Because I Love Her


Because I Love Her

by guest auther

DeAnna Noriega

     "I'm Miss Grant, I called you to make a home visit from the office of Adult and Family Services. Are you Mary Wilson?" she inquired pleasantly of the woman that opened the door. The social worker was following up on a report of possible child abuse.

     "Yes, please come in." responded the woman turning to lead the way down a narrow hall to a small neat kitchen. "Would you like a cup of coffee?"

     "Thank you, but, no. Is your daughter here?"

     "Oh, of course. Heidi, come in here, sweetheart."

     A quick step was heard moving almost in a run from the front of the house. A small girl skipped into the room. Her cherubic face was surrounded by a cloud of blond curls. Her wide gray eyes seemed to gaze through Miss Grant.

     "Yes, mommy?" inquired the child with a smile.

     The social worker noted that the girl's right arm was in a cast, but there were no signs of neglect in the shining clean hair and rosy face. "Hello, Heidi. I am Miss Grant. Will you answer some questions for me?"

     "It's ok, honey, tell the lady anything she wants to know," instructed the mother.

     "Heidi, how did you hurt your arm?"

     A look of embarrassment crossed the little girl's face. "I fell out of my
tree house. I was trying to touch a bird I could hear singing and he was too far away. I leaned out and fell down."

     "You climb up in trees!"

     "Sure, my daddy built me a house in our big tree for my birthday before he went away to heaven," answered the child. "He said I'm the best tree climber he ever saw."

     "Will you show me the tree house? I'd love to see it."

     "Okay, come on!" replied the child turning to dart out a back door.

     The social worker followed and found herself in a small yard dominated by an ancient oak with broad thick branches. The child scampered ahead, clambered up a slanted ladder disappearing into the thick foliage more than ten feet overhead. Miss Grant had seen many things in her life, But what kind of mother allowed a blind child to climb trees?

     "Come on," called the cheerful voice from above.

     Miss Grant slowly placed her foot on the bottom rung and climbed after the girl. The ladder ended at a platform surrounded by a three-foot high railing. A small bench and table were in one corner and a set of shelves with a cupboard below was in another. Battered plastic dishes and old empty butter tubs lined the shelves and a Braille book lay open on the table. "This is a lovely place, Heidi."

     "Yes, some of the other kids come and ask to play with me up here," Heidi said. "They never did before daddy built it for me. I can't play ball and stuff, but they like to play in my tree house," she stated proudly.

     Driving away, Miss Grant thought over what she had seen. This was going to be a hard report to write. How did you explain the differences between negligence and love that gave a disabled child the room for growth and normal child development?


e-mail responses to

**1. This story reminded me of my own childhood. I have been legally blind since birth due to retinopathy of prematurely. I could see better when I was younger, and never really used a cane until college, but my visual limitations were always significant. My family lived out in the boonies in a small town in SC, and my only neighbors were two kids who lived at the opposite end of the dirt road we lived on. Like the little girl in this story, I climbed around
in pine trees with my friends. Its a wonder I never fell. My Dad also taught me to ride a bike and I rode up and down the dirt roads surrounding my house. Sometimes, I even rode really fast. I guess I was familiar enough with the terrain and could see just well enough not to slam into any trees or anything. It scares me now to think about it, and it must have scared my parents to let me do that, but it never occurred to me to think they might have been reported to anyone for it. The worst wreck I ever had was plowing the bike into the back of my Dad's truck. This actually happened because I was looking at my dog off to the side and, because of my narrower visual field, did not see the truck. Usually in broad daylight, I would have been able to see it well enough to steer around it. I roller skated some, too, though I can't remember how to do that now. I also took part in PE classes in elementary school. I always had to hold hands with a classmate when we ran so I wouldn't run into the gym walls. I remember taking part in a school field day once where I did that game where you hop to the finish line with a basketball between your knees. The gym teacher ran backwards in front of me clapping her hands and cheering me on so I'd know where to go. My athletic abilities have not followed me into adulthood, though. I do like to take walks with my guide dog.

When other kids were learning to drive, my dad would let me ride in front of him on the lawnmower and steer. He would put the blade up because he was afraid a rock might hit me in the head or something, which I never could understand because a rock could have hit him just as easily so we weren't actually mowing grass, but I was able to have the experience of driving something. He would give me directions to get around things and such. It was fun. I did
the same thing with our boat a couple times. A college buddy years later took me to an empty parking lot and let me drive her car. We didn't get much beyond a little steering and how to apply the gas and, more importantly, the break, but it was fun.

My father has always been overprotective, but my mother really pushed for me to be as "normal" as possible. This does not mean she denied my blindness, though I often did when I got older. What it means is that she wanted me to play and take risks like other kids. If my dad said I might get hurt, Mom responded that all kids got hurt. She meant things like falling and scraping knees or things like that, I'm sure. She did not want me cracking my head open or falling out of trees, but she wanted me to be able to do what the other kids in the neighborhood did and did not want to shelter me or make me stay inside or always tell me I couldn't do this or that. She has not said these things to me directly for the most part. Its just what I've figured out about her philosophy. Had things been up to my dad, both because of his concern for me as a girl and a blind person living in what he considers to be a world full of dangers, and because of his discomfort with my blindness at times, I probably would have had far fewer opportunities to do what other kids do. He still has trouble with this, but not nearly as much as he used to and, as an adult now, I do what I want.

I think there must be a balance. Blind children do have to do some things differently and do have some unique needs. Sometimes, safety must be considered as it relates to them. My Mom has related the story of me learning to crawl and how my dad would toss pillows into my path if I was about to crawl headfirst
into a hard object. She has also related the story of how I crawled off the edge of our porch and fell down the steps once. Accidents happen even with the most diligent parents, but a blind child has to be allowed to take risks and engage in normal behaviors within reason. Parents should not treat their kids like fragile flowers or baby them or allow them to grow fearful of venturing out and interacting with others and with their world. If they do, this attitude will follow the blind child into adulthood and he or she will not have the confidence to be an independent blind adult. Sometimes, I think parents
think too much about their own needs and discomforts than about what is good for their child. This is unfortunate.

Just my thoughts.

Carmella Broome Graduate Student in Marriage and Family Counseling at the University of South Carolina

**2. Yes, yes, yes!!! This is WONDERFUL!!! My daughter (almost 7) went to a birthday party this weekend where there was a great tree house. The birthday kid took her up, showed her around, and left her to enjoy with the other kids. Now she's begging for one. Unfortunately, all our trees are Mango, and she's allergic to them.

