Excerpted from O&M
Living History – Where Did our O&M Techniques Come From?
By Dona Sauerburger,
As the new O&M
instructors began to teach the blinded veterans, their techniques and
strategies began to change. Probably the most significant change that took
place was that the lessons and techniques became increasingly sophisticated,
with greater and greater expectations of the blind men. [Stanley] Suterko
remembers a lesson with one of his first learners, who was
asked to complete a complex route indoors to find a certain room. When the man
reached his destination, he exclaimed, “Hot damn! I did it!” Suterko felt like saying the same thing, because he was
equally surprised that the man could do it.
wasn’t surprised by what the veterans could achieve because he had done it
himself, but the instructors and [Warren] Bledsoe and [Richard] Hoover continued
to be pleased and surprised with what the blinded veterans were accomplishing.
One day Hoover,
who visited Hines occasionally, watched a lesson in which the veteran crossed
several streets and went to a train platform. In retrospect, the lesson would not
be seen as particularly noteworthy, but Hoover
was exceedingly impressed. Williams also reports that at one visit, Hoover asked him if there
were any new developments. Williams couldn’t think of any, but when Hoover went to observe a
lesson, he was astounded at the new procedure he witnessed: the “drop-off”
lesson. This is a lesson in which the blind learner is dropped off without
being informed of his location, orients himself, and meets the instructor at a
first reaction was that this lesson was cruel to the blinded veterans, but he
later said that he approved of the practice.
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