Compass directions

In searching for something to write about today I came across something that can help the parents, maybe the para-professionals, and maybe the teachers of a blind child or student. I posted this on Thursday because it talks about mobility and orientation, but it could have also went up on Wednesday. That is why it is in two categories on this blog. I hope you enjoy.

I can’t think of a better way to introduce a article than to tell about my own experience with learning compass directions. I mean I guess I could be like “here’s this article thing. Read it, or don’t.”, but where’s the fun in that? Okay… here goes the story!

When I first started learning my compass directions I learned them how the article described “In front of you is north” ETC. However, I learned them while standing on the street and also based on the sun’s position in the sky. As you can probably imagine this was great if one is standing outside, but not so great when looking at a map. To this day I still have to look at the little compass thing on the map before I can locate anything and if there isn’t one I am completely lost. I suppose the great thing is that I always know which direction I’m traveling based on where the sun is, or maybe not. I guess it depends on the time of day. 🙂

Well that is how *not* to teach your child compass directions, but what can you do. The article lists a few suggestions and you can check out the article here. One of the reasons I suggested that it might be good for teachers or Para-professionals is because instead of saying “object A is to the left” one could say “Object is to the west” and so on. This is assuming that the child in question has learnd his/her directions first though. 😀 I hope you enjoy this article.

Thanks for reading!

P. S. This article I linked to earlier is not mine. If you found anything within the linked-in article itself that you think might be a mistake or wrong pleas don’t contact me about it. Instead you might want to contact familyconnect.org as the article is there property. Just thought I’d put that out there.

PPS. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the article. Just giving copyright to whomever has it. 😀 That being said if you find any mistakes in anything I posted and you think I should correct it please tweet me personally or contact the blog’s twitter Just putting that out there for any new readers who haven’t read the contact us page yet. 😉

Do you have any questions for me regarding college?

I just spent a good five minutes at least trying to think of something to write about for Monday (today). The only thing I can come up with is to ask you if you have any questions about college. Maybe you’re new to the whole college thing, or maybe you just have a question for me. Whatever it is ask me and I might be able to answer the question in the next blog post. Please keep in mind that I’m not an expert in all things college and anything I might say is either my opinion or gained through my experience. Yours may be completely different from mine and that’s okay. Send your questions to my twitter

It doesn’t have to be about the admissions process the questions can be about the availability of braille, screen readers, or textbooks and so on. I can’t answer questions about dorm living though. I’ve never actually lived in a dorm. Have a great day and thanks for reading this.

Hands Off: Defining Consent as a person with a Disability

Dear readers,
I want to address all of you today on an issue that has received considerable media attention in recent weeks in the wake of the Stanford rape case but that has largely (if unintentionally) excluded people with disabilities from the conversation. I want to talk to you about consent—more specifically, the questions and challenges that arise around the ways that people with disabilities negotiate consent.

In conversations about rape culture, we often discuss the all-too familiar problem of victim-blaming. Victims dress a certain way, speak a certain way, exhibit specific body language, consume too much alcohol, or otherwise “invite” acts of sexual violence. We also address the argument of self-defense; people question (and victims often question themselves) how they might have defended themselves against unwanted advances, which still places blame on the victim. If the victim had screamed, called for help, or physically retaliated, the attack wouldn’t have occurred. Yet any of you reading this who has found yourself receiving unwanted sexual advances can affirm that such claims fail to take into account how fear and shock can be immobilizing sensations, particularly if you’ve been physically restrained or overpowered by your attacker.

This question of self-defense holds particular relevance within the disabled community, for however independently we function, we can’t deny that our various disabilities can sometimes impact our physical mobility, including the ability to anticipate or react to threatening situations. I can only speak for myself and others in the blind and visually impaired community, and we face specific concerns regarding consent that the sighted community takes largely for granted. Anyone who has ever been physically intimate with someone, or even exchanged casual flirtation, knows that the rhythms of physical intimacy and communication rely as much on visual cues and the ability to read body language as on tactile cues. People show interest in one another, for instance, by smiling or making eye contact. The blind or visually impaired, on the other hand, can’t rely on such signals. In a relaxed social or professional environment where we feel comfortable, we often appreciate it, for example, when someone touches our shoulder or arm in a loud room if we can’t hear that person calling us by name. Yet many of us can also agree that we don’t appreciate being touched without warning, particularly by someone we don’t know well—even someone we do.