Our children need to be given every opportunity to experience everything possible. My daughter climbs Papa's tree when we visit, and she has climbed 25' of a 50' climbing wall. She wants the top next time!

Negligence would be leaving a flat platform, but this tree house (like our friend's) sounds very safe with high enough walls to prevent stepping off the edge. Accidents happen to our sighted kids, and they are going to happen to our blind kids as well. It's a part of life.

Debby Brackett Winona's mom Blindkid

**3. I think I also have to speak up on the latest THOUGHT PROVOKER story, because although I guess we were lucky no Social Worker was called on us, our daughter, Allison, (now 20 and in college) also fell out of her beloved (and father-built) tree house when she was young! Ironically, although she had climbed down from it many times before, she had a sighted friend teach her to climb down the steps a different way, and fell and broke her arm doing so! Darn sighted friends! I think the real lesson to learn from this story should be that our children are really no different than their sighted friends....they're young, they're inexperienced, they are curious and exploratory and mischievous as all other children are! Certainly, the experiences of their youth should be just as adventurous as any other child's or they will never develop into the young adult ...or adult ..that their sighted peers do. To keep them from these childhood experiences is to handicap them far greater than any loss of sight could. Is it neglectful? No more so than any parent who provides beloved experiences for their children...whether that is riding a bicycle....learning how to swim.....crossing the street....letting that child explore his/her world to test their independence and skills on their own. How could we ever expect them to mature in that area if it were denied them? Allison had many wonderful summers alone AND with friends in that tree house. She danced up there, sang up there, played for hours on end up there, and dreamed of higher aspirations for herself there...up among the summer breeze...and birds...and leaves falling in the autumn around her. Although the sighted friend still reminds her of that time when she took a nasty little fall, she's also still around to remember all the great times they shared up there, too.....and isn't that longtime friendship way more important in the long term? I'm betting they'd both answer "yes."

Kathy Hilliker, Mom Blindkid

**4. Three cheers for the lady who gave her child the freedom to climb a tree. I am totally blind and have been since I was eight years old.
My parents never put any kinds of restraints on me. I climbed tall trees with out ladders or lower limbs. I rode a bicycle. And If I was ever standing too close to the edge of a porch, I was never warned, but was usually pushed by one of my siblings. Until I learned to push back.

By letting the little girl have a tree house, the mother is Setting the framework of true independence for her daughter, in my opinion. I grew up in a county in South Mississippi, and I went to high school in new Orleans and Graduated from L.S.U., Baton Rouge. I always had friends, and I always dated sighted girls. I was always extremely independent, and most people would always swear that I could see. I can't be more strongly convinced that treating a blind child the same as you would a sighted child is the best way to allow them to grow into a normal healthy and independent adult.

My wife still shows me things to look at, and so does my sons.
And it is because I was allowed to do anything that my brothers and sisters could do with the exception of driving. I roller skated, water skied, bowled, and had a good time. I am a successful person, with a wife that can drive and four sons that can drive if I have a special need. And all because, I feel, I was given freedom and challenges when
I was a very young child.

Dave Johnson Mckinney Texas, email

**5. This is an issue that does exist out there. unfortunately and a lot of parents in the blind community don't want their children to play with other kids because "they might get hurt" but you know what, it shows later! smile. We have twenty one blind students here at KU, counting myself. We all come from different backgrounds. one girl, her dad is very wealthy and he comes from a culture that does not consider disabled people very highly, so she tries to pass as sighted in everything she does, even hiding the cane when her dad comes to visit. There is another student who had a great upbringing, and he is quite the character majoring in math, and you will run into him walking across campus with his cane up like a walking stick. he says one of these days he is going to roast my guide dog, I tell him forget it, smile. But everyone has had a different upbringing. and this is extremely important. Blind kids just like any kids need chances to grow, spread their wings and explore their world. And I hope that parents do that. That was one of the reasons I am training to be a TVI, I want to help my students be what they can and want to be. I learned a lot from my TVI and I want to pass it on.

I had a tree house growing up. Not as cool as the one that the girl had in the story, though hers sounds cool! Mine was a platform and a piece of braided
straw rope my brother Dan and I would climb up into the huge maple tree. he was a better climber, but that is because he could see the branches I couldn't
reach out and touch, so he was braver than I was, but still climbed a ton of trees in my childhood. Also had a bike too, and went all over my town and
neighborhood. smile. My parent's favorite answer, to the question, "mom and dad can I do this?" was "your insurance is paid up go ahead, just don't
kill yourself." smile. And I am grateful that they did that as I wouldn't be where I am if they did, or be able to handle things now that my vision is
rapidly decreasing very quickly like it is because of the RP. But my experiences. At summer camp we were expected to go swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and rafting, I have gone cave exploring and rode on my school equestrian team for a year and a half. To all those parents out there, please let your children try, and if they get bruises, or a broken arm, well... All kids get hurt, so why not! Let them get the bumps and bruises, when I was younger my legs would be black and blue all summer from all the spills and things I ran into, or the games my brother and I would play in the summer time. let your students and kids play and be kids, and if possible make it possible for them to join in games that other students are doing, that is part of the fun of being a kid, and a great learning experience. As for the social worker, it is only "education" that is going to work on her. And it does, over time. you can't expect long term changes, but little improvements over time. smile.
But that is just my opinion.

Shelley Rhodes

**5. Yes, go to Roberts’s short story page and red this story. I read it to my children, one of them blind and 3 sighted and we all loved it! We had to discuss some parts of it to make all of its meanings clear, but it was worth it. Even children can learn that adults have to let them and at times encourage them to take risks. The more the blind child plays and rough houses like their sighted peers, the more they will grow up to be like their sighted friends.

Marcy Brink Iowa USA

**6. This was a wonderful story, which suggests some important factors, including societal attitudes, the resilience/potential of children and the need for permitting/encouraging growth. Given positive expectations/encouragement and the necessary education/tools, children will most likely learn and develop into contributing and well-adjusted adults. However, influence of mal-adjusted social attitudes and stereotyped beliefs could block or limit the child's appropriate development. In the story, the social worker, Mrs. Grant, seems concerned that a mother of a blind child would permit behaviors that could result in injury. If the child had no disability, I doubt that the question of abuse would even have come up.

Why is it that non-disabled children are expected to be adventurous and have minor injuries while growing up, but let a child have a disability, and he/she should be taken care of. After all, everyone knows that blind children are not as capable as their sighted friends. Parents, guardians and friends should care for the blind child.

