Tag Archives: Disabilities

Understanding M.e. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)

Hi, I’m Ellen! Sassy has kindly given me the opportunity to write a bit about ME, (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), and my mum’s experience of suffering from it. I think it is so important to raise awareness and I have included some tips for anyone who wants to help somebody suffering from the illness.

In 2011 my mum was diagnosed with ME after many months of feeling very ill and numerous doctor and hospital appointments.




What is ME?

It’s not easy to define what ME is due to many different symptoms and theories as to what causes it. Some say it is a neurological disorder, others an immune dysfunction, but much research is still needed.

How ME effects my Mum:
ME effects people differently and can vary in its severity. For my mum, in addition to an overwhelming tiredness she gets body aches, pains, dizziness and nausea. And I’m talking 24/7. It’s like having bad flu every single day to the point where you can’t get out of bed.
One of the hardest things for suffers is the lack of understanding. You can look well on the surface or perhaps be having a good day but that doesn’t mean you’re cured. The next day might be a very different story. It’s much more than just feeling ‘a bit tired’ and can’t be made better by a good night’s sleep!
The stigma around ME:
Many doctors, (though not all!), don’t understand ME, probably due to not knowing the cause of it. Some can be unsympathetic and dismissive. It’s important to find a doctor who understands and supports you as this is the first step in being diagnosed and feeling better.
How to support someone who is suffering with ME:
Depending on the severity, developing ME can completely change your life, in some cases leaving you bed ridden. If you know someone suffering here are some ways you can help:
• Don’t tell them that they just need ‘a good night sleep’ or to take ‘a refreshing walk in the countryside’ to feel better. The only way to manage ME is to allow your body to rest and pace your activities every day.
• My mum can’t easily plan ahead as she never knows whether she will be having a good or bad day so be flexible and understanding. Plans may need to be adapted to include less walking for example.
• Encourage them to take time out each day to rest. This is the main way my mum can manage her illness. If it means having a Spanish style siesta each day, go for it! And don’t let them feel guilty for missing out on things!
• Offer to help with the more mundane life chores e.g cleaning/walking the dog. It means they can save more energy for the fun things!
But it’s not all bad news! When first diagnosed my mum couldn’t even walk from her bedroom to the kitchen and had to spend months in bed. But now she leads a normal yet slower paced life by building in time each day to rest! Most people improve over time and are even cured after 5-10 years. It’s all about balance and staying positive!
In a funny way I think my mums ME has actually bought some positives to her life. She takes a lot more time for herself and has rediscovered hobbies and interests that she’d given up during the usual frenetic pace of life. Now I’m older I look back and realise how hard it must have been, even at her worst she was always there to pick me up from school and cook me dinner and never complained about how ill she was. She’s an amazing mum!
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, come and say hi at www.ohhelloellen.com or on Twitter




Sorry For My Absence

I’m sorry for my absence. I’ve been contemplating writing this for a while now. But i’ve been holding back.
The reason for this is that i’ve begun overcomplicating things in my own mind.

I started this blog to share with you the rollercoaster ride that seems to be my life. I wanted to share everything from the highs to the lows hopefully attempting to show that although having a disability sucks sometimes, there’s a lot in life for us all to be grateful for, and in my case, find the funny side of it all.

As more time went on I realised I didn’t just want to share my story but share other people’s stories too.
I wanted to be a platform for people to learn something new, become more open minded and even to be a resource to for those who may be seeking it.

I have a thirst for knowledge and a passion to educate and support others.I put my energy into creating content that I hoped would be of use to others, and put my own thoughts and stories on the back burner, until I thought they would be of use.
I’m open and honest on this blog and fingers crossed it’s somewhat entertaining…

But i’ve been overcomplicating things… I wanted my blog to be a resource, a platform, a network and a home to share it all.
I started my campaigns in the hopes of creating a community. I wanted to be inclusive of everyone; fromAutism to arthritis or cystic fibrosis to depression, right through to those that care for people with a disability.

