I read an article today that really made me think. It was about President Trump outlining possible changes to the ADA, and Medicaid. The replies I saw from the blind community were… perplexing to say the least. Many were of an angry sort, where people were mad that potential budget cuts might be upcoming for various organizations and programs. I understand their points to an extent. Others’ replies were of the independent sort. These people were basically uncaring, or were of the opinion that the potential cuts in funding were a non-issue.
As a former student at my local Orientation and training center, I see the need for funding. The skills I learned there have been an essential part of my independence. I learned what it was to be a blind man in today ‘s society there. I learned that I could survive, and that one day I might learn to get along with my blindness, maybe even find a way to make it into an important part of my path forward. I met people there who made the most of the program, and I met people who were just floating.
It is my belief that once you graduate from a program, unless there is a verifiable need, that the door should be closed to re-dos. For example, once you have graduated from high school, you don’t get to go back to being a freshman simply because you cannot spell Mississippi, right?
I also see the other side of the coin in that I have graduated from the orientation and training program, and have moved on along my path towards the future. I do not lack empathy for those coming behind me on the path. They are entitled to the same training in life skills for the blind that I received. There are opportunities out there for those who will dare them. There are uncountable opportunities for blind and VI folks who will take the initiative, and make their dreams come true through persistent hard work, and faith.
In my humble opinion, there are places where budgets can be trimmed without curtailing services to the people who are in genuine need of them. Part of our mission here at NAABS is to encourage and empower blind and VI folks to dare to chase their dreams; to be successful, to do more than just survive on the government dole.
The article this morning had me thinking alright. I don’t know which side of the coin I fall on personally. I see the points of both sides (I believe) and I just don’t know. I think maybe I am somewhere in the middle. Where do you stand?
May God bless you and your day.