Unfortunately, attitudes such as this frequently interfere with appropriate emotional and skill development. As a counselor, I once had a client who was never permitted to leave the house by herself. Other than basic personal care skills, she was not expected to perform chores, such as making her bed, doing laundry, washing dishes, cleaning, cooking, etc. Frankly, this thirty year old lady had learned well how to manipulate others, had little self-confidence in her own abilities and became easily frustrated. Was she at fault that she had inappropriate social skills or that she demanded that others do for her? Probably, but so was society and the people in her past.

Doug Hall, Daytona Beach, Florida USA

**7. Thanks, first Robert, for all the hard work you do! I don't know if you get any thanks. For sure though, you, my good man, deserve, it!
You, make a suggestion and allow for views. Whether these views are good or bad. Making a comment here and there. It gives one and all a chance to examine ones heart and soul.
Again, thanks!

As for the story or thought provoker, this week. Well, I've seen two sides of this coin. Two different types of disabilities. When, I was working with a company. I was a supervisor. We had this lady come into the work place with a guide. It was obvious, she had no skills. Come to find out she actually had that, No skills at all. The Mother and Father were so worried that they would be seen as child neglect, abuse and etc. They did everything for her! Everything! So, in arriving this lady had to be trained at the age of 35, to eat on her own, dress herself, walk, and so on and so forth. So, I don't call it neglect when a parent or parents wants the best for their child. At the same time to be able to survive in today's world. This lady I speak of is very much independent and enjoying life. Though, she sometimes comments on if, only.. Then, I'll talk about my son. When, I adopted him. He had many disabilities. I thought to myself, do I follow all the rules? Give some slack, here and
there? Let Norman, try to grow? I chose, to give the slack and Norman, is making great progress! Yes, there is mistakes and yes there is accidents. Yet, there is no abuse. Just lots of love and joy in seeing him, grow! It really bothers me when other people try to pass judgment on a parent raising a disabled person. even though we are in the year of 2003, there is still people thinking back in the 1800's!

Gene Stone Portland, Maine USA

**8. As a teacher of blind and visually impaired students, I would applaud the efforts of these parents. It is extremely important to allow visually impaired children to experience all types of experiences that interest them. Providing these types of opportunities allows them the opportunity to experience things that there peers are also interested in, therefore allowing for a common interest and the ability to foster friendships. As for the social worker-she just received a lesson of a lifetime!

Jennifer, TVI AERnet

**9. Thanks for posting this. I guess all of us with blind students have looked at this kind of issue. It's so easy to let the blind kids sit quietly on a bench while the world passes them by. I talked with the first grade teacher about a similar topic, but it was much less risky. I just said, "Please let the student walk independently." She responded, "I am concerned with my students' safety." I answered, "So am I; that's why they need to learn independence - so they can take the
responsibility for themselves." I was amazed she understood right away.
As a bratty little kids, I climbed trees, swung on trapezes, jumped out of swings, walked up the slides (where you were supposed to slide down) and much more. Much done at the residential school for the blind, much at the park near my home.
I'm always a little saddened when kids I teach don't do the same each day.

Kathy Millhoff AERnet

**10. When I first started in this field, I was teaching young adults so, since I had no parents come to parent interview night, was assigned to supervise in our mini-gym where one NLP kid was playing on the stall
bars and giving me panic attacks. His mother slid beside me and whispered, "Just don't watch. That's what I do!" It was excellent advice...

Dana Star AERnet

**11. My parents raised me with the same attitude. I played and did all the things that the other kids did including riding bikes, climbing trees etc. Seeing this reminded me of a response I got once when, while I was riding bikes with my brother, I ran into a barbed wire fence. If anybody out there is from the South you know that barbed wire was used, especially for cows, and animals and such to keep the pasture fenced off from intruders etc. I was following my brother, riding behind him listening to the sound of his tires on the gravel, he saw a relative of ours we hadn't seen in a while and decided to chase the truck. He being five years younger than I am, I was about fourteen and he was about nine or so, he didn't think and neither did I. As he took off I was trying to keep up and made the honest mistake of swerving to far over. When I went to get the four stitches in my arm, get doctored up and climb back on the bike, the doctor and nurses asked mom and dad the same thing. They thought I had been abused. However, they learned very quickly that my blindness wasn't a hindrance because I didn't look at it as such, it didn't slow me down one inch and shouldn't. The only thing we can't do is drive, however there are a couple of occasions I have had the experience and joy of doing that, I'll have to entertain you guys with that anecdote later. But I digress. I was raised and continue to live by that standard and if I have a blind child, I'll raise them with that same attitude. You're going to get a few broken bones, skinned knees, bruised shins whether you see or not. It's no different. But, some people view it as such when it's that poor pitiful blind kid down the block. Anyway more on that later. Take care folks. I'll write more when I have time.

Timothy Emmons ACB-L

**12. I loved this story I can totally relate to this My Jonathan is 11 and wants a tree house but our trees are extremely tall so its pretty much out of the question for any of our children, but John has a wooden house that he plays in with all the neighborhood children like the story this is all John has in common with them besides riding his bike, I think in the story the Social worker should be honest and write from her heart for her report and it would help to get rid of some of these stereo types that sighted people have about Blind children being different.

Karen Jonathans mom and mom to two there younger children Boy 8 and girl 4 Blindkid

**13. This provoker made me think about the trees I used to climb as a totally blind child. I would pile chairs on tables, stools on chairs just to get to the large limbs that would take me and my pockets bulging with nuts towards the squirrels I heard in our huge oak tree. There was no tree house, no Social Worker, no common thread which level the playing field between me and my sighted neighbors. Because the youngster's mother and father were able to show their love in the construction of a tree house, the athletically inclined child lived the experiences that her sighted peers did. They perhaps had basketball nets. She had a place also, to which others would come, a place equipped with amenities befitting any meeting place but not without the risks any child would face in such a special place. Abuse would have been not to build the house at all.

Jo Taliaferro Grand Rapids, MI

**14. The courage of Moms and Dads where blind children are concerned will be taxed!

With appropriate support though, Mom and Dad will understand the value of full integration and even the risks that have been taken by the blind child and the learning that has resulted.

I rode a bicycle around my town as a blind child. I could hear traffic and used what was then termed "facial vision" to hear echoes from trees, houses, porches and parked cars or trucks. They all have individual sounds from their echoes. I still use that technique today in my mobility.

Anyway, I know my Mom had many phone calls from prospective worriers and those who felt they knew best. I think she used the information they gave her and discussed things with me. But she always had the courage to let me go on, with my friends, and do things that amused and entertained all the children in the neighborhood.

