51

Yeah, it is true that there are a few things that schools for the blind do well, most of which are centered around extracurriculars and sports. I said in my original post in this topic that not all of my experiences at the school I attended were negative. Well, most of the positive experiences that I had were because I was able to participate in sports, something I never in a million years could have dreamed of doing in public school. Besides, gym class was a nightmare in public school, just another excuse for everyone to point and laugh at me. Anyway, I was able to play goalball, and I ran track and was also on the swimming team. Those were oppurtunities I wouldn't take back if given a chance. I also participated in the choir, which admittedly I could have done in public school as well, but I doubt those backwards assholes would have given me the time of day if I'd tried, so I do feel like that was another oppurtunity I otherwise wouldn't have had.

And, while I 100% agree with everyone who has stated that these places stunt your growth socially, I did have to say that the first true friendships I ever forged were at the school for the blind. Oh, I dealt with my fair share of backstabbers, dysfunctional blindies, and well, folks who would have been dysfunctional even with 20/20 vision, but I at least had connections there. In public school, everyone either ignored me, pretended to be my friend so that they could make fun of me later, outright bullied me, or, on the rare occasions where someone dared to be bold enough to try and befriend me, it was usually short-lived because their friends would no longer associate with them if they had anything to do with me. So I can at least say that, had I stayed in public school, I would have had some pretty severe trust issues. Not that I don't have some already, but I can practically guarantee that they would be a billion times worse.

The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.

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52

I'm in public school and nobody treats me like that. It depends on the school you go to. I experienced mostly negativity in blind schools, I can't think of 1 positive thing that happened to me there.

You can follow me on twitter @brogar2000, and my Skype is garrett.brown2014. If you want to follow me on any of these things, please tell me you're from the forum, or else I won't follow you back. Also, it depends on who you are.

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53

I'm glad your experience has been positive. As I said, I've heard that mainstreaming in general has come a long way since I was in school. Keep in mind that I graduated from high school nearly 10 years ago, and the last time I was in a public school was 2005. Also, that school I attended is in a rural area, and we've got racists, crackpots and Trump supporters aplenty around here. So my experience may very well not be indicatave of what a student would experience in modern times and circumstances.

The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.

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54

@50, the capital punishment is definitely a deserved punishment. If someone in your family got raped, or any of your friends got raped, wouldn't you want the death penalty applied to them? I know I certainly would!
My experiences at the North Dakota School for the Blind were nowhere near as bad as they could've been, and I'm quite thankful they weren't. One thing I didn't like was how the school always taught you the homemade way of making things, and only that way, rather than the processed way. I get that homemade skills are good to have, but it's good to get a little bit of everything. I'm still connected to the school for the blind -- they and I chat via Email these days -- and every friendship I forged there is still working out nicely. But just because my particular experience was good doesn't mean I like them. I was mostly educated in the public school, and at the start of my education it was terrible. My mom tells me of incidents where, in kindergarten, they'd lock me up in this cage-like place, or the kids would bully me or find any way of excluding me. I, fortunately, have no memory of those events, something I'm quite grateful for. (I probably do have all those memories; it's just my subconscious refusing to recall them.) My first two years of K12 education -- first and second grade, I mean, and even third -- weren't good either. I didn't have anyone to help me out -- how could anyone expect me to fully know how to educate myself at such an early age? -- but I didn't have any assistive technology either. I moved to North Dakota in October of 2008. My 9 years here have been excellent. Ever since I moved here I have not only received enough assistance that I could at least learn independence, but I was also taught how to function without someone there to always help me. I learned that, while independence is important, it doesn't hurt to ask for help, and so I've never understood why some people think that asking for help is bad or something like that. I've done my bad fair share of things; hell, in eighth grade I got caught violating my schools AUP, got lectured and punished, but the punishment wasn't even close to corporal. I got what I deserved and that was that. I've had teachers I've disliked, but mostly things have been good. Now I'm in college, and things have been mostly going well here (excluding the fact that I had to drop math class this semester because the book lists for everyone were sent out later than usual, so I didn't have any time to prepare... and they wouldn't convert to Epubs, fuck amazon!). I'm happy here, and moving to ND was probably one of the best decisions my family has ever made. But my passed, both digital, non-digital and familial, do have bad spots and dark moments.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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55

