Tag Archives: Adults

How to Recognize the Signs of Anxiety in Children

A Sad little boy wearing a hat

Image source- https://pixabay.com/en/sad-child-boy-kid-young-mood-72217/

 

Many children deal with anxiety and worry in daily life. It’s usually perfectly okay. However, more and more children are suffering from more severe anxiety problems. This is often due to problems at home, pressures from social media and their peers and stresses over school work and exams. Children today have a lot more to worry about than in previous generations.

 

Recognizing there is a problem and seeking help is always the first step to fighting mental illness and as children can’t always do this for themselves, it’s imperative that their parents are aware of the symptoms. Here are some common signs of anxiety in children.

 

Changed Sleeping Patterns

A little girl sleeping cuddling a teddy

Image source – https://pixabay.com/en/sleeping-child-napping-girl-kid-1311784/

 

Children suffering from anxiety may have trouble getting to sleep. They could be lying awake thinking about the day ahead, getting themselves more worried and wound up. You may notice them being tired in the morning, or seemingly over-sleeping as they start napping or have trouble waking up.

 

Eating More or Less

 

Children comfort eat when they are suffering, just like adults. But you could also notice them eating less, binge eating or displaying other signs of an eating disorder. Weight is a common concern for children in modern society, especially as they start getting a little older. So, if you have any concerns at all, contact HeadFirst Counseling who may be able to help.

 

Quietness

 

One of the first signs parents notice is that their usually chatty and open child has become withdrawn and quiet. This doesn’t necessarily need to be about them opening up about problems, you may just notice them being much less lively and talkative than usual. This could be because there is something on their mind, or they want to tell you something but are struggling to find the words. In these situations, it’s important that you find ways to let them know you are there, without pushing and pressuring them to talk.

 

Change in Behavior

 

You know your child better than anyone and will be the first to spot any changes in their behavior, small or large. Keep an eye on them, if there is anything that concerns you, either gently speak to them, or get advice. When it comes to your children and their health, physical and mental, it’s important to trust your instincts.

 

Not Wanting to Do Things

 

Another common symptom of anxiety in both adults and children is a loss of interest in doing things they used to enjoy. In children, this often manifests as not wanting to go to school, to extracurricular clubs and classes or out playing with their friends. Try to look for a pattern in this behavior; it may give you a clue as to what it is that is causing them such anxiety.

 

Spending More Time Alone

 

Children suffering from anxiety often retreat to a safe place. This could be their bedrooms, a den, or anywhere they feel comfortable and safe. While it’s normal for children to seek out some space of their own, if you are having to force them to come out, it could be a sign of a problem.

 

While on their own, these things shouldn’t be too much of a concern, if your child is exhibiting several signs and symptoms you should contact your GP or a counselor for help.

How to Rock Your Disability

When you’re dealing with a disability, many people will say ‘don’t let your disability define you’. Well, that’s easier said than done, because your disability does somewhat define you. But, it doesn’t have to destroy you. There may be certain things that you’re unable to by yourself or unable to do period. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying life. In fact, many people have achieved amazing things because of their disability. Take Jim Abbott for instance – a major league baseball player with a deformed right arm. If you’re ready to take the world by storm, here’s how to do it.

Quote in the coulds I have within me all the dreams in the world
Flickr

Don’t Be Afraid to Dream
Your disability may hinder you in some ways, but dreaming of the future is still important. It’s also important to recognise that dreams can evolve. So, if you dreamt of doing something or being someone when you were younger but your disability means you can’t reach that goal, keep dreaming. For example, if you dreamed of becoming a ballerina but you haven’t got full use of your legs, you can still join wheelchair dance classes, and perhaps dream about opening a dance school for disabled children in the future. Try creating a dream board for inspiration. Your possibilities are never completely burnt out.

You Are Not Your Weakness
In fact, a disability isn’t a weakness at all. If you’re willing to look at it from a different perspective, your disability could be your biggest strength. Thankfully, there are many new and innovative disability aids that will allow you to have as much independence in life as possible. One of the biggest challenges for people with disabilities is dealing with the views of others. You may be as positive as you can be about your disability, only to run into someone who treats you like a child or see’s you as nothing more than a disability. In these circumstances, you have to be the most confident person in the room and assert your independence. Show people how smart and beautiful you are. Every time you do, you become an advocate for every other person suffering with a disability.

