Monday, July 8, 2013

The Girl , The Cane and the Museum revisited.

I have been trying to figure out how to appropriately revisit this topic. I thought about doing a 'year later' post in August but I didn't want it to get lost in the back to school craziness.

You see late August of 2012 Abby  was denied entry into a museum with white cane. Yes that story.  I have been thinking a lot about it lately.

I have only posted about it twice on this blog. The original blog (  and a very short follow up posting the link to one of the news stories related to it.  That it.. I have remained pretty quiet on the matter.  You can find a story I wrote about it in the most recent  Future Reflections .
screen shot of the story on Huffington Post
I shared and still share the story for two reasons.

1. To educate others that it wrong. Legally and morally.
2. To remind parents that it is important that BOTH parents have a basic understanding of ADA and their child's rights.

Search Blind Girl Museum. how sad that the top results on Google and Bing is about THIS story and not something more positive.

This topic is still  pretty raw for me.  Abby doesn't like to talk about it anymore.    The whole story went a little bit out of control. The story was not completely accurate but it never is.  I was extremely nervous during the TV interview and you can tell. I don't regret us saying yes to the media inquiries.  No child and No adult should ever have this happen to them. The sad thing is it happens every single day.  It more common for a guide dog to be illegally denied access into a public location but the same thing does happen with  canes. Just a lot less often.
Screenshot from the Daily Mail website in the UK
So what was August 27th 2012? To most most people it a blip in the long stream of stories it our mass media world.  To our family it was something quite different. While I knew Abby would be discriminated against because of her blindness there is no way to prepare yourself for it when it first happens.  

I also realized that while I already knew this I saw first hand how poor some people's view of the blind and visually impaired is.  To really get an idea of what I mean visit the Huffington Post article and read the comments.  (its an very old article in internet time so its not wise to make comments to them)  I saw comments about why would any blind person want to go to a museum. Who would let a kid bring a 'stick' into a museum.  That the museum was justified because blind kids (and blind people in general) could damage the exhibits. There was good responses to but it didn't soften the blow for ignorant ones.

I get asked sometimes ..What was the result? What did the museum do?  They pretty much didn't respond to this story at all. The executive director talked to the media but never called or wrote us.  I realized that they were posturing themselves in case we filed a formal complaint. That was never my intention. I just didn't want it to happen again.  Abby is still very upset with the museum. It is over.  We have moved on.  I hope some parents and others were educated by the incident.  I could write many more blogs on this topic.  Like how Abby's cuteness had a lot to do with why the story spread and other topics but I simply can't talk about it anymore. Its over. So much good is going on. Now why couldn't my blog post about the braille summit get as much exposure?  The future of Braille is so much more important.


Jessica Kovacs said...

I am so glad this story got attention. The general public really has no idea what they are talking about when it comes to blindness. And yes, the rude and idiotic comments are hard to take. But you are educating people and people are learning. That's why blogging is so important. Every little bit helps!

Anonymous said...

July 31st 2013

Hi Duffy family:
How are you these days? I would love to hear about the fun you've been having these days!

BFF Shayla
P.s. I am happy that the story of your daughter is better these days! God Bless you.