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.