A lady looking at the camera Eating an Apple
Flickr

Live a Healthy Lifestyle
When you have to live with a disability, there will undoubtedly be times where you feel like giving up. You may suffer with bouts of depression and anxiety and you may not want to make the effort to look after yourself. You may even turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the way you feel about your body and your life. If you need help recovering from drug and alcohol abuse, visit www.orlandorecovery.com/ and get some support. It’s also important to have a healthy diet and get as much exercise and fresh air as possible. All three of those things contribute to good mental health and encourage a good mood. If you’re living with a disability, taking good care of yourself is vital.

Know Your Limits
Pushing yourself to reach your goals and striving for independence is wonderful. But, there will be times when you need help. No man is an island. It’s okay to ask for help when you know you need it. If you push yourself too hard, you could damage your health and risk the plans you have in store for your future. When it comes to stress, you’re just like everyone else. Make sure you take well-earned breaks on a regular basis. It’s also beneficial to develop a good support network of family, friends and medical professionals. That way, when you’re really in need of some help, you have plenty of people to rely upon.

Picture of a glass with the quote because the glass really is half full

Flickr

Think Positively

Stephen Hawking once said, ‘Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically’. Sometimes, the first thing you need to do in order to live positively is to accept your disability. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with it and that’s that. But, that doesn’t mean the world has to be full of doom and gloom. It would be easy for you to become negative because of what you have to live with, but that’s not what you want, is it? Here are some tips on positive thinking – http://www.success.com/article/7-practical-tips-to-achieve-a-positive-mindset. Do your best to stay positive, even in the midst of hopelessness. Let your personality shine brighter than your disability and forgive anyone that offends you.

As a disabled person, you’re faced with something that can seem almost impossible. But, don’t let your disability turn into a mountain you can’t climb. You have what it takes to reach your goals, no matter what your disability is. Find ways to jump over your obstacles and always look for the positive in every situation.

Disability In Fashion: Where Is It?

Disability in the fashion industry: where is it?

Back in 1998 Alexander McQueen was the first designer to introduce disability in the fashion industry, Amy Mullins a double amputee athlete wore a pair of hand carved prosthetic legs.
and strutted her stuff on the catwalk.
It was seen as a ground breaking moment, an industry renown for it’s lack of diversity and inclusivity were now changing the tide. Disabled people everywhere thought this could be the turning point for fashion and disability.

It’s been almost 20 years and yet here we are, a community of 13 million people with the spending power of £80 Billion still being left behind.

I’m happy to see that disabled people have been showcased as beautiful, bold and have a passion for fashion with more recent designers including disabled models in London, Italian and New York fashion week, adorning the catwalk, but we still have a long way to go.

Where are the models of diversity in our high streets?
Where are the designers creating comfortable yet stylish clothes for persons in a wheelchair?

Recently Nike released a new line of shoe designed to fit the feet of those with limited mobility in their joints, however this campaign only came about because a young boy with cerebral palsy wrote to them asking for a pair of shoes that he could wear and look good in.

Having a disability doesn’t automatically mean that style and sexiness goes out of the window.Every person has a right to look glamorous and feel physically comfortable doing so.

“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” Miuccia Prada

Fashion has a significant influence in today’s society, magazines, social media, television and online, it’s everywhere you look.


“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” Oscar Wilde

Celebrities campaign for, and in some cases against fashion, in the case of Elton John and D&G.
Influence has power, and power directed in a positive way can have a profound and long lasting effect.
So why aren’t celebrities and designers coming together and campaigning for an inclusive world? It’s not like they don’t have the means or motivation, money and influence; two things that make the world what it is today.

Designers should be creating the clothes, models of disability should be showcasing the collection, and celebrities should be shouting from the rooftops about diversity and inclusion.

Clothes are designed for the tall upright able bodied person who walks to and from work. But what happens when that same gentleman sits down at his desk? His trousers rise above the ankle, and his shirt feels taut on his arms when he is typing at his desk.

Now imagine that same gentleman as a person who uses a wheelchair? His strength and mobility may be strained meaning that he cannot roll up his shirt sleeves , so he has to deal with the irritation of stretched material over his arms,


“Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.” Alexander McQueen

There are many talented individuals who have created their own clothing line,wearable shoes and customisable accessories for aids, just to name a few.
However it shouldn’t be left to an individual to have little to no access to fashion that they need to design their own.
I want to see a world where a wheelchair user can go to a high street store, be able to navigate adequately, see a mannequin that represents them, and pick clothes off the rack that will make them look and feel great.
I want to see a world where disability is embraced the way race, religion and culture are.

