Toronto Star, Canada.
Monday, February 20, 2006.
by John Rae, President,
Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians,
In Kevin McGran's article, injured bus driver Jaime Pereira is quoted as saying, "My only hope is my eye gets better and I can return to being a productive member of society."
While all Torontonians should be shocked at the shooting of this public servant and hope for his full recovery, loss of sight need not prevent an individual from productive and competitive employment. In fact, many blind and partially-sighted individuals compete successfully with their sighted counterparts and more would be working if employers were more accepting and open to fulfilling their legal obligations to provide needed workplace accommodations.
Many sighted persons wonder what it might be like to be blind and some even go so far as to blindfold themselves for a short period of time. But such simulations provide a false idea of what life would really be like, especially if vision was lost suddenly.
Adjustment to this new life reality will take some time, rehabilitation and support, but with proper training in alternative techniques of daily living and finding the right employer, blind and partially-sighted individuals can be a great asset to every employer's enterprise.
Providing that kind of support is one reason the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians established a mentorship program. This initiative links experienced blind persons with young individuals trying to decide what career to follow, or older persons in the process of losing their sight.
For further details, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
End of article.
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