I was lucky, I grew up in a small town. It was real community that raised me.

Steve Hoad Windsor, Maine USA

**15. We've had nine of our thirteen children (those who were under 16 at the time) abducted by the local child protection authorities a few years ago (due to anonymous allegations and the like), so we've had direct experience with the way they operate. I am blind, and our 6 year-old (at the time) son has cerebral palsy which is affecting his legs, one of his arms, one of his eyes, and the part of his brain which interprets what he's looking at.

Before I continue, I'd better note that this sad and most unwelcome interruption in our lives and intrusion into our family ended well. Our children were all returned after about five months of a painfully slow legal process, full psychological assessments (at our expense) of all of us, and deep probing analyses by social workers, lawyers, parenting "experts", etc. The lawyer for the child protection people, about four months into the process, actually told the court something I never expected them to acknowledge, i.e. that it was now their belief that it's in the best interest of our children to be returned home.

Even though the preceding paragraph is off-topic, I've included it to let others who may be enduring the very same sort of ordeal know that they aren't alone. My recommendation, by the way, to those who are is that they follow a policy of total openness and that they don't get dragged by well-meaning others into the foolish practice of asserting their rights. Show them that you have absolutely nothing to hide, and that you really do deserve the privilege of raising those children whom God has entrusted into your care. Now I'd better get back on topic.
Our child with cerebral palsy has, among other things, very poor balance. In spite of this, we let him live a normal life. We do monitor him a little closer than we do the others, of course, but, with so many brothers and sisters, he's always under several pairs of watchful eyes anyway. We accept the fact that he gets hurt more than the others as a necessary aspect of what it'll take for him to grow up properly. For one thing, his reflexes will need the practice so that he won't incur serious damage when he's much heavier. For another, it'd be wrong to deny him the benefits which normal play and interaction bring to a child.

While the child protection people had him, they babied him. They weren't willing to let him get even slightly hurt. It didn't take them long to notice that this was a case where we and they were in opposition. I, in fact, raised the topic early because I didn't want it to become food for any of their backroom, secret, fairytale-writing sessions. In the end, they acknowledged that our approach really was in his long-term best interest. They then, not wanting us to have the last word on the matter, wanted to ensure that we were being responsible about it.

It may well be a lot harder for a "normal" (not disabled) parent to make this point with child protection people. One thing they couldn't help but notice about me is that, in spite of my blindness, I have a fiercely independent spirit. I, of course, desperately wanting our children back where they belong and wanted to be, used this to my advantage. I made sure that they understood that I wouldn't be the way I am had I listened to the innumerable people who, throughout my childhood, kept on telling me what I couldn't do. I told them of times when I got hurt doing what others thought I shouldn't do, and pointed out how, in fact, those incidents were of tremendous benefit to me. I finally forced the issue by directly asking them if they were going to try to claim that their text-book theories had more weight than my real-life experiences.
One of the things I've learned is that most child protection people, who usually don't have any children of their own, tend to think that all children are alike and that they should all be managed in the same way. The fact that the name of the social worker in the thought provoker is "Miss Grant" may be more of a truism than its author realized, i.e. (political correctness aside) either she's unmarried and probably has no children or she's divorced and couldn't manage her own family very well. When they come across a family with so many children (we have thirteen), they get all confused. When they come across a child with a disability, they get all confused. Not knowing what to do, but not wanting to appear ignorant, they just apply the same old stock rules and standards which they know. In so doing, they tend to mess up families whose only crime is that they differ from the norm.

Dave Mielke 2213 Fox Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), Web:

**16. Who in there right mind would call the mother of this little girl anything but a normal every day loving mum who lets their child do the things that most children love to do. When I was growing up I was never told that I could not do this or that because I couldn't see as well as other kids or my brothers and sisters rather just left to find my own limitations. I believe that if you wrap your kids up in cotton wool so to speak then they will come to expect certain things later in life when they venture out into the big wide world. Unless the child is looking to do something completely life threatening then it is just a big learning curve for them and no different than any other so called "normal child". I myself ice skated, rode a bike, roller bladed, and did loads of other things that other kids were doing at certain times, I fell down like all of them and got back up twice as fast so I would learn how to do what ever I was trying to do with out falling or like I was different. Sometimes and I believe quite often too I was better than them. So in closing that mother should be praised for teaching her child to live just like everyone else because there will be plenty of time for that little girl to learn how she is different and the ways in which to deal with that.

Byron Auckland New Zealand

**17. The process of parenting a child with a vision disability is the Who same process of setting limits and addressing safety with other children, it just means that the limits have to take into consideration the specific visual limitations. Each child has different limitations and needs somewhat different limits. I think the way we choose those is by spending a lot of time observing and to avoid jumping in too quickly before we know how the child will react.


Visually impaired child is headed for the street. We're up and quickly
behind them, but instead of just grabbing the child, maybe we can wait one more second to see if when the child's foot touches the sidewalk, she will pause and stop herself.

Every time we intervene, it is possible that it was necessary, but when we intervene unnecessarily the message we give is that the child in incapable of taking care of themselves and of making good decisions. Which makes the child question their own judgment, directly affects their confidence and may cause the child to limit themselves much more than is necessary.

Instead of constantly grabbing them, I think we ought to teach them how to recognize appropriate limits. We also need to make sure kids get the professional O and M training that they need. We need to watch, but watch with restraint.

My .02.

Philip RPlist

**18. you know the first thing I thought of when I read this story about the girl climbing and miss. Grant wondering how a blind child could was rock climbing because you have to climb in that. I don't think any blind person has a limitation to what they can do some things we just have to do a little differently.

kristen USA

**19. What I think now on the story
entitled "Because I Love her" is only that sighted social workers should not decide for blind parents what is best for their children, without knowing a thing regarding blindness, what a blind person can do and can achieve in life. Too often, the "for" rears its head, standing in our way, and usurping our decision-making abilities. I am speaking of the custodialism where people who are sighted decide what is "for your own good." The very phrase imbues me with rage! Nobody decides what is for my good except me. Which brings up a point!
Those who are blind on this list, get yourself a health-care proxy!
This is a document, where you not only complete a form stating what your weighs are should you become incapacitated or unconscious, but you need an attorney to state that what is completed on the form are in fact, your wishes. Be sure the healthcare proxy form is the one revised, from 1997. You need two people you trust completely, to act as your proxies should you become unconscious or incapacitated. The form will not only ask if you want nutrition, hydration, ventilation and resuscitation, but it asks, (on the back) whether you want psychosurgery, ECT, (electroconvulsive therapy) or sterilization. (I said no to those last three).And when a doctor tried to tell me that "they have improved ECT" I asked her what part of "no" didn't she understand? Food for thought, huh? Thought-provoking! I love this list. Peace out!