I want to see a world where models of disability are seen as equal partners, and not a story of inspiration or pity.

I want to see a world where fashion and disability collide and make magic, standing united, coming together and create a long-lasting partnership

“Real fashion change comes from real changes in real life. Everything else is just decoration.” Tom Ford.

“This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader

Spring Staycation For Those With Disabilities

With recent unrest and Brexit on the horizon, a holiday in the UK is looking like an attractive option this year. There has been a recent rise in the ‘staycation’ due to economic reasons, but though you may not have to change your sterling into another currency, a staycation still requires a little organisation, especially if your holiday needs to include accessible elements.
Though many would assume sharing a language would make everything infinitely easier (which it does) there are other elements of a mainly meteorological nature, to overcome. The UK has many fantastic locations for every sort of holiday you can imagine, from the picturesque West Country to the action packed Lake District. Though as with most things in life, planning is key.
While the UK is making great efforts towards being more inclusive, accessible for one hotel means wider door frames and a lack of steps, while what you really need is specially adapted facilities and a hoist. Ensuring that you are getting what you expect is mainly down to clear and open communication from the start and at every element of your trip.
Not only is accommodation vital to your trip, but so are many other elements, but often overlooked is dining. While on holiday, you wish to treat yourself, but if all the best eateries are up several stairs and do not cater to those with limited mobility, it will not be the vacation you are hoping for.
We spoke to those who know best when it comes to accessible holidays, for their top tips for a staycation to create a little guide that everyone should peruse before they indulge in a British break. Including everything from accommodation to activities, dining to domestics, it allows you to do nothing but relax by the time your holiday comes round. Click here for the in-depth guide :

http://www.companionstairlifts.co.uk/news/planning-your-spring-staycation/
Keep up-to-date by following their social networks:
Facebook
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Festive Fun At Christmas

Picture the scene;low lighting with live Cuban music playing softly in the form of a drummer and guitarist, and me in a black and gold sparkly dress with festive earrings to boot… Yes I was at a Christmas event. but this wasn’t just any Christmas event’ this was the MK bloggers Christmas party #MKFiesta at Revolución DeCuba!

Just before we walked in I admitted to Gary I was a little nervous but excited. This was my 2nd blogging event; my 1st blogging event was somewhat overwhelming. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this time around.

BoConcept magazine,proper corn, stu's oven and cuban free drinks

I needn’t have worried Gary and I said hello to the girls who were already there. We deposited our jackets and grabbed a glass of Pressecco.

We chatted and mingled getting to know one another, it was great being in such good company

Before long we were piling our plates high with the scrummy food; calamari, chicken wings, shredded chili beef brisket, roasted peppers and spicy rice to name but a few delicious treats!

On the table each person was gifted 2 free drinks; Gary and I both opted for cocktails from their Christmas menu. I ordered a tropical punch and Gary ordered a a chocolatey caramel pudding punch.
I enjoyed my cocktail but sadly Gary’s drink was far too sickly sweet. We were both impressed by the food and the funky glassware our cocktails came in; I had a pineapple shaped glass and Gary’s came in a cool mason type jar!
I’m a terrible blogger, I forgot to take pictures!

Mitchel ness hat "Ducks"

There were about 15 bloggers in attendance so we broke off into smaller groups to sit down and eat. This is where I got to chat more to the lovely Formidable Joy and But First Coffee. It was great getting to know the girls a little better and chatting about all things blogging. It’s fun meeting others that share the same joys and passions as you… Time just flys by…

While we were chatting Sophie’s Suitcase came over and handed out the goody bags, and my gosh were we treated to amazing gifts and vouchers from brands!

Tub of lush hand cream, bottle of ale, £1 off stus pizza, BoConcept magazine, Ducks beenie hat, Zumba classes, ProperCorn and an open spa pass.