Time to weigh in, I guess...
I was mainstreamed all the way through... I'm glad I was.  I graduated with honors in the advanced placement program class of 2006 and have never looked back.  The very few times I visited the school for the blind in my neck of the woods I was shocked by how little excellence I saw coming out of it.  I honestly felt like my overall self worth dropped the longer I stayed there.  No, you don't cross streets like this, you do it like this.  Listen, you feel those little bumps on the middle of the road?  You follow those!  You need this kind of cane!  don't hold your lunch tray that way, hold it like this!  what?  Is that an argument?  what kind of logic is that?  You carried your brailler with you in school?  We have braillers in every classroom!  No, you cannot stay in your room all the time, by yourself, you need to interact with all these other blind people... You what?  they're just like you; never mind that they're rocking and you're not... Never mind that they're gouging out their eyeballs and you're not... You've never heard of such a thing?  Where are you from?  Oh that blind guy touching you all over?  He's just searching for insert random thing he lost 20 seconds ago; all of them here do it that way... Not you?
All of the worst stereotypes, and much, much more... No, freaking, joke, because in a school for the blind, many of the students are going to have other issues that can't and won't easily be explained away.  while you're likely to encounter this at mainstream schools you'll usually do so in self contained classes and you're aware that said classes have special needs students, so it doesn't come as a shocker when some random someone or another comes up to you and starts touching your hair or trying to talk to you in what sounds like another language, occasionally dropping in a bunch of weird noises and mannerisms you can hardly find a purpose for.
I could go deeper and relate a kagillion horror stories, but I honestly don't see the point.  You either love segregation of this nature or you just flat out hate it, but if your parents sent you off to one of these rather than trying to homeschool you themselves, you sincerely have my sympathy.

I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.

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56

Oh, and a big thumbs up to post 18, a great illustration of everything I wrote in my previous post.

I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.

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57

Well put, Nocturnus. I also had a very not-so-good impression when I went to the one school for the blind here in Canada... and pretty much the same as yours. I'm a little bit more neutral than some of the people here, but I definitely would not send any of my kids to a segregated school. I don't hate them, but I think the term braille jail is quite appropriate... and nothing people have said to me over the years has shifted my stance a whole lot.

regards,
assault_freak

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58

@54 killing people never has and never will stop people doing bad things. just look at America where they still do it. more people are raped and murdered there than pretty much anywhere else in the world.

while I agree with the anger and hatred people feel towards the purpitrators, I don't think just killing them solves anything. personally, I'd rather have them rot in prison for the rest of their lives. they suffer longer that way but I'm not sure we want to turn this thread in to a capital punishment argument or it will defeat the original point and plus it'll go on for ever.

what does seem to be coming more and mor apparent though is the amount of bad experiences people have had with the education system in general.

nasty as it is to relive and write this stuff down, I think it's giving people an insite, and possibly helping people let out pent up feelings they've had for a long time. I know in my case I found that happening while I was typing some of my posts.

so I hope we can stick to the subject and not get in to the hole, let's go string 'em up thing. doesn't help anything.

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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yeah nock, I feel the same. When ever i'm at summer camp at the school in canada, (W Ross for those in canada), I felt like everyone did things a certain way and every other way was wrong. I felt the same about the other kids being weird... And when I rocked i'm never told to stop. God, I could never spend 10 months a year in a place like that. Also somebody I know who went there posted on his facebook something about "I wish my kallage had braille on the doorways like my old school" that just shows how much people at blind schools take braille and things for granted... Not everywhere has them and sometimes you have to express to somebody that you need them. Its also wurth noting that some people don't even think that going to public schools is possible at all. One kid asked me if I was ever going to go to the school. When I finished explaining why I never would he asked me "How do you do your work if your not at a school for the blind?" Jesus christ, people need to live in the real god damn world! Its possible to live normally with sighted people and go to school with everybody else! Why the hell on god's sort of green but heating up earth can't some people realize this?

I am the blind jedi, I use the force to see. I am the only blind jedi.

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60

Sorry for the double post, but in my rant I forgot to mention that I feel my IQ is dropping bit by bit the longer I am at the school. I don't feel blind or disabled normally but there I really start to.

I am the blind jedi, I use the force to see. I am the only blind jedi.

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61

I can agree with that sentiment. I think schools for the blind encourage people to be lazy in many ways, socially and academically most of all. I also encountered a lot of kids who were much more immature than one would expect for their age group, and I'm not talking about those who actually had intellectual disabilities, although there were plenty of those around too. I honestly don't know what's worse, though. Becoming stagnant in a place where you're not encouraged to grow, or having to fight tooth and nail every single day to be not only included, but treated like a human being. That was my public school experience in a nutshell, and I have to say I have far more lasting bitterness about that than the loss of freedom, autonomy, and possible success I suffered at the school for the blind. Of course, both are quite bad in their own right, and, had I had a better public school experience in the first place, I doubt I'd even be sitting here having this conversation today. Or, at the very least, my perspective would be radically different. it's interesting to think about, that's for sure.