Lucia New York USA

**20. I believe that there would have been negligence if instead the father had fenced off the tree and built high walls around the yard. Every child falls in play at one time or another. Its our jobs as parents to teach them that this is apart of life. Mind you I don't say that we don't take necessary precautions such as, fencing off areas that may have steep drop offs, roads or railroad tracks.

Robert Wright

**21. I read your thought provoker with interest. I think my mother and father would have been horrified if they had been investigated by social workers because they allowed me, encouraged me, to participate in the same activities that my sighted peers did when we were children. I played ball albeit modified, climbed trees, ran right with them, jumped into streams and rivers and whatever else kids growing up in the 60's and 70's did. Sure, there were cuts and bruises, but no major or permanent injuries. I cleaned house, fed our variety of farm animals, cleaned out chicken coops and rabbit pens right beside my sisters. I played with the dogs and lambs and all our other animals right with my sisters. I did the dishes and learned to cook the same as my sisters did. I was expected to go to school and earn good grades as were all of my sighted sisters. My mother and father were both disabled, not blind; I'm totally blind and was then. Did it hurt me? Certainly not! What it did was make me the self-sufficient, confident, productive person I am today.

At 39, I am employed and have been since I was 14. My first job was helping my sister deliver papers, and my second was walking dogs for people who couldn't or were to lazy in our neighborhood along with high school work experience, then actual secretarial jobs, and now as a therapist and crisis worker. I hope never to find myself unemployed but somehow, I'll always have something to do. Blind children are children, not special little breakable toys that need to be put on a shelf somewhere until someone carefully brings them out.


**22. When I was growing up, my parents allowed me to try pretty much anything I wanted to do. I can't ever remember hearing, from my parents, "No, you can't do that, you're blind." They encouraged me to get involved in any activities which interested me.

I learned to sew, using a sewing machine, at school. I liked to do it and wanted to use my mother's machine. She let me do it, but was afraid that I'd hurt myself by getting my finger under the needle. But, she never discouraged me from using the machine; she just didn't watch, and I never had an accident.

Years later, after I finished my mobility training at school, I wanted to take the bus downtown myself, just because I knew I could do it. My parents said ok, and I was off. I don't remember what I did that day, other than take the bus to town, walk around; maybe I bought something, then came home. It wasn't until many years later that I found out my sister was sent to follow me. She never said anything and I didn't know she was there. But, it made my parents feel better. It also helped when she told them that I
could do it.

I think parents need to work with their children, blind or sighted. Know what their abilities and limitations are and help them to develop and expand their horizons. If a child is encouraged and then finds that he or she can't do something, because of blindness, I think they'll be much more willing to accept that particular limitation and go on to something else, or maybe they'll even try to figure out a way around the barrier. But, if a parent is overly protective and won't allow the child to experience life, because it might be dangerous for a blind child, then the child will become introverted and unwilling to try anything.

Keeping a blind child from what the parent perceives might not be possible isn't always the best way to show the child that you love them. Loving your child means that you are willing to encourage and support them, even if it, at first, frightens you.

Cindy Handel Willow Street, PA

**23. This is an interesting thought, but at least for me I know what my opinion is right away. My first thought after reading this story was why on earth would someone have reported this mother to the authorities. If it was because this kid broke her arm and maybe has even gotten hurt before I don't see a lot of sense in that. To me there is a difference between injuries that appear like they could be abuse and just an active child having mishaps like all kids do.

My second thought was that this girl reminds me of myself as a kid. Not long after I was born a special ed type of teacher started coming to our house. She was amazed by how active I was for a legally blind child. It is true, from what my mom has told me and baby pictures I have I was an active child, always exploring my environment and wanting to know how things worked. My mom let me explore, she knew it was the only way I would learn the world around me. If she held me back, protected me all the time, I would never learn because life in the beginning is trail and error. If you try something and get a boo boo chances are you'll learn from it and not do it that way again. All human beings are like that. Yes, I have a few Evel Knievel scars on my body from thinking I was Superman on my bike or from some other goofy thing I tried. But I have told people over and over again that those are some of my favorite memories. In those moments when I was running around outside, riding my bike, playing ball, exploring around our old house, or whatever else I was doing I was just like any other kid in the sense I was enjoying life and learning the world around me. Was my mom scared sometimes when I did some things, sure, but she let me do them so I could be a kid. I think that is exactly what this mother in the story was doing with her daughter.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with how this mother is raising her daughter, I actually applaud her for letting her daughter be a kid. In her place, or my own mother's, I would do the exact same thing.

Wendalyn Nebraska, USA

**24. Wow, I don't think this social worker knew very much about precocious blind kids. This little girl was full of life and her dad knew she could handle a tree house. This was really very frightening to that social worker. Heidi had an accident like any other child would have under these conditions. It is unclear why someone thought she was abused. Did the complainer call in because she shouldn't have been playing in a tree house if she was blind, or that she had been playing in any way and had broken her arm? She was certainly cheerful about her situation. It didn't seem to bother her at all. If I had been her mother, I probably would have wanted her arm to heal before she climbed up in the tree house again, because handling a ladder might have been awkward for her and she might have had another accident. I'm interested to hear what other people think about this.

Leslie Miller San Diego, California USA

**25. My son apparently has not inherited his father's RP (the jury is still out), but he is visually impaired in a different kind of way. I noticed that no matter how wide the door, Jason bumped into the right side. A retired eye doctor who donated vision screening services to schools said he was mildly nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other; also mildly dyslexic, mildly amblyopic, and mildly ADHD. But 25 = years ago they just said he was poorly coordinated, seriously clumsy, trainably retarded, and very overactive. So because we had no money for elaborate programs that baby-sit him through high school and maybe teach him to sharpen pencils for a living, and because we were told he would probably never learn to read and write anyway, I set about teaching him myself. What did I have to lose? A year later he tested at college level in reading comprehension. 20

I pushed him, hard, to learn to climb monkey bars, to swim, and to ride a bicycle, even though his balance was dreadful. When he fell, I'd ell him to get up and try again. To this day, at nearly 31 he loves to hop on his bike and ride for miles when he feels well enough (but that's another story). The acuity in his "lazy" eye has degenerated over the years to make reading difficult without a magnifier, and his coordination and balance are still poor.

