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SELF-ESTEEM AND ADJUSTING WITH BLINDNESS Third Edition SELF-ESTEEM AND ADJUSTING WITH BLINDNESS The Process of Responding to Life’s Demands By DEAN W. TUTTLE, PH.D. Professor Emeritus, Division of Special Education University of Northern Colorado Greeley, Colorado and NAOMI R. TUTTLE, BSN, RN Instructor The Hadley School for the Blind Winnetka, Illinois With a Foreword by Michael J. Bina, ED.D. Published and Distributed Throughout the World by CHARLES C THOMAS • PUBLISHER, LTD. 2600 South First Street Springfield, Illinois, 62794-9265 This book is protected by copyright. No part of it may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. ©2004 by CHARLES C THOMAS • PUBLISHERS, LTD. ISBN 0-398-07508-5 (cloth) ISBN 0-398-07509-3 (paper) Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2004044015 With THOMAS BOOKS careful attention is given to all details of manufacturing and design. It is the Publisher’s desire to present books that are satisfactory as to their physical qualities and artistic possibilities and appropriate for their particular use. THOMAS BOOKS will be true to those laws of quality that assure a good name and good will. Printed in the United States of America GS-R-3 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Tuttle, Dean W. Self-esteem and adjusting with blindness : the process of responding to life’s demands / by Dean W. Tuttle and Naomi R. Tuttle ; with a foreword by Michael J. Bina. — 3rd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-398-07508-5 — ISBN 0-398-07509-3 (pbk.) 1. Blindness—Psychological aspects. 2. Self-esteem. 3. Blind— Rehabilitation. I. Tuttle, Naomi R. II. Title. HV1593.T87 2004 362.49129019—dc22 2004044015 To those from whom we have learned much: University and Hadley students, workshop and conference participants, parents and family members, and, most of all, blind individuals both children and adults. FOREWORD If you wish to know the road up the mountain, you must ask the man who goes back and forth on it. —Zenrinkushu T wenty-five years ago my doctoral advisor at the University of Northern Colorado, Dr. Dean Tuttle, was assisting me in selecting a dissertation topic. At the end of our session, he asked if he could “bounce an idea off me.” He informed me he was thinking of expanding his series of lectures on the stages a person goes through in adjustment to vision loss, into a book. He asked if I thought the book would have relevance for a market outside his original intended audience—students in uni- versity programs studying to be teachers of the visually impaired, ori- entation and mobility instructors, and rehabilitation teachers and counselors. He was a man who had been “on the road up the mountain” day in and day out for years—dealing with his vision loss. En route, he learned of the works of Beatrice Wright that illustrated psycho- social responses to physical disabilities with biographical sketches and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross that detailed the stages that individuals go through in adjustment to the death of a loved one or their own dying. Dr. Tuttle’s idea for a book—applying Wright’s and Kulber-Ross’s works to blindness—was a “discovery.” He had learned from personal experience, when one encounters a “bump in the road” such was to be expected. Knowing what to antici- pate, he became more hopeful knowing that soon those bumps, in due course, would be in his “rearview mirror.” With predictability, he was reassured to know what lay ahead in “the trip’s” next phase. Still, he wondered, perhaps, if the Wright and Kubler-Ross “road maps” would generalize and transfer to others. At the time, retinitis pigmentosa had deteriorated his vision to the vii point that he was a Braille reader. His remaining vision was limited, but he still was able to use it effectively for everyday tasks. Ten years later we were eating in a restaurant and I noticed a change in his vision, or absence of any. I said, “Dean, it’s all gone, isn’t it.” His matter-of-fact answer was, “Yes.” I could tell he had traveled many miles each day on the mountain over the past ten years—and had done so successfully. I recall that his original lectures focused on “adjustment” to blind- ness. When the book came out, “adjusting” with blindness was in the title. With this shifted paradigm, he took the works of Wright and Kubler-Ross and added value. From his experience, and those of the 104 case studies he used to illustrate and personalize his theory, deal- ing with one’s vision loss is a daily process—not a quickly achieved one-time event. By using the phrase adjusting “with” blindness rather than “to” blindness, he again shifted focus. Blindness is not a detached phenomenon, but rather is a characteristic one must embrace as a travel companion. Initially concerned that there might not be a sufficient market for his book, now twenty-five years later, the answer is crystal clear with 20/20 hindsight. As Self-esteem and