The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.

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62

The term braille gaol always amuses me big_smile.

one odd thing at least as far  I gathered in primary school, over here schools for the blind tended to be academically better, simply because people are so regimented there is nothing else to do but! learn, since it's not as if there is much else to do or a lot by way of distractions.  Also because class sizes are smaller kids get more individual attention from a teacher, indeed for a long time I was in a class with only three other kids.
This meant I learned things at the age of 9 at my specialist school which I wouldn't have done for another four or five years at mainstream school.

The problem of course comes when your required to motivate yourself to study and live on your own rather than be pushed into it.

On the subject of mainstream schools and bullying, again I've seen the extremes there. My secondary school as I said  was an absolute shithole, and the amount of bad stuff that happened to me at that place was pretty extreme, going past bullying into the realms of daily violence and sexual abuse.

When I went to a better mainstream school I had a far better experience, and not just because I wasn't being punch, spat on or worse four or five times a day, okay methinks that is enough detail.

The lesson of course is something of a no brainer, when sending a visually impared child to a mainstream school, don't pick a shithole, or allow the local county council to pick a shithole for you because they want to keep a school open, still worse one where the head master and exec staff actively turn a blind eye (pun definitely intended), to anything bad that is going on at all.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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63 (edited by Chris 2017-11-13 07:53:42)

I'm glad I only attended the Texas School for the Blind very infrequently. Some of these experiences are horrifying!

I went through mainstream school and the experience was great! I had plenty of support in terms of Braille and other assistive technology and generally think I received the same crappy education as everyone else.

The few times I went to TSBVI were mildly unpleasant. My main issue revolved around constant socialization and visual activities. I'll never forget the time we went to this video game arcade place called Gattitown. I wanted to ride on the bumper cars and they wouldn't let me. They claimed I could hit my head on something and damage the chances of recovering vision in the future. I'm not low vision, I'm utterly blind and don't expect to gain my sight for the rest of my life.

Public education was the best thing that happened to me. It exposed me to the "real world". I interacted with sighted people all the time. The only thing I regret was not making too many friends. My main focus was getting the work done so I could leave. I hated school! My confidence wasn't as high as it is now and I found I stuttered much more frequently than I do now. Then again, I've found that I don't need a lot of friends to be happy. Even if I only have one or two "true friends", I'm still happy. This probably ties into my introverted personality which is for another topic. I was never bullied or made fun of. I have to wonder if it's because of my friendly, easy-going personality? School was easy for the most part. I stopped caring after 6th grade or so but forced myself to finish it.

I graduated last year with Cum Laude. Being a public school, they constantly force-fed the "go to college! go to college! go to college!" line down my throat. I have no plans of attending a college. I'm going to receive technical training and either find a job somewhere or start my own computer repair/support business. I don't plan to follow the blind musician stereotype either.

Grab my Adventure at C: stages Right here.

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64

There's 1 other thing I forgot to mention about my experience as well. When I was at the summer camp, they had rules that you cannot let anyone touch your stuff no matter what. I was showing my friend QWS, and he asked me if he could try it. Of course, I said yes. A few minutes later when he left and I was in my room browsing the internet, a teacher came in. She asked me if I had been letting other kids touch my computer. When I told her I did, she brought up the rules to me again, to which I replied that it was my computer and I could do whatever I wished with it. She still would not back down.
@Post63 perhaps we should discuss this on Friday?
I have a theory. I think the reason why these schools are so restrictive is because they want to separate blind people from sighted people in an effort to rule them out. Think of that what you will.

You can follow me on twitter @brogar2000, and my Skype is garrett.brown2014. If you want to follow me on any of these things, please tell me you're from the forum, or else I won't follow you back. Also, it depends on who you are.

