Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The fight for independence

What does this really mean?  In my opinion; it means being able to do as much as I can on my own.  To access information on the Internet with no sighted assistance.  To be able to complete forms online without any assistance.  To be able to read information in alternate formats thus not having to depend on someone else to read it to me.

 

The right to make my own decisions without having someone else speak on my behalf; be it in the supermarket, in the pharmacy, in the shopping mall, or anywhere else.  My independence would also include not having anyone else speak on my behalf at such places as restaurants, at the bank, or at airports.  No one should be placed in a position to have to speak on my behalf and I should not be subjected to have to put up with clerks and attendants asking my sighted friend or family member something like "What would she like," or "Is she okay," or "Can she sign her credit card bill?"

 

There is a huge difference between someone wanting to be helpful and someone assuming that a blind person is not independent enough to speak or act for him/herself.  Blame it on society's attitudes or our unwillingness to speak up for ourselves; a bit of both maybe.  We as a community need to speak up and speak out.  We need to fight hard to maintain our independence and we need to do it in an affirmative yet positive way.  No need to snap at those who mean well or those who do not know any better.  We can become teachers of independence to the mainstream world.

 

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and tell others that yes! Blind persons also need to fight for their independence.  Visit www.nfb.org to learn more.

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