  • A cute and cosy hat from Mitchell and Ness
  • A bottle of Ale from MK BierGarten which Gary claimed as soon as he spotted it!
  • Gorgeous hand cream from Lush, now where can you ever go wrong with a bit of Lush?
  • A cool magazine and voucher from Bo Concept. if only I had come across this awesome company before I moved 2 years ago, I
    would have spent hours lusting over the furniture!
  • 50% off at Rush, I’m very much looking forward to booking my haircut in the new year!
  • A relaxation session at Flotation Life, Gary and I are still debating on who deserves this more..
  • Lunch for 2 at Maaya I’m a lover of Indian cuisine so I cannot wait to try this restaurant out!
  • £1 off pizza at Stu’s Oven; Gary’s favourite food is pizza, so I won’t be getting a look in there then!
  • 2 vouchers for Zumba at Fitness Milton Keynes, trying to keep up with a fitness workout when you can’t see is going to be entertaining at the very least!
  • A 120g packet of sweet and smokey chili flavored propercorn it was very tasty i must say!
  • A pot of mustard from Mr and Mrs Fitz, I’m genuinely excited to try this on some pork chops.
  • And not forgetting further drinks vouchers as a fab excuse for us ladies to return in the new year and enjoy a few more cocktails!

A massive shout out goes to  Revolución DeCuba for being fantastic hosts, all the fab brands who gifted us, and most importantly Sophie’s Suitcase for organising the event itself!

I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and I look forward to the next blogger meet up!

Tub of hand cream, bottle of ale, 50% of at rush and apple and cider mustard




Much love,
Sassy x

A Day In Brighton

A day in Brighton.

Back in April myself and 2 friends visited Brighton for the day. I’v never been to Brighton before so it was a nice way to explore the famous sea side town.

It was raining for the majority of our train trip so we weren’t particularly looking forward to stumbling about in the rain… Lucky for us as we got off the train and walked through the station the rain stopped!

I popped to the disabled toilets in the station before we headed off, they were clean and smelt nice 🙂 The member of staff by the barrier was very friendly also! 🙂

We were going to walk down to the Marina but as the bus stop was just across the road from the station we decided to catch the bus. A local came over to us and started chatting to us until our bus arrived, he was very friendly. The bus driver could tell that we were not locals and gave us a few ideas of where to go.

We caught the bus down to the Marina, the bus journey itself wasn’t that long, but entertaining. Not only did my friend manage to insult another passenger by announcing that she couldn’t tell whether the passenger was a man or a woman (the passenger was a woman, she had her head shaved and said she gets it a lot).
But the most exciting part for me was that the bus itself was electric and a talking bus! Great for the environment and the blind! Talking buses announce each stop and tell you what stop is next! I fell in love with the town instantly!

Number 7 electric and talking bus

We got off the bus and had a walk around, snapping some pictures and enjoying being in each others company!

Mermaid Statue

Brighton Marina with docked boats

Stone Fountain spraying water into a large basin

We decided to go for lunch and Zee-Zee’s , I have been to the chain before and as we were out celebrating my birthday I was given the deciding vote 🙂

We were seated promptly and given menu’s and our drink order was taken.
I asked for a Braille menu and the waitress went and fetched one for me; another bonus to Brighton!
After Kathy explained we were out for my birthday I was given a complimentary glass of Pressecco!

After the drinks were brought over there was a swap of waitresses, and the new waitress Maddie took our order She was very friendly and bubbly.
I ordered King Prawn Linguini in a tomato sauce with courgette shavings.

King Prawn Linguini in a bowl with courgette

Lenny ordered spicy meatballs in a tomato sauce.

Spicy Meat balls in tomato sauce

Kathy ordered some vegetarian rubbish 😉

Goats cheese salad and bread

As we were placing our orders Lenny and I were trying to encourage Kathy to get a meat dish, and kept trying to tell Maddie our lovely waitress that she should bring her a giant plate of food with various meats, much to Kathy’s dismay!

I would like to point out that neither of us have any problem with people’s life choices and if Kathy were not such a great friend, we wouldn’t have wound her up! 😉

When Maddie returned baring gifts of delicious food she too joined in the banter exclaiming that there were extra prawns in Kathy’s lunch! Kathy just about freaked out and Lenny and I couldn’t contain the fits of giggles we burst into!
Not only was our lunch delicious but having such a bubbly waitress with a great sense of humour totally enhanced our experience at Zee-Zee’s Brighton!

