Future Reflections March/ April 1983, Vol. 2 No. 2

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DON'T LET WORRY GET IN THE WAY

Jim Taylor lives in Friend, Nebraska with his wife and two children, Rachael, age 8, and Jamie who is 10 years old and blind. Jim generously consented to give us the interview which appears below.

Question: How did you react when you found your son Jamie was blind?
Answer: Absolutely stunned! Our doctor was very blunt. We were told that there was very little chance he would ever see. That was quite a shock to us since we thought he had only a minor problem with one eye.

Question: When your doctor talked with you, what did he say about blindness?
Answer: He told us there were certainly worse things that could happen. He told us he had a friend who was a blind lawyer and so we felt there was some hope.

Question: What kinds of thoughts did you have after the shock wore off?
Answer: I thought we had a mountain of problems to face in getting Jamie raised to an adult. I think your first instinct is to be overprotective. Somehow I think you feel some shame about this, though I don't know why you should.

Question: Did you have any particular worries about or expectations for your blind child?
Answer: I think I began to worry most about things in the future, college, a job, etc. All parents worry about those things, but after a while you just learn to take one day at a time, one problem at a time. I also worried a lot in the first year although many people were assuring us that everything would be okay. Somehow you just have to worry until you can reason things out.

Question: Are there certain things you did for your blind child that you did not do for your sighted child?
Answer: One problem was giving him more attention than his sister Rachael. I had to realize that she needed attention too.

Question: What do you have to do to be a good father?
Answer: I think you have to be involved and try each day to spend a certain amount of time asking questions like how are things in school, what else did you do today, etc. My parents were very loving and not afraid to show it. I had friends whose parents couldn't show it and so I try very hard to show it and say it.

Question: What advice would you give to new parents who have just discovered they have a blind child?
Answer: I could give advice, but it probably wouldn't be anymore satisfying to them than it was to me in that first year. Some things you just have to live through.

Question: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?
Answer: It would be much simpler. I wouldn't feel like the whole world was lost. Fear of the unknown is the big thing. I just wouldn't be scared.

Question: What do you believe about blindness that now guides you as a father?
Answer: When you lose your sight, you have to experience things, and I mean everything you can think of. He's done things that kids with 20/20 vision haven't even considered. He has climbed to a mountain top and flown an airplane.

Question: What other comments would you like to make to other parents who have blind children?
Answer: My comment is that blind kids can be just as ornery as any kid with 20/20 vision. I deal with my son the same as I deal with my daughter.

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