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Thread: Disabled Students

  1. #11
    First Year Ravenclaw
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    Jul 2008
    Lost in the desert
    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    I have a student coming up in one of my stories who is going to be blind (a condition she's held from birth, which magic cannot cure.) I am already debating the use of a seeing-eye dog or a seeing-eye efl, possibly both, but I want to expand more. What challanges might she face as a student in a wizarding school? How would she be accomidated?
    Such an interesting concept to consider. Of course there would be innumerable challenges since so much of the magic in Harry Potter is visual. Transfigurations could be as much of a problem as Potions. How will she know if her spells have been successful or not without viewing the result?

    Probably like normal blind people she would develop her senses of hearing and touch more to compensate for the lack of sight. Perhaps there are even special spells for that purpose that professors would give her individual training in. Ron mentions a Supersensory Charm in the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, the Homenum Revelio spell might have variations she could learn, and maybe the Point Me spell could be used with an added destination command. I'm sure she would not want to feel completely dependent on a seeing-eye elf her whole life.

    So many other interesting questions come up. What would her Boggart be if she can't see it anyway? What would her Patronus be if her she has never seen an animal for her magic to create an image of? Could she learn to perform Legilimency and 'see' in that way when she reads someone else's thoughts or memories? I think you have a gold mine of possible storylines, Molly.

    Half a Wizarding World away... an unwanted child finds magic.

  2. #12
    It would be very hard at Hogwarts, as it is in RL, to be blind. I'm thinking that the student wouldn't attend all of the normal classes... Hmm, maybe a couple like History of Magic, etc. The less practical ones - or maybe HoM would be the only one they could attend... Personally, I think the student would be relying more on a private tutor than anything for their education.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCCollier
    What would her Boggart be if she can't see it anyway?
    Complete and utter silence. That's what I think a blind person's worst fear would be. It would be terryifing, though, wouldn't it? Not being able to hear OR see? But there's some people out there that suffer through being blind as well as deaf. *shudder* I wonder what their Boggart would be? Maybe losing the sense of touch?

  3. #13
    What about students who are deaf or who are mute? What services do you imagine would be in place for them?

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    What about students who are deaf or who are mute? What services do you imagine would be in place for them?
    Given that, for reasons previously discussed, there probably aren't very many disabled students (it's unlikely Hogwarts ever has more than one deaf student at a time, for example), I suspect there wouldn't be any regular set of services in place. More likely, when they occasionally get a student with special needs, they find out how such students have been accommodated in the past (if at all) and try to do likewise. And given the haphazard nature of education and standards at Hogwarts, just how well they are accommodated probably depends a lot on the good will of the current Headmaster/Headmistress and staff, as well as their House.

    Deaf and mute students would have to learn non-verbal spells sooner than other students. This accelerated program of advanced techniques would probably mean sacrificing some of the fundamentals that everyone else gets thoroughly drilled in. So you get a student who can do non-verbal spells early, but probably isn't as good as most students at a lot of the basic spells.

    As for more magical accommodations, for a mute student, I am picturing a Thought-pad -- a magical notepad that transcribes whatever the student is thinking, so he or she can communicate with others. (Or maybe it's a Thought-Quill.) Of course, embarrassment and hilarity may ensue if the student forgets to close/deactivate it at inopportune times.

    How about a Silver Tongue? A magical item that can be placed in a mute person's mouth to allow him or her to voice his/her thoughts. The catch being that the tongue uses the voice (and language) of whoever enchanted it.

    For a deaf student, something like Rita Skeeter's Quote Quill would be useful -- assuming the student is not a proficient lip-reader. Also, maybe a ring or a pendant that can flash when someone is yelling or otherwise trying to get their attention.

  5. #15
    In my story, there is a girl with a severe lung disorder.

    She has to take brething treatments (ie, spells with her wand, simple enough) on the hour.

    Do you imagine the teachers would let it go unnoticed or announce: "Class, Leah has breathing problems..."

    What do you say?

  6. #16
    Personally, I think they would let her slip out of class quietly. It would be the sensitive thing to do. Madam Pomfrey could meet her in the corridor and suprevise/administer the treatment

  7. #17
    I know in real schools, they can't legally devulge a student's medical problems to the student body. They could get sued. I don't know if wizards have those same laws or can sue one another (maybe in America they can), but I still think they would respect the student's privacy.

    If, however, people were talking and rumors were flying around, the sick student might ask the teacher to inform everyone about her condition, simply because it would be easier than telling everyone personally.

