Tuesday, 18 January 2011

KIDS WILL BE KIDS, EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE POOR SIGHT.

Are physically-disabled children fundamentally different from "normal" kids? Certainly allowances need to be made to adapt games and education to their needs. According to what I've observed, being both a disabled person and having lived among such children in my youth, I know that we were just as mischievous as any group of able-bodied children.

In my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, I related many instances where we bucked the stereotype of the angelic blind child. Here's what happened in January of 1966 when a friend told me of an exciting discovery he made.

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Another activity for which I received a reprimand was igniting the caps from my pistol on the floor in a darkened room next to the laundry. "Did you know you can fire off caps without a gun?" Brian asked me one afternoon. "You lay the strip on the floor and hit those black dots with a rock." I listened, excitement building in my mind, as he explained.

I ran outside, found a pebble in the parking lot, and did as Brian instructed. It worked very well. The small explosions and flashes delighted me.

"It's too bad it's light out," I complained to Brian. "It would look better in the dark.

"How about that empty room next to the laundry," Brian suggested. "Nobody goes there and Mrs. Parker won't catch you."

For the first time during my stay at Jericho, I actually anticipated carrying the clothes basket. The next time Mrs. Parker asked me to fetch the dorm's clean clothes, I smuggled a roll of caps and put a rock in my pocket. I was happily banging caps in the darkness of my secret chamber when a deaf boy saw me. He raced into the laundry room to alert Sachi, the woman in charge, that I was making dangerous sparks. My heart sank as I heard his inarticulate noises.

Sachi ran into the room. "Stop making fire in the building," she demanded.

"This won't hurt anything. I'm just lighting off caps," I explained. Sachi would have none of that and ordered me to leave. As I lugged the heavy laundry basket back to the dorm, I added that incident to the list of proofs regarding adults being overly cautious.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may the comment form doesn't work.