Advocay


I remember saying 6 months after I started my job that my advocacy had changed. Now that I am dependent on my employer it is much harder for me to be openly critical of practices as not only my paycheck depends on it, but also my health insurance. In college I said and did whatever I wanted. With my incredible privilege of having parents that supported me through school I didn’t have to answer to an employer. Dissent was actually encouraged and expected at Hampshire.
I used to say the hardest part of my job was the position of power I was(not) in. That is, I spend 40 hours a week with just a few students, and I get to know them pretty well, or would like to think I do. I cannot make any executive decisions about their lives, that’s up to the boss man and their parents. I understand the reasons for that and do not even entirely disagree with them. I can’t lie though, sometimes when I disagree with a course of action it’s very frustrating- but there is nothing to be done when the powers that be speak.
Now, I’ve somewhat revised my idea of what the hardest part of my job is. It’s not easy. I’m in a lot of ways dictating another person’s life. Now it’s time to do laundry, now it’s time to eat, now it’s time for (insert scheduled activity). Sometimes a student won’t want to do an activity but I bring them to the activity anyway. The reasoning is that because of the students’ inability to understand choices on a larger scale, e.g., if I only ever eat macaroni and cheese for dinner I will become extremely sick from lack of proper nutrients, it is my job as caretaker to help the student make healthy choices. This extends to all corners of the student’s life.
Does it really matter if the student doesn’t want to change his stained t-shirt? No. Not really. Not if we’re indoors relaxing on the couch. Does it really matter if the student wants to take a naps at all hours? No, not really. But then my ideas of what is appropriate is usually different from society’s larger standards. I am a feminist after all. So then it gets really tough. As does the amount of force I have to use sometimes-during transitions, diapering, etc…
All in all, now that I’ve been thinking so much about disability rights, my job has become increasingly harder on an ethical standpoint. Many hegemonic forces that encourage certain practices that I do for my job are maybe just not necessary and in order to advocate for myself and the students I take a huge risk as I’m financially dependent on the institution. It is an institution after all, and radical ideas are hard for any established place with its own practices to take. Thus is the nature of an institution.
Nonetheless I’m always trying to re-check myself. Remember “the banality of evil” to try to say something if it doesn’t seem right and to consistently review my actions. I don’t always like what I find when I review myself and it weighs heavy- I constantly try to strive to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes twice. I really try to do my best. I wonder, do all educators feel this or is this just specific to special ed? Or is it just I who is constantly running around in my head, bouncing through library books, and meeting up with the “professionals” in the field to dump my questions (problems) on? What do other people think about this, really? Why is the discourse not open, and flowing, and heavy from voices? It’s some tough stuff to muck through!

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Braille Without Borders

Sabriye Tenberken and her husband, Paul Kronenburg, started a school in Tibet, Braille Without Borders. Blindness in Tibet is even more stigmatized in some ways, people believing those who are blind have bad karma or are possesed by demons. After this school got in its feet they opened another school in Kerala, India to help people from all over the world achieve their dreams, goals, that usually have to do with helping others in their home communities. What an amazing couple. Check out the Kanthari school.

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Crits

“…the absence of much of minority scholarship was attributable to its poor quality, and to the lack of productivity of minority scholars. Scholars of color were urged stop complaining and simply to write Of course,the discussion that followed was animated. But more important than what was said was what was assumed-namely, that the arena of academic discourse was functionally open to any scholar of merit who sough to enter it.” Introduction page xxvi in Critical Race Theory

Without examining issues of race and redefining discourses that surrounding ideas of race there will be no proper framework to work within when trying to articulate problems. Problems of race cannot be “solved” without forging new ways to think about race- this does not include a popular consciousness of liberal ideology, i.e. colorblindness. Lack of attention to race, the denial of its existence, does not lead to any solutions. This ideology ignores the privilege that can be attributed to one’s race, while ignoring the devastating consequences of others positions.
It must be acknowledged that not everyone has the same access to language, to speak, or to say. One must pay attention to everything subtle and try to encourage voices not always apparent or speaking in an unfamiliar way.

On a seemingly unrelated note, I think deaf culture can benefit from some of the structures, the newly created language, that those who have done and are doing Critical Race Theory have forged.

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GRE, no thanks

After 4 years of college which did not feel the need to assess me with tests I now need to take a 4 hour test of bullshit.  And not only that, It costs $200!! 

The GRE is a better indicator of race, class, and gender than anything else.  I can’t believe I have to go along with this system because I want to try to escape poverty and teach blind people navigational skills.  What a profoundly horrible system this country has. 

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7 senses

I found out that most people in my field think of the body as having 7 senses.  Yes sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. But, also proprioception and vestibular.  Proprioception being able to determine where your body parts are in space and vestibular the feeling of balance.  You may have heard of vestibular before in relation to pilots who get screwed around in the air because the fluid in their ears became disoriented.   That’s all to do with the vestibular sense.   Cool, huh?

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copy draw

I really enjoy copying drawings.

Tell me why Picasso became a bunny though??

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Basket of Blue

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