Adjusting with Blindness is currently going into this the third edition, I now can answer my professor’s ques- tion with great confidence. Yes, there is relevance, Dr. Tuttle. And, there is a market. And it has positively touched many lives in profound ways. The work has filled a gap in our field’s body of knowledge. Its beauty and value is that it has made the road very clear and under- standable with practical relevance for those with vision loss, their fam- ilies and teachers and counselors. His often-cited work has evolved into many unanticipated spin-offs. Hundreds of professional conference keynotes and workshops have resulted. Billy Brookshire has molded their work into a self-esteem workshop-training program for professionals called “Loving Me” pub- lished by the American Printing House for the Blind. The Hadley School for the Blind has offered a course based on their landmark work. Since 1989, 730 blind and low vision individuals, their family members, and professional service providers have benefited by taking this very popular Hadley course. We are indebted to Dr. Tuttle who had the foresight twenty-five years ago to develop “his discovery” into a work of practical relevance and profound benefit. We likewise are appreciative of Naomi Tuttle, viii Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness co-collaborator, for this the third revision. Her sensitive and insight- ful contribution included the medical perspective as a nurse, the par- ent’s perspective of a special needs son, and the sighted spouse’s per- spective working through her own adjusting process to blindness in the family. Their work has taken on its own life. What is exciting is that consumers, family members and practitioners, all from unique, per- sonalized travels on the mountain will further refine its evolution. Michael J. Bina, Ed.D. President, The Hadley School for the Blind Foreword ix PREFACE I n the past, a great deal has been written about blind persons, their early development, educational needs, employment opportunities, and their ability in general to meet life’s demands in a sighted society. Biographies and autobiographies of visually impaired persons ac- count for more than 150 books within the available array of literature. Some of this literature is objective and factual while some is subjective and emotional; some is research-based, some opinion-based; some is fragmented and/or narrow in scope, others provide a more global and cohesive theoretical structure. Self-esteem and Adjusting with Blindness is an attempt to analyze a vi- sion loss within the context of two overlapping theoretical constructs: the development of self-esteem and the process of adjusting to social and/or physical trauma. The book is divided into four sections. The first provides a brief overview of blindness, essential background for subsequent discussions. Section II explores the general theoretical model for the development of self-esteem common to all persons and analyzes the impact that a visual impairment imposes upon this model. Section III analyzes the process of coping with social and phys- ical traumas or crises, and the way in which self-esteem is affected by the adjusting process. Section IV is addressed primarily to members of the blind person’s support team, especially those who have significant and frequent contact. It provides some hints and suggestions for cre- ating a climate for optimum development of a strong and positive self- esteem in the individual who happens to be visually impaired and offers the opportunity to gain insights from students’ personal re- sponses to the concepts presented in this book. The title Self-esteem and Adjusting with Blindness may be misleading. A better title would be “An Analysis of the Relationship between a Per- son’s Self-esteem and the Process of Adjusting to Life’s Demands with the Personal Attribute of Blindness,” but it is obviously too long. One does not adjust to blindness as though blindness were some external xi circumstance, as when one adjusts to a new job or a new home. A vi- sual impairment is only one of many personal attributes that make up the total person, and it is the total person who is engaged in meeting life’s demands. Although one of the authors, Dean Tuttle, is blind, he does not claim any special insights as a result of losing his vision during adoles- cence and young adulthood. Rather, the book grows out of the au- thors’ combined sixty years of work in the fields of education and rehabilitation of individuals who are visually impaired. The authors are indebted to the many capable blind persons who shared out of their own personal experiences. Although most of the biographies and autobiographies are written in retrospect, and thus subject to filtered interpretations of remembered experiences, the illustrations chosen represent a larger collection of events common to many. The excerpts cited illustrate a particular point in this text and by no means represent endorsement of any