Making decisions on becoming an O/M or TVI
I am not going to say very much about advocacy for two reasons. First as service providers you will be serving as advocates and it is very important that You make a decision as to what an advocate for a blind child or adult is to you. Secondly, you will be doing some personal investigation of the political Advocacy groups active in the U.S. and making a presentation on them this week. Your examination of the three consumer advocacy groups will form the lion's share of the lecture presentation.
I am a big fan of personal empowerment. I believe that it is not possible to
set up another person for failure. It is also not possible to sabotage someone
else’s success. For any of us to select being empowered by another person we
have to first agree that we are disempowered. A great deal of the practices in
place within human services is hinged on the view that the client is
disempowered and requires assistance to be able to grow and become
I do feel, however, that it is possible to mirror personal empowerment for another individual. This is essentially what I will be doing for you throughout this semester. And you thought I was just standing around looking cute!
Mirroring empowerment for me occurs when I first go through my own stuff with whatever is in front of me and resolve it. Once I know how I feel about certain Aspects of my life I am then free to make an empowered choice for myself. My life decision is reflected in some way even if I am not talking about my feelings of empowerment in any public way. It's sort of like a happy little glow that people follow like a beacon. By reflecting an opportunity for self-empowerment I am not responsible For someone else's forward motion in this area. I don't have to worry that a person's self-awareness is being altered by what I do.
A lot of you are too young to remember the TV show, "Paper Chase." It was a
show based on the movie by the same name. In the opening clip the actor John
Houseman (who is playing a professor in the Harvard Law School) says, "You will
teach yourselves the law. I will train your minds."
I designed this course to have a similar result. You will learn a great deal about how to be O/M counselors and TVIs all through your classes and every one of them will give you something special. This course is set up to help you become more aware of how you really feel about the vision profession and to give you a chance to form your own opinions about issues which are dear to visually impaired and blind people. It is not important that you agree with anything I say this semester. What is important is that you examined some key issues and draw your own conclusions about them. Begin thinking about how you will become an advocate for a blind child or adult. Let your imagination roam free!!