We were far too full to order any desserts, although they were mouth watering, we may have had another Pressecco or two 😉 of course drinking all that Pressecco called for a bathroom stop.
Zee-Zee’s Brighton had very disabled friendly toilets, they were clean and smelt that way too! 🙂

After letting the last of our drinks go down and giving our tummy’s a rest we asked for the bill.
Lenny i’m sure was batting his eyelashes at the lovely Maddie!It was fun to not only chat to her but get to know her a little too!
She even gave us some money off our bill!

As we were gathering our things I mentioned to Maddie that I was a blogger, and I planned on doing a review for Brighton, and was going to do a special mention of Zee-Zee’s and their fantastic service!

She said she wanted to read it, then I suddenly got bashful! So Maddie if by some very slim pickings you do ever read my blog; thank you for making our trip to Brighton all the more enjoyable, it was lovely to meet you!

We left Zee-Zee’s and headed out towards the Marina to take a few pictures, and then we took an easy stroll along the sea front back towards the train station. There is a tram service which passed us but as it was really warm and sunny we wanted to take in the sea air and soak up the sun.

Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the peir in the distance

We popped into Pret- A Mange for a quick drink as the sun was beating down! :

We also dropped into a quirky music shop; there were so many cool instruments and they allowed you to pick them up and try them out! 🙂

Lenny Plucking the Chello

A wall of guitars

Our entire trip to Brighton was fantastic, we enjoyed our leisurely time there, and would happily go there again, especially to explore the pier and the more touristy bits!
The locals were extremely friendly and welcoming, the services they provide are accessible and accommodating to Visually Impaired people, I would definitely recommend visiting Brighton!

Have you ever visited Brighton? Do you have any recommendations?




Semantics of The Word Disabled

Today I was tagged on Twitter by Someone’s Mum to share my thoughts on her recent post. I was responding via Twitter and then realise I didn’t just have a little something to say on the matter, but something much bigger. And this is where my post began. Firstly I’d like to say that this is a beautifully written piece, and 100% spot on.

The language of words is utterly powerful, but peoples connotations of said words is part of the problem. I am disabled, but that is not all of who I am it’s a part of me just as my size is.

I use the adjective freely, because that is what it is; describing a part of me. People get far too caught up in the semantics of words, it’s literarily and linguist Dick meaning, but we as a society, we as the world need to educate one another. What one person might prefer to be called, might be different to that of another, but it doesn’t change The definition of the word, only people’s interpretation of it.

The dictionary definition of the word disabled is:
adjective
1(Of a person) having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities.
Which is clear cut, clinical and unemotional.

However, it still does not mean that people who are disabled are defined by its semantics and that only.It does however, mean that we fit into a category and description of a word.
Society choose not to use these words in fear of offending someone, yet these are the words that describe and define a part of who we are.
Words describe something, someone, a place, or a feeling: yet the same words are broken into sub sections, or collectives such as; nouns,pronouns and adjectives.
We don’t fear such connotations or literal meaning of the word capable, so why is the word disabled seen as negative?

We see the word disabled, and associate it with failure, DIS a Latin prefix meaning “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly,” or having a privative, negative, or reversing force (see de-, un-2.); used freely, especially with these latter senses, as an English formative:
disability; disaffirm; disbar; disbelief; discontent; dishearten; dislike; disown.

Inherently we believe it’s a negative , as a society were told its a negative. Semantics tell us it’s a negative.

So how do I as a disabled person encourage you to ignore The semantics and stereotypes, while taking into account the person who has the disability?

I continue with life, face the barriers and obstacles put in my path and bulldoze through them. You are a human, I am a human. Humans show compassion and empathy towards one another. What I ask is that you are vigilant of my disability, do not discriminate or undermine my capabilities, but trust and have faith that with the right support, Technology and education I too can achieve the same things you can. I may take the long way round, I may look strange when doing so, but fundamentally I am human, I am just like you.




Things I Don’t Get About Blind People

This weeks’ post is going to be a controversial one. For those who don’t know, I was born sighted, and still had some useable vision until 2013. I’ve met many people with Visual Impairments, varying greatly on the spectrum of blindness, and during this time i’ve picked up on the bad habits instilled within blind people. Those who were born blind, or, had some vision in their early years but it deteriorated.

I will admit that I know I shouldn’t judge people, for their mannerisms, or ways of coping with their eye condition, but I feel that these are the reasons why the public have such a disconnection with the blind community, and underestimate the capabilities of blind / Visually Impaired people.

