We have here Mr. Pradeep Deshpande’s feelings and insight on the visually handicapped. He is very actively involved in reading to the blind children at the blind school in Koregaon Park, Pune.
We acquire knowledge through Five Sense Organs viz. Ear, Nose, Tongue, Eyes and Skin. Out of that 80 to 85% is acquired through the eyes. This explains the importance of eyes in all living beings. If a child is born sight–less in a family the parents’ first reaction is shock and next one is disbelief of how a blind child can take birth in our house when we have no problem and then the guilty feeling takes over the family.
There are many misunderstandings in the people e.g.
- Child person cannot do anything on his/her own.
- Blind person is a burden to the family in particular and on Society at large.
- The blind person is an economic burden on the Society.
- The blind person is completely dependent on the other people even for his/her basic needs like eating, drinking, taking bath, attending toilets etc.
- He cannot take up studies or higher education.
- They cannot cook food or do house–hold duties.
If people understand the problems of the sight–less person and help them a little, the sight–less can learn very well. They need training in different way. Normal sighted persons can see the thing and acquire knowledge and does not need much explanation. But the blind does need explanation. The blind does not know what is sky, cloud, moon, stars and how they look, they do not know the animals like Lion, Tiger, Fox, Elephant etc. which they cannot touch. They cannot understand very small insects. They need to be told all these in proper words and through the models which they can touch. Even then their imagination can be far from the actual.
How we can help
- Accept the blind person as a normal member of the family/society.
- Give training to be independent in all basic needs e.g. Attending Toilets, Taking bath, Changing clothes etc.
- Do not show extra sympathy or mercy to the blind children. Treat them like you treat the children with normal sight e.g. Reward them for their good deeds and punish them for their misbehavior.
- If blind girls are there in the family they should be trained in household work like preparing food, and serving the same, cleaning clothes and utensils, keeping or arranging them properly in right place, cleaning the house. Only they must be taught the safety measures and obstacles on the way.
- Encourage them to go out of house and buy the things. The blinds cannot see but they use their other sense organs so efficiently that they can perform pretty well. Their skin is very sensitive they can distinguish different things by smell, sound, taste and feel by touch.
- The blind children have the equal curiosity and liking about games. They should be taught and encouraged to play games like Running, Jumping, Throwing, Cricket with Sound Balls, Chess etc.
- If you can learn Braille Script you can translate stories, and good literature in the Braille Script.
- The blind boys who attend the schools/colleges meant for sighted boys, need the readers and writers because they cannot read or write normal words and the examiner cannot read Braille Script. So the people who can find some free time during the day for the blind people can be of great help to the students. This can be done by retired people who do not know how to spend their free time. This is really very noble job and we have got the opportunity to give something in return to the society from whom we have taken so much.