I am increasingly more and more concerned about the emphasis that seems to be put upon blind and partially sighted people these days that we need sighted assistance in order to live our lives to the full.
I can honestly say that there are very few things in and around the home that I can’t do. OK, I don’t do DIY but my partner does the basics, and he too is blind. I also don’t paint or decorate because I can’t see to do it. However, not doing these things doesn’t set me apart as a blind person as there are plenty of women and a lot of men too who don’t do these tasks.
OK, I don’t do my garden, but that is because I’m lazy, not because I am blind. I don’t do my own cleaning because I believe that our weekends together are for other things and I am fortunate enough to be able to pay someone to do it for me.
Today I was told I was expecting too much from my guide dog in training because I expected her to work onto a bus. The advice was to take off the harness and seek sighted assistance to board the bus. So GDBA are clearly advocating that as blind people, we should not expect to be able to board a bus independently.
Some of us don’t have sighted help at home from other family members. those of us who work are met with howls of derision by social services departments if we dare to ask for a couple of hours’ support a week to help ensure a good standard of cleanliness in the home and to assist with form filling.
So, we maintain our independece as best we can and protect it fiercely. it is therefore soul-destroying when organisations such as Guide dogs suggest that we can’t now, because of changing times and health and safety expect the same level of independence as in times gone by.
I’ll be teaching my dog to board buses, to navigate railway stations and if necessary to travel on escalators, with or without help from GDBA. And, to hell with the assumption when I do ask for a little help, that we all have sighted help to draw on.