Hi David,

Very interesting post. Yeah, that was my impresssion as well. some of these larger more well known agencies tend to stress the blind image as a hard working, respectible, better than average person a bit too far. A good case in point is one of the rules I saw in the Seeing Eye's dress code.

A couple of years back I was looking into getting a guide dog, and I was going to apply at the Seeing Eye. The thing that stopped me from applying there was when I read that for dinner I was to show up in formal dress clothes. I felt at the time that they were trying to push the definition of respectable a bit too far. I'm there to get a guide dog not to show up at dinner dressed in a suit and tie looking like some wealthy businessman. Whatever the case they have their high standards of dress code, and self-image to keep.

Anyway, I know what you are saying. These agencies do want to present the blind as hard working, respectable, well dresssed people and some times they push that image too far. Some times to the point that their clients do work too hard, become over achievers, and don't know when to relax and just be cool. When to hang out at the office and pal around abit with the other associates. When it is ok to put games on his/her home computer and just relax with a good game of Aliens in the Outback, Blackjack, or Uno.

David Chittenden wrote:

The belief of some the blindness orgs seems to be that the only way to make blindness respectable is if blind people are seen as always working. This ignores social connections and the fact that if one is able to relax better, one can work better.

I remember my first job in a mid-sized office. I was the most efficient worker there. After a few months, my supervisor took me aside and told me to become a little more sociable with the rest of the staff. I could not understand what her problem was until I returned to school. During one of my HR management courses, I learned about how the over-achievers can be as much of a problem on office moralle and good office functioning as under-achievers. All of the blindness training which focuses on work to the exclusion of everything else ignores this, and thereby performs a disservice to blind people.

David Chittenden, MS, CRC, MRCAA

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