My #DisabilityQ&A took off, and I was excited to be sharing peoples’ stories, and i’m extremely grateful for those of you who got involved!

I tried my best to create the same enthusiasm with my other campaigns, as well as trying to encourage those with any #Disability to get on board with no avail.
I was disheartened somewhat but I had a million and one other ideas for blog posts that I thought would be interesting and useful. So I kept going.

Blogging not only became my passion, but it became an obsession. If I wasn’t writing content I was thinking of what material to use and researched it to make sure my facts were correct.
I joined in fabulous linkys, I had a tribe and I spent all my spare time talking to bloggers, reading their awesome blogs and promoting as much as I could.

I was having the best time, I was making new friends around the globe, learning new things and achieving what I hoped with my little corner of the internet.

But then I began to overcomplicate everything.

I was in a tribe that were all on a similar level to each other, constantly supporting one another and giving continuous encouragement and praise.
It was fantastic, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and kind bunch of people to be around.

But the further I delved into the blogging world the more I realised how technical things got.
I was knee deep in blog posts or conversations that revolved around stats, branding and monitisation.

I became interested in raising my stats; the prospect of working with brands who could help further my campaigns, give my blog exposure and in turn become the platform I hoped it could be.I thought I could really make a difference; doing reviews, giving talks and getting more people to share their trials and triumphs.

I was eager and excited at the prospect of doing something good: exposing other campaigners and my little blog being recognised for creating a community of support and resources.

So I joined blogging groups, blogging platforms that would connect brands with bloggers and even emailed PR’s and organisations to introduce myself and explained my ambitions for the blog.

And that’s where things became complicated.

I quickly realised that I was too niche for brands, PR’s and even organisations to want to work with me.
Review opportunities came in the form of fashion, kids accessories, beauty or luxury jewellery.
These reviews were not quite what I was looking for, and the odd time I thought I could work with a brand to review things from a disability standpoint I was stopped at the first hurdle.
“5000 followers minimum to apply”

I appreciate each and every follower and reader of my blog.I want people to follow me because they have a genuine interest in my blog and my campaigns.
I’m not a parent blogger, fashion or beauty blogger.
Although I have interest in fashion and beauty i’m not going to pretend I follow the latest trends… I have little to no knowledge of these things to even warrant blogging about them.

I was also getting nowhere with contacting PR’s/ organisations via email. The few times I was lucky to get a response I was congratulated for what I was trying to achieve but ultimately they did not have the time or budget to work with me.

At this point I was surrounded by fabulous bloggers acing it with stats, brand work and even getting paid work! I couldn’t be happier for my friends,but I found it increasingly overwhelming and at points unworthy to be in their company.

I wasn’t achieving what they were.

Even the bloggers I was reaching out to for my campaigns seemed no longer interested in joining them.

I became deflated and even at times frustrated… I was trying to make my blog into a place that was more about the community than it was about me.

Even though I had blog post ideas zooming around my mind and cluttering up my drafts; I started posting less and focused more on promoting the blogs myself and others had already taken the time to write.
After a while I slowed down on the amount of linkys I joined too.
I began to notice that unless I was one of the first people to link up, my posts I pretty much got ignored.
I used to spend hours reading and commenting on blogs and even sharing them over my social media, but the less often I shared or commented I began realising that people clearly weren’t interested in my blog.
It had become a: you scratch my back, i’ll scratch yours mentality…

Aside from the few people that genuinely enjoyed reading my blog, left me meaningful comments or shared my posts my stats dropped faster than an avalanche.

At this point I was done with spreading the blog love. I put 100% effort into my posts, and I wanted nothing more than to educate people who had little to no knowledge of disabilities and be a place for those with disabilities to find support and even new ideas.

By the time I had been in hospital for a week: after breaking my leg I wasn’t even sure if I should blog about it.
I’d become so wrapped up in wanting to be a space to share knowledge, ideas and experiences I thought people wouldn’t be interested in hearing my holiday dramas.

