Lubbock Avalanche-Journal from Lubbock, Texas on April 3, 1975 · Page 6
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April 3, 1975

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal from Lubbock, Texas · Page 6

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Lubbock, Texas
Issue Date:
Thursday, April 3, 1975
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Page 6
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lO^U-LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL-Thursday Morning. April 3. 1975 Rehabilitation Counselor At Tech Aids Blind Students By BAXDY RIGGS Av*l*acb«-,)ouriwl Staff On the wall behind Gerdeaa Tan's desk is a poster of lh( sun silhouetting several tufts o wind-whipped grain. And on th poster is an adage: "Beauty is not discovered with the eye, but with the soul." The ancient Chinese proverb Is especially appropriate for the clients of Mrs. Tan, for most o thorn see not with their eyes but with their souls. And Lheir hearts. They are young people—Texas Tech students—who arc blind, going blind or facing n future clouded with impaired vision. As a rehabilitation counselor for the Texas State Commission for the Blind (TSCB), the Montana native is charged with showing her sometimes bitter, sometimes disillusioned young clients that being blind does not necessarily mean spending the resit of their lives in the dark. Although some blind students have mental hangups abend their condition, most do not, Mrs. Tan believes. Most arc anxious to get a degree and get a job, and Tech. apparently, is a good place to be. Tech is one of only four schools in the slate with TSCB counselors such as Mrs. Tan. Others are the University of Texas at Austin, North Texas State University in Dcnton and the University of Houston. The number of visually impaired students at Tech is believed to be between 25 and 30, the second highest total in the state, behind UTs 38. Local TSCB officials think Tech's facilities for the blind arc among Texas' best and, evidently, so do the students. "We believe the number of blind, students here will keep increasing each semester," said Mrs. Tan, who assumed her position in November, 1973. ,"This school has a lot o£ cquip- nrient specifically for blind students that I don't know of any other campus having." Among the equipment is an "opticon," a camera that lifts Ihe printed letter off a page and allows students to feel the impression with their hand. Other devices include a "speech compressor" and a closed circuit television for partially sighted students. The television magnifies and projects regular printed material onto a screen that can be read by people with sight deficiencies. The compressor enables students to record material at one speed and replay it at a higher speed, saving time yet not altering the speaker's voice. With the completion of the S-J.8 million addition to the Tech Library, the school's facilities for the blind should improve ;ven more. Listening rooms, low housed in West Hall, will jo moved to the new structure. Although the tools for Tech's ilind generally are agreed to )c excellent, there is no particular esprit de corps among the students themselves. In fact, .heir campus organization has experienced difficulty remaining intact. The Texas Tech Student Association for the Visually Handicapped (TTSAVH), open to anyone sighted or otherwise, has a nembership of approximately 0. The group's president acknowledges problems of apathy. Few Interested "Only a few people are interested in the association," said 3on Sitton, a junior tele-com- munications major from Idalou vho has been blind since birth. 'I don't know what the problem s. It just seems that few peo- ilo are really interested in it." Sitton may not know the rea- on for the group's frustrating rganizational woes, but Mrs. Tan thinks she might. The an- wer, she believes, may lie in ach blind student's singular ucst for individuality. Most of nem don't wish to be lumped nto an isolated segment of so- iety, alien to the sighted world around them. "It's very important to them hat they are considered as in- i vi duals," she explained. 'These students are in college ind they're quite aggressive ind working towards maintain- ng their own individuality. This may be one of the reasons they can't work together in groups 'ery well." Not being particularly well irganized, however, is not a major concern of Tech's blind tudents. "Overall, I feel the situation or blind students is good at Tech," said Sitton. "The facul- y, for example, has been very •illing to help us. They've been most cooperative and under- tanding.' The problems confronting Cecil's blind students arc, for ic most part, universal and AUTOGRAPHS COOKBOOK-President Ford autographs" copies of a cookbook, "Five-Star Favorites," which is a collection of favorite recipes of former Presidents and Mamie Eisenhower during a charily event Wednesday Looking on are Mrs. Bob Hope and actress Alice Fay e ' {dark- glasses at right) who are active in the Eisenhower Medical Center to which proceeds of sales of Hie -book will go (AP Wirephoto) Democrats Searching For Convention Site WASHINGTON (UP!) - Promising an adequate number of hotel rooms, good transporta- tin and fine food, officials of Kansas City and Cleveland Wednesday made formal bids to host the 1976 Democratic National Convention. The presentations —including slide shows —were viewed by the Democrats' Site Selection Committee, which scheduled similar pitches Thursday by Los Angeles, New Orleans Miami Beach, and New York. Chicago also had been scheduled to make a presentation Wednesday, but officials of that city canceled out, saying they had decided not to make a formal bid. The Kansas City presentation, headed by Mayor Charles B. Wheeler, was the more lavish of the two that were heard. Wheeler and a contingent of civic and political figures said the Democrats should return to their city, where the party held Us 1976 "mini-convention." because of the new H. Roe Bartle convention hall and a lot of new hotels. Wheeler noted the new Kansas City convention complex already was hooked to host 50,000 Shriners next summer. ''And if we can do that," he •aid, "we can handle a few Democrats." Tlie Cleveland presentation came from Mayor Ralph Perk a Republican, .who was accom panicd by several Democrat) officials. They promised 11,50( hotel rooms within 15 minutes of the convention hall, or a total of 20,000 rooms williin a 30 minute ride, including those in Akron or other communities. The selection committee which later will visit the cities has said it will need some 20,00(1 hotel rooms for the conventon. Kansas City made much 1 o its airline, railroad and high way accommodations and em phasixed its restaurants — laying claim to the "four or five best" in the country. • Cleveland's black City Coun cil President George Forbes, answered Kansas City's claim to good restaurants by raising doubt that city could supply "soul food" like his town. Kansas City shares with Miami and New Orleans the disadvantage of being located in a state which has not ratified the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Democratic Nation- il Committee told the group last month to make ratification of ERA a "tie-breaking" qualification between cities with otherwise equal bJda. not unique to Uibbock or West Texas. One exception, though, is the wind. To compensate for their blindness, students utilize and sharpen thoir other senses, and the often blustery West Texas breezes can play havoc with hearing, especially in crucial situations. "The wind has bothered me sometimes when I've tried to cross streets," said Jim Gatteys, a junior speech major from Dallas. "We usually try' to cross when we don't hear any cars coming, but when the wind picks up, sometimes it's almost impossible to tell if someone's coming or not." Universal problems for Tech students often center around sighted individuals' conceptions —frequently misconceptions—about blindness. To attempt to educate sighted people about blindness, a Free University course was offered this spring entitled "We're Not Blind, You Are. 1 ' The course was headed by Galleys and Midland junior Jody Shaokel- ford. "Most people are well intentioned toward blind individuals, but they are ignorant about our needs," said Miss Shackelford. who is partially sighted and able to ««<j regular printed material for short periods. "I once had someone help me across the street when I didn't want to go across the street," added Gatteys. "Sighted people often can be terribly inconsiderate, even though it is unintentional." In spite of unsolicited assistance occasionally, Tech appears to bo an acceptable home for blind students. "Except for Memorial Circle and all the current construction, Tech is an easy place to navigate," said Mrs. Tan, who received her master's degree in counseling psychology, with specialization in rehabilitation, from Tech in December, 1973. She also earned her bachelor's degree from Tech, although doing much of her undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin at Macli, son. Inf. i"ltare «r* always training scs- Isiaes gains on." 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