I Believe...in the Power of Subliminal Messages
In a presentation given by the mother of one my students, she describes the process her family experienced as they discovered her youngest son was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition which would eventually lead to total blindness. As a professional in the field of vision impairments, listening to her experience helped me gain a deeper understanding of the tragedy a family experiences when a child is diagnosed as blind.
In my mind when I hear a student has a vision impairment, I immediately look at ALL THE POSSIBILITIES and get super excited to teach "blindness skills". On the other hand, I have to take a step back and respect the journey of the family. After all, my time with the child is simply a fraction of his/her life.
As I continued to listen to this mother pour out her family story she made a profound statement that will forever be etched in my memory and holds extreme power.
"My husband and I decided we were not going to assign our fears about blindness to our son."
(This is how I remember the quote, she may correct me in the comments)
"NOT GOING TO ASSIGN OUR FEARS ABOUT BLINDNESS TO OUR SON"
As teachers and family members, we are given the INCREDIBLE responsibility to sit down around a table and lay out a plan to help our children/students obtain the highest level of independence.
So how do we do that?
The first step is to look at our children's peers and then ask ourselves, "What are their peers doing? How can we get our child there?"
Then we develop goals based on one of the following subliminal messages we want to send our children/students.
Children who are blind or have vision impairments can be safe, can be happy, can have friends, can got to college, can obtain and maintain a job, can date, can get married, can, can , can,
- A 6 year old greets his teacher in the lobby and they are both going to the same destination. There happen to be 2 routes available from which to choose. The teacher asks the student who is blind, "Which way are you traveling today?" After the student makes a choice, the teacher has the power to choose one of the following responses from which to send a subliminal message to the child.
- Subliminal message 1:
- The teacher says, "Ok great! I will follow your there!"
- Subliminal message 2:
- The teacher says, "OK great! We've been practicing that route and I think you've got it! I'm going to take the opposite route and meet you there. Tell your friends hi in the hallway!"
Children rise when they are given the space to rise.