I began my blog to share my story, yet in my mind I feel it’s become something bigger than that.
I guess that it’s because I wonder often, what makes me so special that I should spend day after day talking about myself.
What is it that makes me more interesting than any other blind or disabled person out there?

And the answer is, there isn’t.

I’m just another blind person talking about their disability.

But it’s my space.

If my little corner of the internet can educate one person or give another disabled person a someone to relate to then i’ve done my job.

Stats, brands and opportunities are great, but this is no longer my focus.
Of course if a worthwhile opportunity were to come knocking, I would grab it with both hands.
But most importantly i’m grateful for my lot, and anything else is a bonus.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
– Theodore Roosevelt.

The Joys of A&E

Gary and I headed off to A&E on Friday morning as previously discussed by the Doctors and ourselves in Malta.
We are extremely grateful to our friends for picking us up from the airport, and then kindly carrying me to the sofa! As I had been in a foreign hospital I had no wheelchair or crutches to aid me; only the people around me!

Thankfully A&e wasn’t too packed, so we didn’t have to wait too long to be seen. I was given a set of crutches and an appointment to the fracture clinic for Monday morning to discuss surgery.

And we were sent on our merry way.

*****
Around 5 AM Sunday morning I woke up in considerable pain, my leg felt like it was having the life squeezed out of it, I took some painkillers and by 06:30 things hadn’t improved, I was starting to seriously worry; I had no DVT injection since Thursday and I was beginning to worry there might be something sinister going on.

(Fondaparinux injection is used to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT; a blood clot, usually in the leg. It is given to those who have had a recent leg operation or have severely restricted movement in the legs from an accident.)
Gary and I went straight to A&E; I wasn’t seen by a doctor until 10:00.

I explained everything from my accident, handing over my discharge letter along with x-ray and CT scan, to the fracture clinic appointment, to the pain I was feeling, the Doctor did all the checks and said that I did have circulation flowing and there wasn’t anything to be concerned about. It wasn’t until I stressed that this pain had become increasingly worse daily that he decided to keep me monitored until I could speak to an orthopaedic doctor.
Gary and I made it clear that I was blind, but I don’t think this was passed onto the HCA taking my OBs; he just stood their silently waiting for me to hold my arm out and then finger so he could take my blood pressure and pulse…
Regardless of my sight loss I thought it was almost rude that he came into the cubicle without a word, moved about quietly and then expected to take my OBs in silence and stalk off again… There has been a change in the law that people with extra needs who attend NHS centres should be given notes/ leaflets/ medical information in a format preferred by the patient. So for me that would be; verbal communication as to who they are, what they are doing in the room, talking openly about my care, and any medical information to be given to me via email.
This was never discussed with me, but as it wasn’t exactly high on my priority list I decided not to mention it.

When my 4 hours in A&E were up; a nurse explained that I had filled my quota of A&E hours and I had to go elsewhere for monitoring and waiting to see the Doctor in charge of Orthopaedics.
Discussing with the nurse as she moved us elsewhere in the hospital it’s clear that the medical professionals are aggravated by the government putting this in place.
If I were to stay longer than my quota she would get it in the neck from her bosses!
How ridiculous is it that the government are more bothered about number crunching than patients and their welfare!

My family and I were put on a ward and told that they couldn’t give us a time, but the Doctor would be with us when he could.
We laughed and joked, and waited around for at least an hour and half before we began getting impatient. My Dad and Gary were giving us hangry eyes; so Mother and i sent them off to make us some breakfast sandwiches 🙂
Thankfully for us Gary and I live around the corner from the hospital so it was easy enough for Gary and Dad to pop home, make brunch and bring it back.
Sausage and bacon sandwiches with a cup of tea was just what we all needed! Thinking back now, it was very tasty and I was extremely grateful to the boys, even if it was more for their benefit than either mine or my Mum’s 😉

We waited for at least another hour before my Mother decided to go and investigate as to what was going on, she came across a bunch of nurses just sitting on their phones not doing any work!
Upon enquiring she was given an “we don’t know what’s going on”comment.
Mother didn’t take no for an answer and eventually we were told that the Doctor we were waiting on was in surgery and would see us when he was out…
Although annoying that we hadn’t been given this information before, at least we finally knew what all the waiting around was for!

