CHAPTER XXV
THE BLIND

THE social worker may happen upon cases in which blindness is the dominant cause of the present situation, or he may happen upon any of the forms of disability outlined in other questionnaires, complicated by the factor of blindness. In the latter case, sets of questions like that regarding a Neglected Child, or a Child Possibly Feeble-minded, may be even more helpful than one on blindness. There are, however, five captions under which special consideration of the causes and results of blindness may be of service. In making the questionnaire regarding a Blind Person given in this chapter, Miss Lucy Wright has arranged her material under these heads--prevention of blindness and conservation of eyesight, special education, special employment, special relief, and recreation.

Failure to be of practical service to the individual in cases of blindness is usually due to one of two dangers--the Scylla and Charybdis of work for the blind. The one is the danger of overestimating the chances for an individual by considering the factor of blindness alone. Other handicaps--mental, moral, physical-- are of even greater significance in the struggle of the blind individual than in the case of the sighted. On the other hand, the failure may be due to underestimating the chances for the individual because, through inexperience, insufficient trust is placed in the truly great possibilities of practical accomplishment, manual and intellectual, through the use of other senses. In some instances mental and moral force seems to gain strength under what appears the great disadvantage of working in physical darkness. As Norman Duncan makes Tom Tulk, the blind skipper, say, "A man, with the best of a bad job to make . . . will learn many surprisin' things . . . by means of all the little voices in the world, says he, which speak to a man without eyes."

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