A lot of parents thought I was harsh to force him to learn these things, especially after he fell out of a tree and broke his wrist when he was 8. His cast was barely dry when we visited a friend, and the two of them scrambled up to her roof and sat swinging their legs and chatting.

Like the mother in the thought-provoker, I let him do things, and pushed him to do other things, because I love him. As I told the other mothers, better a broken wrist than a life lived in fear of life. That is no life at all.

Carolyn Gold Clearwater, Florida USA

**26. I had a tree house, I learned to roller skate and ride a bike. My parents, especially my mother, felt that it was really important that I learn to do as many things as a sighted child could. Sighted kids fall out of tree houses, too.

I think the mother and father in the story did the right thing. The tree house also brought sighted kids over to play with the little girl. This allowed for more "normalization." It's my opinion that the social worker needed to adjust her thinking. This should be an easy report to write.

Janet Ingber New York City, New York USA

**27. That mom is really something else! A lot of parents of disabled kids could sure take lessons from her. Even though Dad is gone from the picture, Mom and daughter keep hanging in there with positive attitudes. Dad is looking down on them and is really proud.

Dad also taught Daughter a valuable lesson. No matter who you are, you got to have something just a bit unique or nobody is going to pay any attention to you. That is true whether you are disabled or not.

I wish that my parents had been a little more positive when I was a kid. I wouldn't have grown up to be the useless burden on society that I have become.

Dick Myers Tokyo, Japan

**28. I sure do suggest that each one of you go to the short-story section in Robert's site,
ht p://
, and read DeAnna's short story, "Because I Love Her", in its entirety. It is very, very touching, considering that a lot of us did not have fathers and mothers like Heidi's, but were smothered with overprotection from parents, siblings, schools, and rehab agencies. Though it is not as smothering as in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, many of the blind today still face it: "You don't need to use a cane. You can live at home the rest of your life, for you couldn't take care of yourself." I think we all know people like this. It is most pathetic to witness such dependence. Who on earth called that Division of Family Services, to give the social workers something to do besides wander around their offices and do meaningless paperwork? Probably none of the neighbors with children. Probably not someone in Heidi's family. Perhaps an isolate recluse in the neighborhood, or someone who saw her on the street, did it. We will never know. All too many in society still regard the blind as second-class citizens, rather than as loved, confident individuals.
Hey DeAnna, thanks a lot.

Jeff Frye Overland Park, Kansas USA

**29. This story reminds me so much of my childhood. My parents didn't set me up on a shelf like a fragile china doll. My parents allowed me to run and play like everybody else did. By stepping back and allowing a normal childhood I grew into an independent person. The message of "you can't" was not instilled into me. Since that mind set wasn't given as a child, it isn't excepted as an adult. Parents have a major responsibility when raising a child. When the child has any type of disability, the responsibilities are even greater. The parent needs to be aware that the choices they make regarding the child helps mold how the child perceives himself/herself. If this mother ran and stood guard over this little girl every time she went outside, the poor mom would have ulcers and never accomplish anything. I know that parents worry about their children and never want them to be hurt. This is a normal parent. The child in the story will grow up to be a successful contributor in her community.

Tammy Carrithers Tupelo, Mississippi USA

**30. I not only read the thought provoker narrative, but I also read the short story. This sounds like one of those cases in which someone called the social service agency to have a welfare check done on the Wilson family because they felt that Heidi was being abused or too much was being expected of Heidi as a blind child. I think that the mother, Mary, did the right thing of letting Heidi do and be like her sighted peers--climbing trees, playing in the tree house, etc.- though. Children, no matter disabled or not, want to be like their peers. Along with being like everyone else comes those bumps, Bruises, broken bones, etc., which is all a given. People tend to have these strange ideas, though, that disabled and blind children should remain protected from the normal things and wear and tear sighted and able bodied people go through. I think that the basis for such a view is that blind and disabled people are more delicate and have more difficulty in recovering from the mishaps the rest of the population go through. Of course, we all know that this is totally untrue, but these beliefs are long-held. When people hold these strange views and see a blind or disabled child get injured, that's when the judgment call of suspected abuse or neglect is made. I not only have met people with these kinds of views towards blind and disabled children, but I have also met people with likewise views of blind and disabled adults. One such case was when I applied to work at Wendy's. Everything was going really well during the interview until the concern about me falling on a freshly mopped floor or burning myself on the fryers came up. Part of their concern was disability-related and the other part was liability-their fear that I or my parents would sue the company for any injuries I might obtain on the job. Just as Mary Wilson in the narrative pointed out to the child protection worker about Heidi, I explained to the manager at Wendy's that everyone slips and falls or gets burned regardless of whether they are sighted or blind; that blind people are no more delicate or different than anybody else on this earth. Upon that, they hired me. Yes, they were still apprehensive in the beginning, but they became more comfortable with me as the four years that I worked there went by. I not only was allowed and expected to do all the tasks my coworkers were to do, but they've seen me amazingly jump over crates on the floor while in a rush to get more items from the walk-in freezer to be restocked immediately without falling.

Linda USA

**31. I can't think of much to say about this story. Neglect clearly is not an issue, and there was no need for a visit from an investigator (or social worker or whatever) from an office of adult and family services. It is of course essential for us to be on the lookout for abuse and neglect. When the looking glass is tainted by those ancient prejudices about blindness and other disabilities that have blighted countless lives, however, we're at great risk of inflicting abuse rather than rooting it out.

Al Sten-Clanton Boston, Massachusetts USA

**32. I think that the little girl proved to the case worker that she was capable of having a tree house and climbing up the ladder just like a sighted child would do. I adopted a little blind girl and she was the same way. She did some unusual things and always fitted right in with her sighted playmates. She climbed trees (of course I was scared for her), rode bicycles, skated and everything else. So, she just proved a point.

Dorothy Barksdale

**33. God bless the parents who allow there blind child to live as normally as possible. It has to be terrifying when your child says, "Mom, I can walk to school on my own." God bless her for letting me at least believe that I was doing it. I found out much later that she followed me. But at the time I thought I was just like the other kids. I can't even begin to describe how that felt. But then many of you already know that feeling. It is so frustrating that parents with disabled children as well as disabled parents are subject to so much interference in their lives. I know of a woman who adopted a child from another country while she was living there. She was totally blind and when she moved back to the United States they immediately
tried to take the child away from her simply because she was blind. It is incredible how people will try to meddle in your life just because your blind and they feel they have the right. From everything to walking down the street with my guide dog to dialing a telephone I've had people practically force me to accept unwanted and unasked for help. So I say again. God bless those who in spite of their completely understandable fear, allow their children to live life.

