Wow, I’ve been absent from WordPress for what seems like an eternity! All the same, I’m back now, but I bring sad news.
one of my last posts
about our new dog, who was coming to live with us for a ‘trial run’. Well, it’s safe to say that he’s one heck of a beautiful, obedient and cute-as-hell dog: he was so calm, and wanted every new face to be his best friend. Without beating around the bush, however, our three cats were just too frightened of him – when any of them ran away from his gentle attempts to form friendship, the dog took it as an indication that they wanted to play with him, and hence chased after them, increasing the fear in my cats. This afternoon, the dog who, somehow, I’d become attached to in just 48 hours, wagged his tail one final time, sat at our front door for one last emotional hug, and then trotted into the car in which he’d arrived just two days ago, and disappeared round the corner at the end of the road.
I doubt I’ll ever see him again.
I’m telling myself that it was the best choice, both for the dog and the three cats, and I suppose I’m lucky that my bonding with the dog didn’t go on for longer before this happened. I’m okay – or rather, as okay as I could ever be in these circumstances -, because I know that this dog will live out the rest of his days in a good and happy home, even if no one knows quite where that is just yet.
I thought that now, I would write about what I got up to on Wednesday – exciting times, eh? On Wednesday, I attended an open day for families of visually impaired and blind children, up to the age of 16. However, unlike previous years, I did not attend as a participant, but instead as a (self-proclaimed) ‘helper’. In fact, my attendance was a surprise to the organisers; I got a lift with one of the members of staff after a very last-minute decision to go and be helpful.
The day was held at an adventure playground, which was ideal for the younger children to play in and explore whilst their parents, safe in the knowledge that their children were in an enclosed area and under close supervision, could socialise with one another, with the staff at the event and, lucky them, with me! The event itself is held annually at the same location, and so orientating myself around the site brought back so many memories of the times when I had attended the day as a younger child with my mum. Honestly, it made me smile to think of myself then: a scared six-year-old, terrified of the world and of unfamiliar faces, desperately clinging on to my mum’s leg like some kind of security blanket. In some respects, things haven’t changed, and yet in others, you’d hardly recognise more. I’m taller now, I suppose… Gosh, though – weren’t those days easier?
What really made the day for me, however, was actually one of the simplest things that I could have done: talking. I spent much of the day speaking to parents and families about my experiences, any advice I could give them, and what they could expect in the years to come (their kids were primarily significantly younger than me). The feeling that accompanies the knowledge that, in a small way, you are directly helping people is one that can be described only by experiencing it, but it’s wonderful. For at least an hour (divided in the middle by my job of raffle-ticket drawing), two parents and I discussed my experiences of the mainstream education system, my hobbies outside of school, access to technology, things to help their child’s development of Braille skills and so, so much more. Even as I finished up and had to disappear off some place else, I genuinely felt that maybe – just maybe -, I’d been able to help, and use my own life experiences to help others. The icing on the cake was when they made a point of finding me to thank me for my time and my help before they left the site. To feel both helpful and appreciated was absolutely fantastic, and the ironic thing is that I almost felt gratitude towards them, for letting me speak and help, I suppose.
In my life, I’m often considered an expert in one field and one field alone: blindness. Hey, I have eight years of first-hand experience in the topic, and although I will never know everything there is to know, there are certain things that I do know that textbook-taught professionals just never will. First-hand experience, after all, cannot be attained through ink on a page. Still, what I’ve found in many areas of life, including in education environments, is that adults are very unwilling to learn from kids – admittedly, anyhow. Adults know everything, you know, and although they’ve never been blind or even visually impaired themselves, they still know more than the lifetime visually impaired kid, and eight year blindie.
Admitting that a child knows more than an adult would likely damage their ego, and although adults are generally the voices of authority, it would do them no harm to listen to their younger counterparts from time to time, especially if there’s the likelihood of the child knowing more than them in a particular area. I’m sure, therefore, you can understand my true delight when people actually listened to what I had to say on Wednesday – there are, thank goodness, people in the world who realise that I know what I’m on about!
Anyway, that’s it for this post: I hope you enjoyed it! I’m approaching 400 followers on this blog… Exciting times!!!