While on my last mobility lesson with Elaine I ran into one of my judo student’s mothers, who said a quick hello in passing, as not to interrupt us. I was so fixated on what I was doing with Elaine I managed to forget her name to introduce her!

However, this brings another point. Though my judo students and parents know, I will now be using a white cane to travel. (We talked about it in class and what the white cane means.) I still have that uneasy feeling of “Now they know I can’t see well“. I’ve never really hid my disability from others; but now with the white cane in hand I can’t help but feel a little embarrassed.

HidingI also feel a little sad for other friends and how they may feel around others in public, because they cannot hide their disabilities because they use wheelchairs or walkers to get around. Do we ever really get over what others think of us?

How should you feel?

The only way you would know I had bad eyesight was if I was reading something with the paper close to my nose. If I met you in passing on the street, unless I had my cane, you would never know.

I really do my best to educate my students about how some people are different, and how some children, and adults have disabilities, like bad eyesight, are blind, or can’t walk. I teach them to respect disabled people as equals, and that you should never make fun of some one because of their disability.

I also explain as much as I can, and as much as I think they will understand about the disability at hand, be it my own eyesight, or our pen pal friend Cole who has Cerebral Palsy; and because of Ilia, Cole’s service dog, we also get to talk about service animals, like assistance dogs, and guide dogs. – I do my best…

Well, at least explaining why I’m using the white cane is a little easier then explaining how I’m a photographer, with a white cane… But if you really want to know you can read my post, The Blind Photographer.

To my own amazement some of my students, some of the youngest already know more then you think. As J says “I know a boy in school who uses a stick like that.” referring to my white cane. (I also know the boy he is talking about.) Or the some times off the wall questions I get, like from K who asked “Does Ilia carry Cole’s food tray in school?“…

So, what are some of the odd questions you get? Or how do you feel in public, when you wish every thing was just “normal“. Please, post your thoughts and comments!

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