  • Head spinning, rocking and hand flapping.For those who don’t know blind people do this to gain spacial awareness, and get stimulation from their environment. As a person with sight would scan a room with their eyes and take in information: therefore creating stimulation for their eyes and brain, totally blind people cannot do this, so may resort to doing those blindisms mentioned above.
    I can understand fully why a blind person may do this, but it’s evident that it’s not necessary for them to do this; parents and schools, especially special education schools should be educating blind people about the non verbal world of body language and the non verbal world of motor skills overflow.These mannerisms are socially awkward because the public as a whole do not do this. It’s dizzying to sit chatting to a blind person who sits or stands continuously nodding their head from side to side, or rocking frantically. I’m not saying it’s right but the public who have never interacted with a blind person before, and then came across him/her doing this, could confuse them and even in some circumstances put them off talking to that blind person.
    Teaching blind children about being aware and the concept of body language, would be positive as they will have more social inclusion from their peers, and future interactions, instead of being excluded for their strange mannerisms.
  • poking/ rubbing their eyes.

This is where blind people forcibly stick their finger in their eye(s), or rub them vigorously. It is a type of nervous/ comforting mannerism that some blind people do when they are nervous or bored. It’s a psychological habit rather than a medically necessary thing to do.
Being around a blind person who does this can be quite distressing to a sighted person. Not only does it look painful but eyes are commonly known to make people squeamish. Watching a blind person do this may make the sighted person uncomfortable, and they may not interact with that person again.

  • Walking like a zombieIts common for a blind person to walk with their hand slightly outstretched infant of them when they are not walking around with their cane or guide dog. This is normal, and a safety precaution for ensuring they do not injure themselves when walking around unaided.
    What is not expected is where a blind person has their hands and arms outstretched to their fullest length as they walk around somewhere familiar / unfamiliar. I’ve fallen victim to this way of walking and been touched, even when I gave a verbal warning i was there.
    Another way of walking is the zombie style walk, whereby the blind person has their arms outstretched fully, their wrists bent, and dragging their feet across the ground.
    If you have ever seen a blind person do these types of walks you’ll know how creepy it looks, and you have to swiftly manoeuvre out of their way as not to be tangled with a blind person, or, touched inappropriately.
    There is a big difference between slightly extending your hand, and walking round flailing your arms about.Again this needs to be discouraged by parents and the education system so the blind person can understand how to be safe
    without looking or acting strange.
  • Blind people who insist “I can’t do it because i’m blind”.This is a major problem in the blind community because it encourages and reinforces the public to step in and lend a hand, because clearly that blind person can’t do anything for themselves.
    I’ve noticed this behaviour predominately in people who had been wrapped in cotton wool by their parents, and not allowed to do things on their own and make mistakes. Equally, and most ironically i’ve noticed this statement coming from a blind person who used to be sighted, and had unfortunately lost their sight. These people are generally lazy and refuse to do things on their own,waiting for the assistance of others, and if that offer of help is not given, that person is the first to jump in with :I can’t see you know!”
    There is a difference between phoning The hospital and asking to be put through to a receptionist as you cannot read the NHS number on the top of your letter, and not getting yourself a glass of water in a place you know because “I can’t see”.
    When people first lose sight whether that be 5% or 95%, the world around us does become more difficult, a bit stressful and even sometimes a little scary. but as humans we are programmed to adapt, and learning to adjust to our new situation and environment. When blind people have been blind all their life, or for over a year, they should have learnt basic skills in the form of rehabilitation, even the possibility of having psychological support. There isn’t an excuse for being less independent than you want, so you shouldn’t allow yourself to become a stereotype of the blind person who cannot do anything on their own.
  • Not looking at the person you are interacting with.The person may be totally blind or Even Visually Impaired, but I have noticed a lot over the years that those who have lost their sight completely, tend not to look at the person they are talking to. In some instances even their body is turned away from the person too. It is extremely strange and socially awkward because humans are wired to communicate by looking at one another, so if your head, body or both is facing away from the other person, it can come across as disinterest on your part.
    This particular blindism confuses me the most; just because you cannot see the person you are talking to doesn’t mean you can’t hear the direction of the sound. Blind people really need to understand that it’s not about physically looking with their eyes at the person, because in the majority of cases the other person will either notice you cannot see, or will dismiss it and still look at your face. For you then to have your body and head turned away looks uninviting and rude.Again I think more needs to be done to educate the public that even if the person cannot see you, they will try and look in your general direction to indicate they are listening and communicating. Likewise, and most importantly, children (and adults) need to be told to turn around to face you, even if thats by giving verbal communication “I’m at your 2 O’Clock”.
    From what i’ve gathered over time, the blind person doesn’t notice that they are off centre, but even if they did, it should be encouraged for them to turn to face you. A gentle explanation will go a long way, into keeping the communication fluid, and less awkward.
  • Blind people who would rather be guided than using their cane.This is where the blind person does not take their cane out with them, or keeps it out of sight, preferring to be guided instead.
    There does seem to be a stigma within the blind community that if you have some sight, you shouldn’t use your cane: Some VIPs prefer not to use a cane as they don’t want to become a target of prejudice/ seen as vulnerable.
    I myself refused to use a cane until my sight got so bad I could barely see in front of my own nose.
    I’ve even noticed this with totally blind people, asking to be guided rather than using their cane. This is where I don’t get it. A cane is a blind or Visually Impaired persons’ aid to get them around safely and swiftly, but it’s also a sign to sighted people that they need to be aware you have limited or no vision. It’s a sign for the sighted person just as well as an aid for the blind person. It’s OK to do this once in a while, but not on a frequent basis. i’ve noticed that throughout my life as a Visually Impaired person.
    Being guided as you use your cane (known as assertive guiding), or walking closely beside your friend/ family member/ partner, is far more safe than purely being guided alone. Using a cane gives you the independence to get around,. Not relying on another to be your guide,or having no real knowledge of where you are.I find it funny that I’ve done a full 360 as a Visually Impaired person, refusing to use a cane through fear of being a target or being judged. And now I’m an advocate for it! But I truly believe more education needs to be given to the public on blindness: what it means to use a cane / guide dog, and how it gives us the independence and freedom we want to get around, just like everyone else.