We all have varying levels of comfort with personal space. If I know you well, I will probably hug you; if I’ve never met you, I will more likely shake your hand and keep my distance. I don’t exhibit this body language out of rudeness, but more out of the desire to maintain the degree of personal space that meets my comfort level.

Physical and sexual intimacy have their own set of personal space ground rules. If you can’t see another person, you can’t see that person reaching to drape an arm over your shoulders, or to take your hand, or to lean in for a kiss. As such, that gesture might catch you off guard if the person you’re with doesn’t announce his or her intention. Recently I found myself in this precise situation. I was spending time with someone I trusted; he wanted to be physically intimate. While I gave my initial consent (initial being the operative word) to be touched, I decided not to move any further when he became rough and I felt uncomfortable. I attempted to stop him; he continued despite my protests. He insisted that he thought I was enjoying it; he insisted that I had given him mixed signals; he insisted that “nothing” had happened because he didn’t remove his clothes, so apparently, lying on top of me and pulling my hair constitutes “nothing.” His argument bore all the hallmarks of classic apologism—making excuses for his behavior that shifted the blame off of himself and onto me.

In the aftermath of the situation, I wondered what more I might have done to protect myself. Why didn’t I scream? Why didn’t I hit him? Why didn’t I fight harder to extricate myself from him? These responses, responses in which we blame ourselves for the actions of others, are symptomatic of rape culture. Rape culture indoctrinates us with the belief that victims somehow bring sexual violence on themselves through the way they dress, speak, how much alcohol they drink, ETC., ETC., ETC.

Friends, I want to make this point crystal clear: you are never responsible for the actions another person makes toward you without your consent. Never trivialize or allow anyone else to trivialize actions that make you feel uncomfortable or threatened. If you don’t consent when someone wants to hold your hand, and that person insists that “it’s just holding hands,” that argument fails to take your comfort level into account. If the person grabs your hand anyway, you’re being touched without your consent. Trivializing any action that makes you uncomfortable sets up a highly dangerous slippery slope; it’s the reason why Brock Turner only received a 6-month prison sentence for “twenty minutes of action”—a phrase that disgustingly trivialized the rape he committed.

To return to the concern I raised earlier in this post that not having the benefit of reading nonverbal body language can complicate a blind or visually impaired person’s ability to anticipate behavior, people with disabilities are uniquely situated to invite conversation about consent. While sharing my experience with a few close friends, we discussed the fact that at the heart of rape culture lies the problem that we teach the importance of self-defense without teaching consent. A clear understanding of consent would help to mitigate, if not entirely alleviate the need to practice the constant vigilance we’re taught to practice. Because the challenges of reading body language create a greater need to communicate the importance of consent, having a frank conversation with others about your comfort level with physical intimacy can be a productive starting point. I, for instance, generally like to stipulate that someone ask before touching me for the first time. Relationship experience has taught me that, like anything else, once I become intimate with someone and he learns how to communicate physical affection in ways that I’m comfortable with, asking or alerting me to the fact that he’s going to touch me becomes unnecessary. Such conversations serve the dual purpose of educating others about best practices when interacting with a blind or visually impaired person and defining the perimeters of consent. If you lay down such perimeters, anyone who disregards them is acting without your consent. End of story. Anyone who genuinely wants to spend time in your company will respect your wishes.

On a side note, I want to add that we tend to discuss sexual violence along gendered lines of male aggressors and female victims; this wrongly implies that men aren’t victims of sexual violence. As a woman with a disability, my understanding of and response to this issue is naturally informed by my experiences as a woman; however, the rules of consent apply to both genders, and the concerns surrounding consent that I’ve raised here are by no means specific to women. Men with disabilities can and do share these concerns.