or all of the content of the biography or autobiography. These biographical sketches along with personal comments of Chapter 10 are not offered to prove a theoret- ical model but serve only to illustrate it. A list of the biographies and autobiographies reviewed for this book are marked with an asterisk in the bibliography. D.W.T. N.R.T. xii Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness ACKNOWLEDGMENTS M any have contributed to the development of this book, both di- rectly and indirectly. Both of our parents, while they were living, were a constant source of support and encouragement. Dean’s men- tor through graduate school in special education, Georgie Lee Abel, contributed to the basic philosophy and attitudes toward visual im- pairments reflected in the book. Our appreciation is extended to Gil Johnson, Director of the Amer- ican Foundation for the Blind West in San Francisco, who agreed to review the original manuscript, to offer suggestions from the rehabil- itation perspective, and to write the forward to the first edition. Gil’s sensitivity and insights regarding the issues under consideration have earned him national respect. Other professional colleagues have contributed in many different ways. We are indebted to Gid Jones of Florida State University for help in the book’s early development; to Dean’s fellow faculty in Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado for their advice and counsel, and especially to Dave Kappan for his critique of the orientation and mobility sections; and to Jennifer Hill, an experi- enced teacher of visually impaired children, for her review and help- ful comments. We are also indebted to Michael J. Bina, President of The Hadley School for the Blind, for agreeing to write the Foreword to this third edition. Mike’s strong vantage point in work for the blind includes leadership positions as a director of special education in the public schools, principal and superintendent at two different residential schools for the blind, and president of the International Association for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Our thanks is extended to Robert Winn and Dawn Turco of Hadley for reviewing the text of Chapter 10 of the second edition and offering valuable suggestions. Finally, we want to take this opportunity to publicly express our ap- xiii preciation to each other. This revision would not have been possible without Naomi’s extensive library research and her skillful editing abilities to incorporate necessary revisions, and our combined insights into the subtle and sensitive topics handled in the book. We continue to thank God for each other. The fact that we could work together so intensely on a professional project for over a year and still remain on speaking terms is a credit to both. xiv Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness CREDITS FOR QUOTED MATERIAL From Thurber: A Biography by Burton Bernstein, 1975, Dodd, Mead and Co., Inc. Publishers. Used by permission of Burton Bernstein. From This House Had Windows by David Scott Blackhall. Published 1962 by I. Obolonsky. Used by permission of Mrs. Edna Blackhall. From Now I See by Charley Boswell and Curt Anders, 1969, Hawthorn/Dutton. Used by permission of Charles Boswell. From I Begin Again by Alice Bretz. Copyright © 1940, McGraw-Hill Book Co. Used with the permission of McGraw-Hill Book Co. From More Than Meets the Eye by Joan Brock and Derek L. Gill. Copyright © 1994 by Joan Brock and Derek L. Gill. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. From Corridors of Light by Eleanor Brown. Copyright © 1958, The Antioch Press. Used by permission of Paul H. Rohmann. From The Kingdom Within by G. Caulfield. Published 1960 by Harper and Bros. Used with permission of the Book-of-the-Month Club, Inc. From Brother Ray by R. Charles and D. Ritz. Copyright © 1978, Warner Books, Inc. Used by permission of The Dial Press and The Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency, Inc. From My Eyes Have a Cold Nose by H. Chevigny. Copyright © 1946, Yale U. Press. Used by permission of Mrs. H. Chevigny. From A Psychiatrist Works with Blindness by L.S. Cholden, published in 1958. Used by permission of American Foundation for the Blind, Inc. From Eyes, Etc: A Memoir by Eleanor Clark, Copyright © 1977 by Eleanor Clark. Re- printed by permission of Pantheon Books, A Division of Random House, Inc. and Wm. Collins. From None So Blind by Bernice Clifton. © 1963 by Rand McNally and Company pub- lishers. Used by permission. From Millicent by Millicent Collinsworth and Jan Winebrinner, WRS Publishing, Waco, Texas, 1993. Used by permission of WRS. From Breaking Through by H. Cordellos. Copyright © 1981. Used by permission of Runner’s World Magazine, 1400 Stierlin Rd., Mountain View, Ca. From Finding My Way by Borghild Dahl (Dutton). Copyright by B. Dahl 1962. Used by permission of Joy Chute. From Keep In Touch by Graeme Edwards. Copyright © 1962. Used by permission of Granada Publishing Limited. xv