Disclosure*** These are my own thoughts and opinions on what i’ve experienced and noticed over the years as a Visually Impaired/ blind person. I feel there is not enough education for the public surrounding disabilities in general and action needs to be taken to not only explain how having a disability doesn’t make you incapable of doing things, but we might take a different route to get to the same destination.

I also believe fully that blind children need to be discouraged from part taking in blind mannerisms, and be taught properly how to use their spacial awareness. Everyone uses body language to communicate even whether you realise it or not, and blind children should be taught about it, and learn to listen out for other signs of body language that people don’t always realise they are giving off. For example when a person is smiling as they talk, you can hear it in their voice. Being blind doesn’t mean children should be excluded from learning visual cues or intonation, so they too can be included in conversations, and act in socially appropriate ways.




I know it sounds terrible but the fact of the matter is, that was a society we conform to the social norms in order to fit in. As well as to understand the world around us better. I don’t think any children with a disability shouldn’t have the same concepts and fundamentals as everyone else. We all want to be liked and accepted. Even if that means socially conforming, especially when it has no medical resonance to the person. We should try and expel these awkward behaviours so people aren’t looked over and ignored.

Challenges of Being Disabled: The Social Side.

Social Challenges.

As a wheelchair user:

The social challenges I’ve faced have been constant.People continually stared when I was in public. Strangely it was adults that were the worst. Children stopped and stared and asked inquisitive questions, which I could handle, and if I was in talking distance I explained that I couldn’t walk very far, and it was very painful to do so. Adults on the other hand stared and pointed me out to their friends. After time my Mother used to get angry at these people and shout

“Take a picture it’ll last longer!”

At that point the adults became embarrassed and looked away.

  • People frequently would walk in front of the wheelchair and either stop dead to stare or jump out of the way dramatically just in time. Comical for the first few times but after years of it, it gets very annoying.

People insisted on talking to my Mother or anyone else who happened to be pushing me at the time. It is a strange misconception that people who happen to use a wheelchair, have other disabilities or learning impairments.
When this happened my Mother would say:

“She does have a tongue in her head, and knows how to use it.”Adults would talk to me as if I were 2/3 years old, or bend down to talk to me so they could be eye level. I found this extremely patronising and said on several occasions:

“I am a teenager, not a baby!”