Wendy McCurley Fort Worth, Texas, USA

**34. I am totally blind. I never had a tree house, but I can truthfully say that my parents encouraged my independence. I always was with sighted children, and all my friends and family treated me just as they would have treated a sighted friend. I work in the sighted world today, and I am convinced that it is because of things just like this story describes that I am successful within the sighted community. I am 53 years old, and minister of a church here in Bucksport, Maine. I spent most of my childhood in Georgia and Tennessee.

Daniel M. Berry

**35. As a blind person who was once a child and now a parent, I don't think a blind child's activities should be limited any more than those of a sighted child. If we are limited as blind people, we might miss out on some good opportunities. I could remember my parents telling me that I couldn't do certain things and I bought into some of that. But I don't think I would limit my children if they were blind or sighted. My children are actually sighted and I limit them within reason. For instance, I won't let my 17-year-old sighted daughter drive with more than two teenagers in a car which the law established as the limit. I also won't let her have guys in the house when we're not home and I would limit things such as drinking and drugs. But my children have learned to take more responsibilities and are maybe than other children because of our blindness. This year I let my daughter open her own bank account and use our credit card. But the credit card is in our name so I can tell how she spends. Limits teach sometimes and I think that's why they are there, not to let people think they are not capable of doing things like so many parents have done to their blind children in the past.

Mary Jo partake

**37. This little girl reminds me so much of myself 20 years ago. Growing up on farms, definitely gave me the opportunity to break out my front teeth, break my ribs, fingers and scar my limbs forever. Today, I am a competent employee who is not afraid to do a job with no security. It also helped me to face the fear of surgery three weeks ago. All went well, and I am definitely looking forward to getting back to work and the farm.

Marcia Beare, M.S.W. Martin, Michigan USA

**38. It'd be sad if the mother didn't allow her child to climb in trees just because she was blind, falling out of trees happens to children who aren't blind often enough! That the mother told her child, "It's ok,
honey, tell the lady anything she wants to know," should have been an immediate sign that she was a good parent, as she was encouraging the girl to be honest and straight with the social worker. Not to mention that the blind girl probably quickly learned to be more careful the next time. :)

Melissa C. Mielke Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

**39. We've talked about overprotection quite a bit, and I think we should; I have forwarded this Provoker, with the first group of responses, to one person whom I know has been overprotected. She will hopefully get the message,

finally, finally. But I want now to talk about an equally relevant topic: social workers. After all, the subject appears in the Provoker. A seminary student with whom I correspond is having the Kentucky Department for the Blind uninstall WordPerfect on his system, and install a Corel package. I told him that he would likely have to call the agency repeatedly, because this is what agency people are like: The person who answered his first call probably didn't make written note, because he/she probably didn't consider the call important; this, I said, is just like social workers who, when they're not writing their paperwork, sit in and wander around their offices aimlessly, because they don't genuinely care about people. I know that what I have said is going to offend some of you, who are social workers; but that is the concept of social work which I have, which is shared by many of us
who are blind; after all, social workers have treated us condescendingly.

Jeff Frye Overland Park, Kansas USA

FROM ME: How about this issue of how the blindness professionals are treating the blind population? Is Mr. Frye’s feelings wide spread? Should we have a THOUGHT PROVOKER dealing with this? When you find a “bad social worker,” is it a reflection of the over all system of a state or might it be an isolated and individual professional type of problem?

**40. My friend Jeff Frye from Kansas City sent the story of the little
girl, the social worker and the tree house to me with the
responses from your thought provokers list.

Excellent story! This little girl was fortunate that she had a
dad and mom who believed t hat she could do things, too, even
though she couldn't do tings like play ball.

My mother was that way. She always told me I could do anything I
wanted d to do and I guess I was foolish enough to believe her. No,
I never clime bed trees, I guess because I just didn't want to.
I've never c limbed a mountain and I never enjoyed swimming. but
I've done the things I've wanted to. I've traveled extensively
throughout North America in my ministry of Bible teaching and
concert work. More recently I went, along with three men from the missionary society I serve with to Kenya and Ghana. I think
watching me work was an eye opening experience to pastors who
have been taught all their lives that disabled people can't do

Oh, and there is more. I've married a sighted girl and we've been
happily married for 28 years. I've done some radio work, most
recently at the Radio Talking Book Network here in Omaha.

So, you see I've been able to do a good many things because I had a mom, and to a lesser degree a dad who let me play with sighted playmates, and do other things that sighted people do.

Thanks for the story.

Ben Watson Omaha, Nebraska USA

**41. What a great story! I was allowed and encouraged to do all kinds of things as a small child. When my Mom found out I had ROP, she asked the doctor what she should do and he said, "Treat her as normally as you can." In many ways, she took his advice. I played with my sighted sister and our friends. I learned to ride a bike, roller skate, swim and climb trees, though I didn't have a tree house. One thing I remember doing at the school for the blind I attended----my friends and I would go as high as we could in the swings an then jump out to see how far away from the swings we would land. I would never
do that now! Fortunately, I had teachers and parents who felt we should be exposed to all kinds of things. Of course, they didn't teach cane travel until I was in about sixth or seventh grade, so I just went all over my neighborhood without a cane. I also went through extreme resistance when given a cane,
but that's another story! I am glad for the opportunities I had as a child.

Sherri Orlando, Florida USA

**42. This is a tough one! Tough because most parents of a blind child will not have had an opportunity to learn about blindness. so they will naturally want to protect their child. but with having met other parents who have gone down that road and also meeting and working with other parents that are also new and if they all meet competent blind adults, then all can come out right!!! so all you new parents, reach out and find parent groups to help you. Look also for groups of blind adults who grew up as blind kids and are now doing good. Blindness in a child is rare and scary. All of us have to learn that humans are smart and can cope successfully with a disability. Go for it!!!

Marge Morehouse USA

**43. With child rearing, the stress has to be on the results: what will happen in20 years, if I do this task for my child, instead of showing her/him how to do it her/himself, right now, this minute?

Getting bumped and bruised is part of life; that's why they do a brisk business in Band Aids, down at the grocery. Anything you don't teach your child to cope with now--while you are right there to learn from--they will just have to figure out for themselves later.

A month or two ago I caught my forehead on a door edge and bled a

I washed myself up and bandaged myself, by myself. It was a bit deep, though, so I did go in, just to see if the doc thought I might need a stitch. As he was removing the bandage from my head he said, rather softly to himself, "Professional job."

Thanks, Mom!

