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H810: Week 5: Activity 12.1

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Activity 12.1 History

Make notes about the changing attitudes to the education of disabled people and the circumstances that lead to the successful implementation of assistive technology.

Resource 1: An Experiment in Education (Bell, 1967)

Forster seems to be a highly intelligent man who managed to combine a charity-based view which encouraged donations and help and a much more modern view of the boys as 'boys first, then boys in the dark' (p6)

'A variety of types seems really to be an advantage', wrote Forster. (p7)

This must have been very difficult to achieve with the five forms all in use at the same time.

Interesting that, by 1880, the school had 13 boys who were blind and 8 who were sighted. I agree that the main motivation of including sighted boys may have been to provide readers but it did provide an integrated lifestyle to some extent.

In higher education the boys had to employ a reader and/or emboss their own books and one boy had to devise his own maths system in order to study it. (p.10)

Resource 2: Disability History Museum Library (Disability History Museum, 2009)

The Story of my Life: Part 5 by Helen Keller (1902)

The lectures are spelled into my hand as rapidly as possible, and much of the individuality of the lecturer is lost to me in the effort to keep in the race.

There are days when the close attention I must give to details chafes my spirit, and the thought that I must spend hours reading a few chapters, while in the world without other girls are laughing and singing and dancing, makes me rebellious;

In a word, literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book-friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.


An apology for Going to College by Helen Keller (1905)

Where I failed, the fault was sometimes my own, sometimes attributable to the peculiar circumstances under which I worked

The elective system offers a broad variety of courses and freedom of choice. Many subjects were impossible for me on account of my limitations, and I could not have planned my course so as to win a degree but for the scope of the Radcliffe curriculum.

And if the girls who had eyes and ears were overburdened and distraught, I was at least no better off.

I was of course hampered by my limitations, which turned to drudgery much work that might have been delightful; for they imposed upon me tedious methods of study. I was often behind in my work at a distance forbidden by military law; I was never ahead; and once I fell so far behind that it seemed as if I might as well try to keep pace with a shooting star!

They often invited me to join their frolics and club-meetings, and it cost me many a twinge of regret not to be able to take part in their affairs; for I was keenly alive to everything that interested them.

They could not reach me through my isolation, and in the midst of my class I could not help at times feeling lonely and sad.


The Beauty of Silence by Helen Keller (1935)
'There has been a great deal in the papers recently about the effects of noise upon health. Many physicians maintain that the uproar of our cities is causing many mental disorders and much deafness'.

Resource 3: Vincent workstation

It just takes one person to be in the right place, at the right time and know the right equipment!! It seems to happen more often than it should with the laws of probability smile



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