“I can see your face from where you were standing.”




 

As a long cane user:

 

  • Ignorance:

Over the last 2 years that I have been using a cane I have had very similar experiences with people stopping and staring, jumping out of the way at the last minute, and speaking to the person I might be with rather than addressing me directly. As I am much older and more mature I tend to ignore these incidents, and realise that I shouldn’t allow myself to get aggravated with these people as I can’t see them and i’m not likely to notice them ever again!
Children have asked their parents about my “white stick” and again if I am in talking distance, I explain that I cannot see things clearly, and the cane is there to let people know I cannot see.

  • New people:

My main social challenges are interacting with new people; whether that’s talking to staff in a shop or restaurant I feel awkward because 9/10 times I can feel the uneasiness of the other person interacting with me.I always look at the persons face but if I am staring at their mouth or their forehead when i’m talking it’s obvious to them I can’t actually see them standing in front of me and i believe it makes them feel awkward too.
Making new friends has also been a challenge for the same reasons mentioned above, but the way I see it *ahem pardon the pun* 😉 they aren’t worth my time if they can’t get past my visual impairment.
Buildings:

Finding new places/ buildings is a stressor to me, I have to plan a route and use a a SatNav application to reach my destination, and i’ve heard people laugh if I walk into objects/ walls.

  • Helpful people:

If people have seen me waiting to cross a road they have taken my arm without me asking, people have also picked up the end of my cane, or taken the cane completely off me to grab my hand to cross me over. With these incidents specifically I hadn’t necessarily noticed there was a person there as I was too busy concentrating on listening to the traffic and judging when it was safest to cross. I find it pretty bewildering and at some points stressful as they plonk me on the other side and walk off.Or most importantly they have taken the thing I need the most to aid me crossing the road safely, and sometimes it’s stunned and shocked me into silence.
My last social challenge was a sort of scary one; I was walking home from the local supermarket bags in hand, when I was approached by a guy who said hello, we chatted for a minute or two then I made my excuses to leave. The guy didn’t get the hint, and asked me for my number, saying how attractive I was. I explained I was flattered but I don’t give my number out to strangers. He was persistent saying he only wanted my number to be friends and chat, but I said I really must leave I’m meeting friends soon. I walked away. As I reached the top of the hill he came rushing up to me asking if I was meeting my friends in town, and if i needed a hand to get there. I politely declined but he continued to follow me, returning to our previous conversation about asking for my number and going on a date. At this point I was getting quite close to home and had to really insist I wasn’t interested, and I needed to go now. Eventually he stopped walking with me, to which I couldn’t be more happy about. I was close to my house, and knew I was safe, but I needed him to back off as I didn’t want to show him where I lived.

My heart was pounding as I got home, I knew deep down he wasn’t going to hurt me, he was just a guy trying his luck, but as a petite female who can’t see past her nose, I was genuinely worried he wouldn’t leave and therefore find out where I lived and potentially stalk me. Thank the gods that never happened!
I know some of you who are reading this might perceive my thoughts and reactions as rude and inappropriate, but if you could put yourself in my shoes for a day, you’d understand. I strive to be pleasant and polite when I am out and about, but it becomes frustrating and boring hearing, and seeing, the same things from the same people everyday. I think more needs to be done to educate children and adults on how to approach and speak to people with disabilities. The more we educate, the more we learn, and the more we can end the awkward surrounding disability!

I will also say that these are just my bad experiences of dealing with people interacting with me as a disabled person. I would like to input that from being in a wheelchair as a child and teenager, to becoming blind as an adult, my perceptions and attitudes towards people have changed, and I am far more reserved, and polite when interacting with new people. I attempt to be pleasant when out in public, and educate those around me, especially when children or adults have asked questions. I won’t stand for people patronising me or being ignorant, but the ways in which I will express it is in a mature manner, and diplomatically show them the errors of their ways. I’m not sure if it’s because I have a changed persona from my childhood, or I give people the benefit of the doubt now, but i’m very lucky that I have had far more happy, interesting and pleasant interactions and conversations with the public since I went blind.
If you’re worried about interacting with people with disabilities, check out SCOPE’s End The Awkward campaign 🙂
Thanks for reading, I know my posts can be pretty hefty. Feel free to comment below if you have any comments or questions on this weeks blog 🙂

Sassy x