Imagine, you are walking down a street in the south Bronx in NYC on a warm summer night. You hear yelling, turn around, and promptly a gun is shot. A bullet flies by your head. Then another. You are now deaf. Cochlear implants might give you an artificial, eerie representation of the sense you once had, but most likely, bidding stem cell research on Cochlea hair cell regrowth, you no longer have hearing for the foreseeable future.
Imagine, working in a metal recycling plant in Ohio, you face is accidentally splashed with a strong acid used to degrease metal. You close your eyes and turn away in pain. About 30 seconds later you do something you’ve done tens of millions of times since leaving the womb, you blink. You open your eyes and see nothing but blackness. You are now blind. Charles Darwin once said something along the lines of: “the human eye is so complex, any man who thinks such a marvel evolved out of simple chemical molecules is a fool”. It most likely will be many many years, just like your hearing, before modern technology will be able to make a reasonable replica.
Imagine, working as a logger in BC, your right (or left) hand gets crushed under a massive log. You have to wait several minutes before several massive Johnsons lift this huge chunk of carbon off your throbbing digits. You have lost your dominant hand, and it’s 1965. You will not have anything but an optional conductors stick to serve as you primary sense of touch for 40 years.
Imagine being seriously disabled.
Today our group was with Ari. We explored, for a brief moment, what it was like to be in one of these situations. We had to teach members of our group who were blindfolded, had headphones with white noise playing, had the use of there dominant had striped, or there dominant foot (or leg) basic yoga positions.
We started the day off with preparing our respective “classes”. After teaching them and receiving constructive feedback we took a break for lunch. Following which we prepared our next wave of classes. We all improved very much from our prior presentations. I think that this exercise made me realize how hard it can be to be in the position of a person with a disability. This exercise also reinforced my belief that being a teacher in that position can be a tightrope sometimes.
At the end of the day, none of us have a disability, and thus none of us have had any long-term experience in one of these positions. However, this challenge gave us all incredible insight and I personally think that this challenge will be one I remember for many years to come. I’m sincerely glad that I did this.