Miscommunication and Misconceptions

Written in braille and stuck to our kitchen wall is a comment written by my youngest while she was in the 5th grade. It was part of a book response, I believe, and reads as follows:

Sometimes we can misunderstand things and assume things that might not be the truth. But you can overcome those things by talking about it with other people and making sure you don’t assume things too often because what you think is happening might not be true.

Having blind children leads to lots of misconception and miscommunication – some because of intentional ignorance, some because of a lack of information or real-life experiences. A few are disheartening, most are  amusing, and some downright hilarious! We laugh about the disability in our family because it is a normal part of our life (though not our life in its entirety). My children are not offended by the word ‘blind’, because they are blind; their vision is not impaired, they have no vision and this is normal for them. They do not feel as though they are ‘missing out’ on things they have never experienced, and their father and I have always endeavoured to do our best to engage them in as many experiences as we can. I have no desire in this post to share the disheartening (though that may come another time), but here are some of the humourous – with my mostly-grown-children’s permission.

Our youngest was 3 years old and did not want to ride on the shuttle-bus at Australia Zoo in Queensland, crying almost hysterically and shaking somewhat. She had spent the day with our new friend, not wanting anything to do with old familiar family members, but suddenly HAD to be with me. It wasn’t until we had driven off a little way that I had a thought and told her that we were not going into space; it was not that kind of shuttle but more like a tractor with carriages. The crying stopped and she instantly desired to go back to the new friend. 

This same child a couple of years later was in our new vehicle with siblings, myself and an uncle taking the new car for a ‘spin’. While looking around the back of her seat she found a button (for folding down the back rest giving access to the boot/trunk) and asked what it was for. The accommodating uncle said it was the ejector seat button and immediately the tears started to flow until she was informed that the car did not have an ejector seat.

The eldest has recently had his first sky diving experience, which he loved. I wonder how I knew that he would…

At the age of about 5 years, Mr. fell from his top bunk bed. It took a number of seconds before tears began to fall and when I asked what he thought when he fell, he responded with, “I liked it when I was going through the air, but not when I hit the floor!”

A couple of years earlier, perhaps age 3 years, I was cleaning at one end of the house when he and is first sister were playing in the living area. His sister could not crawl or move about independently as yet. I was constantly venturing out to their space to respond to his sister’s whimpers but whenever I arrived, there was nothing going on and she was alone. Eventually I decided not to leave but stand in my place silently for a few minutes. Mr. 3 year old came running out of the laundry, clapped his sister on the head with both hands, and subsequently ran back to the laundry. When his name was announced with volume and intensity, he responded with, “What!” I asked why he hit his sister, “I didn’t,” he responded. I then explained to him that I was standing in the room and saw him do it. He was in fact ‘in trouble’ but I was in stitches.

Miss in the middle has given/experienced much consternation! Here are a couple.

As a Miss 5, she with the rest of us were going to experience the ferry across Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne. She was very concerned about the car-carrying boat tipping over and depositing us all in the water, where there may be sharks. We were informed my a member of the crew that even if the ferry sank, the roof wouldn’t be submerged but someone was not convinced. The day before our trip, as cars were being driven aboard, we were allowed to walk onto the bottom deck to see how much the boat would rock. We were then ok to travel. Whew!

One of the best stories though, was when she was somewhat older but only by a few short years and entered the bathroom where dad had finished his bath after sowing crops in the paddock. She found little balls on the floor and was distressed about the headband she believed had broken, and picked a few ‘beads’ up asking dad to fix it for her. His response? They were not beads but dried urea (which had to be explained – ask a farmer), and were very quickly dropped again.

Laugh out loud! It’s good for your heart, body, soul, spirit, family, relationships, work, attitude…just laugh a lot. If you can’t find your laugh switch, and I know what that is like, look for someone who can find it for you…and thank them. 

2 thoughts on “Miscommunication and Misconceptions

  1. As someone recently plunged into the hearing-impaired world, I often wonder about people who are blind or deaf from birth. From what I’ve read, most seem to express the opinion of your children-not feeling as if they are ‘missing out’ on anything. I’d have to imagine raising blind children have given you and your husband a unique depth in perspective

  2. I think depth of perspective definitely comes with many and varied experiences when accompanied by teachability or a willingness to learn. Our perspective is definitely more well-rounded as a result of, not only having children who are blind, but getting to know so many others with myriad disabilities and experiences of life. I am by no means always willing to change or learn something new, but I have learned to always come back to a teachable position…eventually. Like you with travel, knowing people from many cultures and levels of health and wholeness tends to make one more balanced. Lovely chatting.

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