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#11 Visible vs. Invisible

Posted Nov 12 2012 7:27pm
Unless you look closely at Tommy, you might not realize he is blind.

Tom came with me to vote last week and until he walked right into the table where they were signing everyone in, no one knew he was blind. Sure, a lot of people turned to look but many did not hear me say, "My son is blind."

Of course, I said it with a smile. I think my smiles tempers the reactions I get when I explain that Tommy is blind. I usually explain that Tom is blind but he is just fine and very happy. Unfortunately, Tom did not want to hold his cane when we were getting out of the car to vote so we left it behind. That cane makes Tom's blindness visible.

Tom's cane explains to everyone that he is blind. There is no trying to figure him out and less lingering stares. Ok, maybe there the staring continues even with the cane, but it seems much more benign when people have him "figured out."

I am a naturally shy person but having Tom in my life has changed that. I am in the spotlight when I'm with Tom whether I like it or not! He attracts attention wherever he goes and people are just so interested in him.

I often have people ask me questions or share stories about blind people they know. I have grown into my role as assistant to a small ambassador for the blind community. I no longer shrink from the stares and whispers like I used to. I think the kindness we have experienced has helped me a lot.

I like the way people treat Tom when he has his cane. I can tell they are impressed that someone so young is learning to make his way in the world. I can honestly say that going from "invisible" blind child to a "visible" blind child with a cane has been a better, but you will have to wait a couple years to hear Tom's take on the subject.

Tom learning Orientation & Mobility at the Mall.

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