My job is a social worker for children who are blind includes coordinating both a summer and winter program for the children with whom we work.  Last winter we went to an indoor water park during February vacation with about twenty-five children who are blind and “legally blind”.  The children had a wonderful time playing in the water park, on the slides, in the wave runner surfing area, and in the pool, as well as participate in the regular activities that we plan, such as playing bingo and dancing.  Getting together is a huge big deal for these children who are mainstreamed into regular classrooms in their neighborhood public schools where they might not ever see another student with a vision impairment.  I began this program twenty two years ago when my oldest son, who is legally blind, was six years old.

The winter program was a huge success!  Most notably for me, it was the first time my fourteen year old daughter who is profoundly deaf wanted to help out a group of younger girls who are blind.  Each girl had their own staff person who amicably allowed Marie to join their group to help with the little girls. Despite the fact that she normally communicates in American Sign Language, she somehow managed to be very sociable and get along well with everyone. Having normally been obsessed with surfing at the wave runner attraction, and being a somewhat selfish young lady, I had expected she would help for a little while, but spend most of her time surfing. However, I was pleasantly amazed that she did not choose her own activity, but spent all of her time in the water park playing with the little girls, helping them on the slides, holding their hands to guide them around the park, showing them where the food was on their plates, and so forth.  She was having a grand time, and the girls all seemed to adore her.

On the last night of this program. Marie was seated at a booth with two of the girls and their staff.  One of the girls all of a sudden started waving her hands wildly in the air. Prone to seizures, her staff person asked her if she was okay.  She said of COURSE she was okay, she was just TALKING to Marie!!  The laughter started at their table and  soon circled around the room as everyone realized what she had said…she was signing to her, of course!!!!


If you would like to read more about my adventures in child rearing, please read the book ‘The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane”, available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and I-Books.


Comments on: "The Deaf Leading the Blind: “But I was just TALKING to her!”" (12)

  1. darkanddreary said:

    This article made me “lol.” I would imagine that events such as this are common in your line of work. I truly admire the work you do and I am certain there is a special place for you on the other side. I think I speak for all civilized humanity when I say “Thank You.”

  2. LowdenPoole said:

    You kindly visited me yesterday and I have popped back without realising what you blog about.
    I have read and smiled at this post.
    My youngest daughter is Blind and whilst the other three children have no profound difficulties (apart from epic daftness in the case of the boys) her disablity has an enormous impact on their lives. They have to be able to help her, emphatsise and understand her needs in a way that most children would not. It has formed their characters in a hugely positive way.
    Having said that, the fact that she is the youngest of four and her siblings whilst being supportive on the whole give her no quarter in terms of the rough and tumble of family life. This in turn has formed her character into a feisty, confident and extremely ABLE child who climbs trees, rides horses, runs, jumps and (terrifyingly) rides a bike!
    Thank you for your post. Where are you based – I am in the West Country.

    • It sounds like your daughter is being raised great! And her disability will be an asset to your older children. I had a blind brother and learned patience with people with disabilities, which made it easy to adopt these children.
      I have a post on Living a Successful Life about my son who is blind.

  3. Wondering.
    There is a massive hoo-ha about Obama mentioning “Autistic kids”.

    Would there be anyone upset about him discussing “blink kids” or “deaf kids”? Here in Australia, the deaf community guard their ranks quite heavily – and are proud to be deaf people, not “people who have reduced hearing”

    • I don’t know in what context Obama mentioned “Autistic kids.” I do know that the “politically correct” thing to say would be “kids with autism.” All kids are kids, and their disabilities are just one aspect of them.
      Regarding the deaf community, we know parents who are deaf who would refuse to have a cochlear implant for their infant son because they see nothing wrong with being deaf. Personally, I do not see my daughter’s deafness as being her disability. She has many modes of communication, last but not least her cell phone on which she can type her order at a restaurant or question a stranger for directions. Her real disabilities are psychiatric.

  4. Sweet post on your daughter. Growing up I worked as a lifeguard at our local water park. It was seldom, but there were times when we had kids with disabilities to visit. I wish there were more people like you with the insight to start a program like you did. You are courageous! Thank you for caring!

  5. There is nothing better than to know there are people in the world like you and your family. Amazing example of pure human love. Thank you for sharing your stories.

  6. Thank you Linda for visiting my blog. Just like you, I started to write instead of shouting. It is very calming. I have an 11 year old who has mildly severe hearing loss and wears two hearing aids. We home school her. Life in our household is fool of funny things she says. ( she cannot hear the upper register;since I have a high-pitched voice, she just knows that I am speeking not what I am saying until she reads my lips).

  7. Cute post! I laughed especially as I’m blind. It’s so sweet!

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