October is Blindness Awareness month. 😎
Did you know that most people are super freaked out by a #littleblindgirl riding the normal ‘ole school bus? Can you believe that we have to train EVERY new bus driver we get? (Eme does that by freaking them out when she gets on the bus with her long white cane & going to sit wherever she wants just like the other kids.) She doesn’t blink an eye & neither do the kids that have been in classes with her.
Make no mistake, the bus drivers routinely TRY to make her sit in the front seat – where the Kindergarteners ride on our school buses. Over the years, I have empowered her to handle that little injustice. Not me. And yes, she has had to be assertive at a very young age & stand up for her desire to not be treated like a Kindergartener. This is her reality.
Blind people of all ages constantly have to stand their ground & work against our human nature to help & protect those with no sight. They have to fight our low expectations. We’re the problem.
We can’t fathom getting on a bus & going to school if we couldn’t see. It truly is beyond our ability to relate & beyond our ability to imagine ourselves doing it. But blind people do it every single day. To this day – Eme is 11 & in middle school – and has 1000s of school days under her belt. She’s lived in our community her entire life & it STILL happens. She’s held to the expectations of a Kindergartener.
Furthermore, we have times when bus drivers REALLY don’t want to let her off of the bus unless a parent is standing right there at the bus stop to receive her. Did I mention that my daughter is 11? Double digits. In 6th grade. This is another expectation of parents of Kindergarteners. It’s just insane the things that blind kids & their parents have to endure.
Most people have zero understanding of non-visual techniques & the potential capabilities of those that use them. Many times bus drivers stop & call the school for advice on whether to let Eme off at her stop or to bring her back to the school. The school calls me & I answer that call once – at the beginning of the year – and I simply say, “Yes, we are aware Eme is coming home from school on the bus. Please let her off of the bus.”
Yes, we know the world is full of crazy people & predators lurking everywhere. But how is she going to develop these much needed self-advocacy skills if she’s not provided the opportunity to develop them & practice using them? Routinely, in the name of advocacy & awareness & safety, I hide like I did today in this video. 🤣
I let her flex her self-advocacy muscles.
I let her handle it.
Is it uncomfortable for her? Of course.
Do people think she can’t get on & off the bus by herself! You betcha.
Do they eventually get with the program?
Watch & see!
We’re 1/2 way through our 1st quarter of school. 🚌