  8. #18
    As with many disabled muggles, disabled witches/wizards would probably find ways to cope with their disabilities, magically or otherwise. Likewise, people who are robbed of one ability often make up for it by excelling at another.

    I'm toying with having a paralyzed girl in my story. She's confined to a wheelchair, but excels at telekinesis (moving things magically). Likewise, she has extraordinary focus, so she is able to levitate herself to places she needs to go, etc.

    As such, if you have someone who is blind, have them use sound to 'see' (look up the superhero Daredevil the general idea). If they are deaf, make them like normal deaf people and have them read lips. Or to get extreme, consider a form of legilimency.

  9. #19
    This is a brilliant idea for a discussion, if I may say so. I'm having plot bunnies strewn across my mind.

    I know that in my school, for example, four or five years ago there was a boy with Tourrette's. My English teacher told us in a classroom discussion of disabilities about how the boy's mother was always telling the children, from the time that he started school, about how Tourrette's works. It gets worse with puberty, or so I hear, but all of the students didn't think it was weird, and didn't make fun of him - because of what his mother did to prepare them for it. I personally would like people to know what was wrong with me, if just so rumours and rude comments would be fewer, or at least better informed, but it would be interesting to see a student's struggle to 'just be normal'.

    With the non-verbal spells for deaf/mute students - I don't see them being that far behind. They could still attend their classes like the other children, and prehaps take extra lessons later on, like Harry does with Occlumency. They may not be able to do practical lessons with the others, until they master non-verbal spells, at least, but they would be able to do some practice, or a try at practice. I mean, look at how fast Hermione learned non-verbal spells - she was doing them her first class period. Of course, she was a Sixth Year, but if the student really consentrated, I'd guess they could do it pretty well in a month or two. Anyway, if they were from a family with a witch or wizard present, they could be learning it from the time when they learn they have magic.

    That Thought-Quill is a good idea - and I can think of a few ways it could be used for entertaining purposes. I don't see it putting out every thought, unless it's a new invention - in that case, it would be hard to sort through all that a person thinks - would it work only with what the person would say, if they could do it themselves, or all thoughts? Would it be with only the forefront thoughts in a person's head, or with those of the subconcious mind? You'd have to decide that sort of thing before you could use such an item in a fic.

    A student who is blind might still have average fears - prehaps they are scared of snakes or amphibians or something of that sort - the rattle of the rattlesnake, or the feel of slimey or scaley skin may be how they are terrified. But I think that sometimes, they might not even be effected by the Boggart - like if Molly were blind, she wouldn't be able to see all of the dead family members, so she might not even notice, unless she steps on it or she could hear them dying.

    Now, what ways do you think would be common for a person to become/be disabled, besides being born with it? I see a curse without a countercurse being a problem, like one that deprives senses, or having something removed. Prehaps there is a morphed version of Silencio that is permanent, or something of the kind. Prehaps the character had a illness as a child that removed their sight.

    I see the cures to various ailments being a gradual process - prehaps a cure for whatever the character's ailment exists, but it has a few unsavory side effects - like, I dunno, the random combustion of a person's little finger. Also, with Skele-Gro - if I'm not mistaken, I think it wasn't invented close to Harry's time. I think it was in GoF that Ron said something about how he had thought that Hagrid had swallowed a bottle of Skele-Gro as a kid after Hagrid was revealed to be a giant. I just think that it wouldn't be commonly used or available - how many people have bones completely removed? I'd also consider Skele-Grow really dangerous. I'd think it possible that it could cause a person to be seriously injured - if there wasn't a bone to be regrown, would the potion grow all of the bones? That could be fatal. But I digress.

    As I said, a very excellent topic. I'll be thinking about this for a while.

  10. #20
    Firstly, I've always wondered about most of the subjects in this discussion too; I'm glad someone finally posted this!

    Quote Originally Posted by HARRYHARRYHARRYs_twin
    Now, what ways do you think would be common for a person to become/be disabled, besides being born with it?
    I would imagine that Dark Magic would cause some injuries that would in turn cause some disabilities (remember, George's ear couldn't be magically reattached because it was taken off by dark magic). Perhaps some accidents could also be a common form (maybe a spell gone awry? A potion with no cure that damages the larynx / voicebox?)

    A question:
    If Voldemort can create a hand for Peter, can Healers create artificial parts for those who need them?

    Say that a man got hit with a spell that damaged his voicebox. Could a very powerful Healer replace it? Or would the Healer try to 'fix' the damaged one? What if the voicebox was harmed by dark magic? Would the Healer then try to replace the part?

    I'm going to keep coming back; this is a very interesting subject!

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