Corinne Grousbeck remembers the first time people treated her son Campbell as someone to be feared.
Campbell, now 23, was about 18 months old. He’d been born with serious visual impairment, and he wore glasses on the chance that his vision might improve, although it never did. “Big goofy glasses,” Grousbeck recalls.
One day, Grousbeck took him to the market. She had Campbell in a shopping cart when a little girl approached. The girl was curious about his eyewear, and started to engage with the tot.
“He was not talking yet, but he got all animated,” Grousbeck says. “Then her mother came and scooped the little girl up. She said ‘Honey, leave that little boy alone. There’s something wrong with him.’ ”
Now Grousbeck is out to wake up the public about society’s misperceptions about the blind. Grousbeck, who chairs the board of trustees of Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, has spearheaded BlindNewWorld, a social change campaign aimed at breaking down the social and emotional barriers between the blind and the sighted. Grousbeck rattles off the list: “Fear, stigma, discomfort, pity.”