This afternoon I spoke at a meeting for parents of blind children in El Paso, TX. The presentation went very well. I was actually pleased with my presentation, especially since I was winging it seriously. We weren't given any idea about what kinds of questions the host would have. So this morning I was sort of playing around with things I'd like to say if I had the opportunity. I ended up getting to say most of them; and if nothing else, I got some very nice comments on my style from one of the other presenters. Interestingly, the topic of blindness and barriers to employment came up and the discussion took a very surprising turn. Not one panelist made a big deal about blindisms or social skills. In fact, most of the others had had very similar experiences to mine. It's amazing how that changed my strength level!
I hooked right up with a preemie mommy for dinner, and I've really enjoyed getting to know her! She's the "cream of the crop" parent--"I am not sending my child to TSB. What are these people thinking?" Most of the parents here are originally from Mexico, and many came here just to get help for the blind kids. Many are all ready to send their kids to the school for the blind or the rehab center in Austin--575 miles to learn basic skills that could be taught at home if parents would make time! Obviously that's one of my hot buttons. I'm glad they recognize their own perceived limitations and are willing to make that sacrifice, but at 575 miles those kids won't be home on weekends. It makes me very sad, and I'm so glad to see at least one family is willing and ready to go the extra mile themselves, even though they have four other kids who need them too.
The trip was quite interesting. I met up with a couple from Dallas who actually raise puppies for Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. They were picking up a new puppy, so Meg got to ride with a little eight-week-old black Lab on the way to Dallas.
The lady driving the electric cart between terminals in Dallas was rude. She got mad at whoever for not telling her I had a dog. Then she put me on a seat by myself and refused to let other people get on because of Meg even though I kept saying it wasn't a problem if they wanted to get on. One poor lady was about to miss her flight, and having been there and done that it just made me furious that someone would use my dog as an excuse to make someone late for a connection! Finally I managed to insist that she let someone on, and of course it was no problem.