Question

How can people with disabilities find voice in the conversation about rape culture and sexual violence? Share your thoughts!

We cannot reply to your emails.

Hi! I thought I would come on here and express my apologies for the lack of replies. Especially if you’ve sent us an email and we’ve never responded. I’m/we aren’t sure what’s going on with it, but we hope to get it fixed as soon as this darn website quits going offline. I/we paid the bills, I promise!

So once again if you do not receive a reply from us do not panic. We will answer you as soon as I figure out what’s wrong with this email. Or maybe I should say “we” not I. If it’s urgant please tweet us I try to check the twitter at least once a day for replies and such. I hope everyone has a great summer. 😀

Thanks for reading!

The Amazon Echo

Hi there! How are you? This isn’t mine, but I thought I’ would share it anyway.

Since none of us actually own an Amazon Echo I thought it would be wise to share a podcast from someone who does. He not only has one Echo, but three. Though, he says that he’s returning one of them soon… maybe. lol. His name is @richcav and we have his permission to use this.

Enjoy this podcast! Maybe in the next couple of weeks I can get the podcasts I’ve done uploaded. That way you’ll have new material. If you have any questions please contact him at the link above. You know, the one with his name on it? lol.

Thanks for letting us use this again, Rich! We really appreciate it. Thanks for reading everyone!

Where is everyone?

In recent months you may have noticed that there are no posts from us. I can’t tell you where anyone else is, or what they’re doing. However, I can tell you where I was. So here goes… something

It’s mostly been homework. Though, part of it has been related to my personal life. I know, I usually don’t talk about that kind of stuff on here, but in this case I feel like it’s necesary. Not to gain sympathy, but to let you know why I haven’t been posting and why I still won’t be for a while… maybe.

On Feb. 14 of this year my mom was rushed to the hospital because she couldn’t breath. I’ll save you all the boring details and the ones I don’t want to get into, but we thought she’d be okay. Especially because she was suppose to be released (she’d spent about ten days in the hospital at that point.) A few hours later she was rushed back to the hospital. On March second 2016 my mom died. It was unexpected because the Doctors had told us that it would happen. It was also unexpected because we all thought she would get better.

My mom inspired so many of my posts including, but not limited to one called “mom! I don’t know if I’d ever want to see”. Despite all my criticisims she was a great mom and she did the best she could. I’m going to miss her a lot and I know she’s in a better place now.

I’ve left this blog in the very capable hands of a couple of other admins and I think them for taking this over. I can’t tell you why they haven’t been posting, but that’s why there has been a very large lack of posts from me. Thanks guys for running this thing. lol.

I can tell you that we have been working behind the scenes on some things that could turn out to be really cool. (well some of us have anyway) If we can ever get it off the ground. I’m so excited for it. 🙂 So rest assured that even though, we haven’t been posting much we’re definitely working on some cool stuff.

Thanks for reading!

  • Our twitter

    • Archived post: Some Websites That I Know Of That Work Well With Jaws https://t.co/G8iAVyx2Ml
      about 7 hours ago
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      about 15 hours ago
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      about 23 hours ago
    • Archived post: A New Accessible Website https://t.co/32cS2zoxzI
      about 1 day ago
    • Archived post: Mom I don't know if I'd ever want to see. https://t.co/RptM51YDhQ
      about 2 days ago
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      about 2 days ago
    • Archived post: Complete WEBAIM survey 7 https://t.co/rnQrqNRTwY
      about 2 days ago
    • Archived post: Graduation And an announcement https://t.co/hKQnl0hBX6
      about 3 days ago
    • Archived post: What happens if you can't get braille books? https://t.co/7RGKh5cI9j
      about 3 days ago
    • Archived post: Missing members of the team. What happened? https://t.co/PRAUeN8n95
      about 3 days ago