Jim Eccles ACB-L

**44. My daughter and I are sighted, and as a parent I'd be scared to death if I saw her climb a tree, so you know I've got nothing but respect for the little girl and mother in this story. That indicates how much I don't know about the blind and their capabilities. I do know about social workers, however. Most of them are decent people, no

into that profession for the money or glory. Almost all of them want to help
people, but the job is so draining that it burns many of them out and
they become as jaded as the rest of the population. Sad to say, but the sighted people the blind have the most problems with, ignorant social workers and those that offer unneeded aid, are in fact among the better class of humanity.
My friend who is partially blind has told me how much he resents being
treated like an invalid by some of his co-workers, and I told him, those are the ones who actually give a darn about you, the others are
unconcerned about you and everyone else. I say this knowing how upsetting getting unneeded help is, it is to me, too, but ask you blind
folks to be more forgiving, and understand it is pure ignorance, and
that is a failing, but it is not evil. Most people are decent, they just
have nothing to guide them when dealing with the blind and others who are different from them. It takes education, and perhaps an ad campaign
to make people more aware would help.

Bill Heaney Philadelphia

**45. In response to Resp. 39, while I think that social workers genuinely care, I think that they overstep their boundaries too many times the way the social worker in the thought provoker narrative tried to do. When Mary Wilson encouraged her daughter, Heidi, to go ahead and tell the social worker what had happened, I interpreted it as the mother's way of encouraging the child to stand up on her own two feet. Not only did Heidi tell her what happened, but
she gave the social worker a tour of the tree house, demonstrating how safe it actually was. In a kind manner, both child and mother, I thought, were telling the social worker to keep her nose out of family business instead of meddling with abuse accusations or judgments.
as for the view of social workers affecting the view of the whole social work system from a blind person's view, I think that this view is held by many who are sighted as well. Now, as to whether such a view should be attached to all social workers or not, I don't really know, as there are many who are genuinely concerned while there are many others who do nothing but bud into family business when unnecessary.

Linda USA

**46. I think the story shows that a Social Worker can learn new things. As she came in, she was operating upon the notion that a crime might have been committed. As the story progressed she went from her own personal reaction of shock that a blind child would be allowed, encouraged to climb trees, to learning by going with the child

the tree house and listening to the girl tell of herself and circumstances. I thought the last paragraph gave the message that her next task was to write what needed to be written and she knew she had to challenge herself to make it read right, that a blind child needs to experience those risky things in life that all people need experience. Bravo for the Social Worker profession! This is a t true example that we all can learn that blindness is and can be no more than a characteristic in terms of how we function. And that attitude and ignorance and emotion may be the first reaction, but with the right opportunity and guidance we can learn to cope with vision loss.

I think a video with some blind kids doing things like this would be great!

Max Brome USA

**47. Another response: I am attempting to put myself in the place of Heidi's mother. I am imagining the doorbell ringing and a social worker questioning my parenting style. I think that everything I let my 11 year old, congenitally blind son do would go through my mind and I may wonder to myself if indeed I let him
do way more than maybe other parents of sighted or blind children. Then I would think of his smile and laughter as he runs around the house and yard, jumping down the staircase onto the tile, climbing trees, swinging, sliding, swimming, riding his scooter, his bike (yes, he can ride a bike), roller skating and crashing into the bushes, jumping on the trampoline, hanging from bars, and enjoying sports with his sighted peers. Can I ever inhibit the natural boy in him? No way. He's a happy guy, even with all of the bruises and scars he has accumulated. This is his one childhood. I want him to experience what that means.


**48. well, I am a blind person and have dealt with social workers, one accused me of begging for money and I had $800 in the bank. He lost his job over it.

on the other part of this story, don't hold your blind child back, over protection, eventually lead to conflict later, if the blind person wants his or her independence.

William Spencer

**49. Hi,
The whole issue around helping is an extremely confusing one. If parents don't figure out when help is necessary and when it isn't, and choose either extreme,
never helping or always helping, there can be problems.
If a blind child is never helped, even if the result is not neglect, it can damage the child's sense of self-esteem, due to lack of nurturance. Making
those daily decisions is not easy for parents, especially if their child's personality is much different from their own.
On another note, too much helping is the norm with blind persons, and we're often told to forgive. Sometimes one might not realize just how often that
stuff happens and how old it can get.
One expression comes to mind "the road to Hell was built with good intentions."

Lauren Washington USA
Join CATLINES; find cat-theme items:

**50. the greatest event to start my husband and myself out on the correct path to being the best parents we could be for our blind child was attending a series of week end work shops put on by the local vision teacher. she had as instructors, blind adults from the National Federation of the blind. We, the family members wore a blind fold during all class instruction. We had lessons on cane travel, cooking, making a craft project, sowing, Braille, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning a kitchen, and we had several sit-down group talks where we the family asked questions and the blind adults answered. We cooked our own lunch each time. All this was invaluable. My husband and I now have a clearer idea of expectation for our son. Thank you dear Teacher.

May Barnett USA

**51. I know I'm rather late in responding to this TP, but I was reading through it now that the link is working again and I felt the need to respond.

I say hats off to the mother in this story for letting her child, Heidi, be so daring. I've done many things in my lifetime, but I admit I am not daring
like that and have never climbed a tree. This TP kind of reminded me of something else too. When my roommate and I first moved into this apartment complex,
we had a laundry system that was very inefficient. Whenever any of us needed to do laundry, we had to trek down an old stairway which was very rickety
and not secured. I should mention at this point that my roommate had a lot more vision at the time than he does now, but I have never been able to see
anything but light and dark. For this reason nobody wanted me to go down to the old laundry facility alone. They were afraid I'd fall down the stairs,
and if that happened, I probably wouldn't've been able to do my laundry by myself anyway because I'd've been hurting. I always had to be accompanied either
by my roommate or by another neighbor. Even my roommate accompanying me wasn't a common occurrence. I ended up taking my dirty laundry to my parents' house
almost all the time. They of course didn't mind this, because they were very aware of the whole dilemma. There were a few times when other neighbors assisted
me and if they were unavailable for whatever reason or if all the machines were broken, a life-skills tutor who was with me back then either helped me
down or we took my laundry to a nearby Laundromat. We have since gotten a totally different setup for our laundry area, and this setup is a whole lot better.
Not only is the laundry facility itself in another location, but a new washer and a new dryer were purchased for us. I've heard rumblings, no pun intended,
of an additional washer and dryer being put in too. Needless to say I now do my laundry here all the time, and I'm totally independent with it. So I guess
my point here is simply that some people are more daring and adventurous than others.

Jake Joehl Evanston, Illinois