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65

I went to 2 schools for the blind and they each had their disadvantages and advantages. The first was a Catholic school for the blind. I went there up to 6th grade and what I really liked about this school was that we were mainstreamed into the sighted school connected to us. So both the school for the blind and the sighted school shared the same building. They have since moved but they are still close enough to a sighted school to mainstream their students. Starting in second grade we would go over to the sighted school for 1 class at first then 3 the following year. We had Religion, Social Studies, and Science as well as snack, lunch, recess, Choir, and some fieldtrips with the sighted school. This helped us out a lot socially in terms of development and stuff like that. Although there was still a small gap in maturity between us, being mainstreamed really helped improve our social relations. We were also held on a same level as they were. Our Math and reading had to be on the same level as them even though we had things like Mobility that took away from our schedule. Then I went to a blind school where the education wasn’t exactly in line with my peers. I knew that we lacked in certain areas but since I struggled to get my homework done in the old school I welcomed this change at first. What really made me like my new school better at first was all the technology and having sports teams after school and that sort of thing. So in high school I had Biology 3 times and the teacher was nice but she often had us watch the same films we watched before, and write down the same 5 facts like we’ve done in the past. History we were behind and Math and English we were on the same level as sighted peers. Although I think I was a bit behind in Math because I never really was good at it. However thanks to my English teacher I tested into college level English. I did have to take 2 precollege level Math classes but I got threw them. Having not been mainstreamed in the second school there was a lot of immatureness. The most mature of us were the ones that either went to a regular public school, or did things with sighted friends outside of school. That is 1 thing I am really thankful to my parents for doing. It is because of my parents that I had sighted friends and participated in cub scouts in my parish, and did theater at the local high school. So in the Catholic school for the blind it was a day school no dorms. So there we had interactions with sighted peers but I think it also fell on the parents to have us interact with other sighted peers. Some like my parents did push us but others just sat in their room all weekend listening to tapes, or only hanging out with other blind friends. In the second school the private school for the blind there were dorms and people did stay over. I don’t know too much about the dorm life but I know that they went out to see movies and stuff but never were placed with sighted peers. I couldn’t wait to get out of high school for a few reasons. Part of me wishes I stuck it out and stayed at the Catholic school for those last 2 years. We were treated like normal people at first. Then when I got into 9th 10th grade I noticed that we were being talked down too, that teachers weren’t as nice and talked about us like we weren’t there. They even would say watch where you’re going when we bumped into them sometimes. So did I hate being in a school for the blind? Not entirely. There were good moments and there were bad moments. I do wish I would have went to a regular sighted high school but if I had my mobility wouldn’t be where it is now. I wouldn’t be able to take public transportation by myself and have gotten to college on my own. I graduated a year later than I should of at 19 but that last year I was also taking a college class in the afternoon. I know that if I went to a regular high school that I would have struggled with the work at the time. So this topic isn’t really black or white for me it is more of a grey area. What I can say is that it got me to college and that a math teacher at the private school for the blind got me through my college Math courses. Now I’m in grad school and sure it took me a little longer to get there at 26 but I made it! So I can’t say that 1 is better than the other because they both have their perks and their drawbacks.

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

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66

Funny you mention mobility lessons there Jeffb. I'm afraid the school for the blind I went to was rather lacking in that, mostly because everything in the environment was so stratified and pre-determined, and there was  and only one way of learning it  what you were taught was based on that environment.

Eg you'd be told that there were three paces to a table and forced to step count, or have it patronisingly explained to you that the fourth door on the corridor was your classroom, but not given any instruction on what to do somewhere else, we didn't even get any cane training, though several students carried them anyway.

Most of my own mobility  occurred either through my parents, or a county council mobility officer. Indeed this might be a difference in the Uk since over here there are several different agencies responsible for mobility tuition and it's not left on the school, though of course like most agencies it depends upon how good the individual person is, though since they're working one on one and generally teaching in environments  a person is either taken to to practice mobility skills or based around routes a person needs, they don't have the same issue at all as that I mentioned in the special school.

Certainly those I've seen who have come from schools for the blind tended to have to learn mobility later.

Same goes for daily living type stuff, indeed I always found it odd that at the age of 10 at school I was rather patronisingly being taken through exercises on how to pour liquids, and how I should always use a jug and go slowly and hold one in one hand and one in the other, where I had been getting drinks for myself at home since the age of about six.

They even expected me to learn to pour breakfast serial in a proscribed way, when I couldn't stand the stuff (especially with milk on), and when I protested I was told "it is the rules"

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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67 (edited by pulseman45 2017-11-14 22:52:28)

@63: My experience in mainstream schools was pretty close to yours. There were a few pupils making fun of me, but it happened quite rarely.
Now that I think of it, though I wouldn't go back to that school for the blind if things had to be redone, I think the most problems I had with that school weren't due to said school being for the blind. It was the first time I had to stay over for the entire week, and at the end of the day we had two hours for homework, and we very rarely went out -which may have been different in a mainstream school, I admit it-. So all we were thinking about was studying, not much else, to the point it sometimes became almost unbearable.
In that regard, I can really thank myself and one of my friend for what we made for my last year there. We asked to be allowed to form a Heavy Metal band, and we were allowed to repeat at Tuesday evening every week. I was allowed to borrow the PSRS-910 as I wanted to be the keyboardist, my friend played the drums and two other friends later joined for the other instruments. This went to the point it became my favourite moment of the week by far, as we were in this room, playing Heavy Metal like anyone else who would have wanted to, not to mension it was probably one of the least appreciated style of music in the school, to the point we wrote "rock band" instead of "heavy metal band" in the letter we sent to ask for the band to form. It was among those rare moment I could say I felt free, or more exactly, I felt like I was doing something that I wouldn't even have dreamt of when I entered this school.
So in the end, though I still kind of wish I staid in minstream schools all allong, I have to say that the experience was much better than it could have been and I shouldn't regret these years as they also brought good moments.

