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Thanks to The Nfb

Editor's Note: Changing what it means to be blind doesn't just mean getting others to provide training or remove discriminatory practices. It also means changing what we ourselves think about blindness. If all our external difficulties were removed and no blind person ever again had to face discrimination, very little would change if the attitude of blind people remained negative. On the other hand, a positive attitude about blindness creates a "can do" mentality which can overcome some of the worst obstacles. One of the most effective attitude-changing experiences is attending an NFB convention. The NFB:AE puts great emphasis on convention attendance because of the practical difference it makes in the lives of individual blind people. Here is what Doris Belusic has to say.

I would like to express my thanks to the NFB:AE for the opportunities that my husband and I have had in attending the NFB conventions, both in New Orleans in 1997, and in Dallas, Texas in 1998. Personally, I have gained a lot from these conventions. Mostly, what I have learned is about attitude--my attitude about blindness--and about myself. Being a person with retinitis pigmentosa I have struggled for years with poor vision. My most difficult struggle has been with myself, and with how I thought others perceived me. Since I have about seven percent tunnel vision and am night blind, I often felt that my poor vision got in the way of my life. I had a somewhat negative attitude about my blindness.

Well, enter the NFB and its conventions. I saw, on a grand scale, what I needed to see, and what I needed to learn. I saw and listened to many successful, positive, articulate people from all walks of life who were blind, and living life to the fullest in the real world. Lawyers, judges dieticians, physiotherapists, journalists, teachers, businesspersons and many others, all gathered together to share the word that you can do what you want and be who you want to be. Blindness does not need to be a barrier. And, more than that, blindness is respectable! This awakening has helped me to live with a much more positive attitude about my blindness. Certainly, when I see that others have this attitude, I can too!

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