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reflections on independence

I'm glad to see that some comments finally went through on the nondriving post. It's sad to see someone's post go without comments when they need support badly. I do hope things end up being ok for her. I think the biggest societal problem we have is an idolization of independence. We all know how to give to others, but very few of us know adequately how to receive from others. One of my friends in seminary said last semester that being a minister meant learning to allow other people to give to her. This has stayed with me. It's very profound, and I don't have time at the moment to write about it at the moment. Somehow, knowing when and when not to lay aside my "independence" seems like an important part of my emotional and spiritual maturity. It's not necessarily easy; but it's vital.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC)
I have refrained from commenting on the driving & epilepsy issue simply because my beliefs on the matter are not necessarily those of the genral majority of the epileptic community. I am totally independent even back when I was very ill. I had friends to support me when I fell down so to speak but I maintained a strong will to stand no matter what. I shaped the world I lived in to target the ability to be independent. Moved to where I could have public transportation without a car. I grew up in the suburbs where cars were a vital part of getting around and i knew this wouldn't work as time went on and the unpredictability of the epilepsy might rear its ugly head over time periodicly.

I have lived through other people who have died after being told they were clear to drive and then got once again behind the wheel of a car and that was their last time. In some cases they took others with them never to return as well.

Life is FULL of too many options.
HELL...I will ride a horse instead of a car if necessary.

The 'greys' involved are just not worth it.

And having a car makes you no more independent.
As a matter of fact it can take your independence away if suddenly you have no back-up plan.

We make our world around us what it is.

There are no promises.


If i mention any of this to the 'youngins' in the community lists I will get my head handed to me because many are still going through the growth period that i also went through at their ages of acceptance, coping, and reality checks as they come along.

At least we have more options than perhaps a 'sight' person does.

I give YOU and others MORE credit for how you must decide how to get around.

Would you believe there are still people/places in NYC who have little understanding of a seeing eye dog and other assistive things as well???

To be human is to be...foolish.

Hence I keep my mouth shut and I will live another day without hurting somebody else unintentionally.
Mar. 4th, 2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
I had wondered in the past why you moved to NYC from Virginia, but didn't want to be rude by asking you about it.

Silly me for not putting two and two together.


Would you believe there are still people/places in NYC who have little understanding of a seeing eye dog and other assistive things as well???

In regards to that, did you hear about the high school student who is deaf and not allowed to bring a guide dog with him to school because administrators say that it will be a "disturbance to other students"? He said that he only wanted to bring the dog because he cannot hear important things such as fire alarms and the like. While I understand about the admins wanting to make sure that things run smoothly, I feel that they just want to accomodate for all the "normal" students instead of one who cannot hear and has trouble enough as it is.

I feel awful for that boy, and I feel sorry for the people in charge at the school for being so ignorant.

I think that when people who plan to be in education go to college to get their degrees should take at least 2-5 classes on working with children who are disabled in one way or another.

When I went, we only took ONE and all it really covered was the main reasons why special ed was developed and some of its aspects, such as IEPs for example. I don't remember the class talking at ALL about the behind-the-scenes obstacles that disabled children may face every day.

But, as usual, that's my opinion/2-cents on the matter.
Mar. 4th, 2007 08:14 pm (UTC)
the deaf student with the dog
If that student had been blind, they would never have denied his dog. Same if it had been an employee. His family should have sued for his rights under the ADA. Hearing dogs are considered service animals and have the same access rights as dog guides.
Mar. 5th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
Re: the deaf student with the dog
They are suing last I heard, and I'm VERY surprised that the school officials are treating him this because of the ADA.

Here is the link if you're interested in more info:

Mar. 4th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)

I never moved to NYC from virginia :)

I grew up in northern suburbs about an hour out of nyc...Yonkers, NY :D

My PARENTS moved to williamsburg, va about 3 yrs ago per they always dreamed of living there finally as do I truthfully.

And the hearing dog thing happens all the time here in NYC.

Stupid people.
Mar. 5th, 2007 02:35 am (UTC)
Oh, OK.

So you want to eventually live in Virginia as well?
Mar. 5th, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
Here is the link for you, and SURPRISE! It says that it's a school in Long Island.

Mar. 4th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
nondriving, NYC, etc.
I appreciate your perspective a lot; and you are not alone. I moderate a group for people with nonepileptic seizures, and we have some members who share your views. I also have feelings about riding with drivers with epilepsy due to the unpredictability factor, although it's not considered polite to say to people, "Is there any reason why I should not ride with you?" As a pedestrian who cannot see what drivers are doing, I think I have a right to expect that drivers take full responsibility for being in control of their vehicles at all times. People get mad when I say this stuff--driving is a rite of passage, you know. I wish it wasn't! My feelings don't just extend to people with epilepsy but also to people with visual disturbances, conditions that affect their control of their motor skills, and conditions that generally affect judgment. If people want to drive and they have a condition that is controllable, then they should control it. If they want to drive, then they should refrain from drinking. Blah blah blah. It all affects my safety as a walker on the road--or on the sidewalk (because people who lose control of their cars don't stay on the roads).

I do know about the dog issue in NYC. Sadly, people in NYC have a much harder time with the taxi system and other general public access than I do. I have to pay more and take longer to get places; but the advantage of living in a mid-size town is that people know about me even though they don't know me personally. They know enough to know that access matters, and a little education goes a very long way. If we had better transit options between here and Indianapolis, I would probably live in Anderson for the rest of my life with the exception of the years I spend in a doctoral program. I'm quite inclined to do it anyway. Socially, I'm not necessarily satisfied; but I'm not necessarily convinced that multiplying the population by a hundred or a thousand will change that for me. Bigger population often just means more busy people. I wouldn't be happy in a tiny town, but I've got plenty of culture here...

Just rambling over chocolate and a purring kitty...
Mar. 4th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
I was raised to be independent but sometimes I think my mom over did it. I hate to go sighted guide, for one thing, and I can't understand why so many people do. I just can't do it. They'll leave their dogs or canes at home and be led around. It makes me cringe but I keep my mouth shut. I think finding that balance between independent and dependent is hard. The word I like is interdependent because we must learn to depend on each other and ourselves to survive.
Mar. 4th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
Very well said :)
Mar. 4th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
sighted guide
Hmm... There's definitely a time and place for sighted guide. I think for a lot of people it has to do with the ability to handle a busy public situation more easily or the ability to converse more easily. For some, following ability may be hindered by poor spatial skills. Some may just prefer it. I feel a lot more comfortable following when I have my dog than when I don't, mainly because I need more feedback from the person when I'm using a cane and it's just easier to not require the verbal feedback, especially if the place is noisy. This has become more true as I've lost some of my hearing and my ability to pick a person out of a crowd has become affected.

Interdependence is a good concept. I've noticed at seminary that a lot of the "nondisabled" people are very giving people but are extremely uncomfortable when the situation is reversed and anyone is giving to them, whether it's me or someone else. In a way, seeing this has been good for me. It has kept me from feeling like they just dthink that I'm there to take care of. I see them have trouble with receiving from people who give to them just because, and I realize the problem really is about their feelings about receiving.
Mar. 4th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
We do indeed idolize independence sometimes to the detriment of ourselves. It seems to me a huge part of this is societal messages that it is somehow wrong to ask for help in any circumstance. As a blind person, I even tend to get this message from the blind community. It's a very delicate balancing act, and I've lost my balance plenty of times.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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