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I did half of my schooling in catholic school and the other half at a school for the blind. I can say I had good and bad experiences in both.
In mainstream schools I didn't really have difficulty when it came to accommodation, and I wasn't bullied very often either. Actually I was well liked by my support workers who worked with me one-on-one most of the time.
The problem lies in the fact I wasn't a part of anything. I was out of the classroom 90 percent of the time, because my braille was too noisy for the rest of the kids to learn and because my workers always had to be talking to me when teaching me math on the abacus. So the other kids weren't seeing me in class. At recess they would talk to me, but it was mostly curiosity about my cane and that sort of things. It wasn't like I was included in their play all that often.
Then I got a computer in grade 5, and because it was a desktop it was permanently placed in a room. So I graduated from the hallway to behind closed doors most of the time.
On the family front, it wasn't like they could put me in hockey or something like my brother and sister. Sometimes they'd try to teach me life skills, but not being themselves trained to teach it and having the extra burden of fears about my future, they had absolutely zero patience -- if I didn't master the skill in one or two attempts there'd be consequences. The consequences were never severe, but they were enough to make learning hard because you were in fear knowing you had one kick at the can or else your next few days wouldn't be so great.
Then I left in grade 6 to go to blind school. It was my idea, I told my mother I wanted to try it and she let me go.
For the first two years I didn't like it very much. There were 3 main classes of residence, based on age and maturity level. Back then they were called Junior, Intermediate and Senior, but since then the names have changed. After Senior there was a chance you could make it into a special house where independent living training was more intense, and there were a couple of other categories like deaf blind.
As I started in grade 6, I begin in the junior residence. I hated it. It was bootcamp -or prison- like. Extremely structured like some of the earlier posters described. Every moment of your day was preplanned; exactly where you went and exactly what you did. When you played, when you did homework, when you changed into your pyjamas, when you ate, when you showered, when you exercised or did sports; all these things were scheduled to the minute.
Needless to say I looked forward to the weekends when I'd go home (by commercial airline!).
I don't know how I got through those first two years without saying Screw this, I want to go back to mainstream school at home; but I did, and I'm glad I did.
Once you moved up to the intermediate class, things were much better. There was still some structure; there were specific sporting events and other things everyone attended. but that became not so bad because being intermediate gave you the freedom to make some decisions on your own and to have some choice over how you spent your time.
As well, being part of things like extracurricular
sports was nice. It was far more than I'd have ever had back at home.
Even if I didn't enjoy all the sports all the time, there were the ones I liked and at least it was much better than never having the chance to participate in anything.
I spent ten years there. I moved up to the senior class and then got into the house after that.
In the house, we learned to cook our own meals, do our own cleaning, go grocery shopping, etc. The biggest problem I see with the school is that these things should be everyday activities right from the get-go, not just at the very end of your time there if you happen to make it that far up the residence "ladder".
Instead of assembling in the lunch room and being served, students should be taught -- and expected -- to pack their own lunches in residence the night before and bring them to school with them like any other kids would do.
We should have been involved in preparation of meals instead of having dinner delivered to us in residence on a big trolly at 5:00 every evening.
Other than that, I'd say I got more out of my education there than I would have gotten back home. When I started there in 2001, it was all braille and then it slowly transitioned to being mostly computer based. For me at least, this was a welcome change. Reading and doing school work got much faster, and bringing your homework home was now a matter of carting a USB key instead of a massive heavy bag of books. It was almost exclusively Jaws. They got a few Macs towards the end of my time there, but I never really explored anything other than Jaws until much later.

To the issue of being unprepared for the real world, unfortunately there's some truth to this. For me it was mostly the fact that I knew my home for the past ten years was just going to be gone one day that was the hardest part. I was always adept at self advocacy, though to be fair it wasn't like we never had to fight for things at the school either. There were overzealous staff, unfair decisions made from time to time and that sort of thing. Having a gradual transition period could be helpful, where you do a little bit of mainstream school, increasing as you get closer to the cutoff day. Most of the mental preparation for moving on I had to do myself, and it went better than I ever thought it might.
So I think this is a double edged sword. Blind school can be good if it's done right. Mine got a lot of things right and set me on a good path, but the things it got wrong actually did cause some problems.

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