Eventually we saw the Doctor. From the x-rays he had seen the fracture was severe and definitely needed surgery, but as the hospital couldn’t access the CT scans that i had brought over with me from Malta, he couldn’t make an informed decision of how to repair the leg properly.

CT scan give for more detailed information than an x-ray. I was told that I could possibly have the surgery as early as the next morning, so I was to prepare myself by eating and drinking nothing after midnight and I would get a phone call in the morning to let me know if I would be having surgery.
It was a long day; we didn’t leave the hospital until around 14:30 but at least we had cut out the middle man of going through this all the following day at the fracture clinic.:)
** * * *
I hope you haven’t had to attend A&e, but if you have, what were your experiences with it?



Are You Indirectly Discriminating?

Are you being indirectly discriminative?

The Equality Act 2010 says that indirect discrimination is:
“A practice, policy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but has a worse effect on some people more than others.”

Without realising it, we are indirectly discriminating…

How am I indirectly discriminating you may ask?

I will get into that very shortly but first I will give a brief explanation of what the Equality Act is.
The Equality Act 2010 was proposed as a way to combine previous legislation together to make a better stronghold on discrimination and support those who may potentially be discriminated against in the future.

There are 9 protective characteristics:
*Age
*Disability
*Gender Reassignment
*Marriage or Civil Partnership in employment only
*Pregnancy and maternity
*Race
*Religion or belief
*Sex
*sexual orientation
But for today we are focusing on disability.

Disability and Access to Websites.

The Equality Act at Section 21 includes the adoption of a single concept of the provision of a service which covers ; goods, services and facilities among other things.

While the Equality Act 2010 doesn’t expressly refer to websites the consensus has been that the reference to the provision of service does apply to commercial web.
You can find more information on the Statutory Code of Practice.
“Websites provide access to services and goods and may in themselves constitute a service; for example, where they are delivering information or entertainment.”

*****

Websites can be a double edged sword for those with disabilities. People with sensory impairments such as blindness may choose to shop online, but much in the same way shops/ buildings can create physical barriers, a website can present the same barriers.

Screen readers are software programs giving blind and visually impaired people a way to navigate computers, tablets and phones through audio feedback.
Problems arise when user interfaces such as buttons are not labeled correctly, tables are not configured properly and images have no alternative text. Also known as Alt text attributes.

Why is this important?

Imagine the frustration of browsing the internet and being denied crucial information, such as buttons with the Twitter logo only saying link, tables reading non stop from left to right and photographs only saying the word image.

So going back to the earlier question: how am I being indirectly discriminating?

By not labelling these interfaces/ attributes correctly, you are denying visually impaired people access to your website. Whether it is intentional or not.

So what can you do?

By adding Alt text! Adding Alt text is simple; when you upload/ edit a picture on your website, you should give a clear description of the image.
Example:
Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance

The Alt text reads “alt=”Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the pier in the distance” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Likewise, if you are adding a text based image to your website, you need to include the original text of the image as screen readers cannot distinguish the writing/text.

Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you!"

The Alt text reads “alt=”Flowers with the caption "Smile, and the world will smile with you” which will be read aloud on all screen reader software.

Blogging and SEO.

so you’re a blogger and you bake a delicious cake, you’ve been told to include Chocolate Cake Recipe , in every image of your tasty treat. In order for SEO to give you better rankings you need to include the Title for every image caption, right?

WRONG!!

The caption/ tag area is for Alt Text descriptions. Blind and visually impaired users need to know what the image is about, and SEO will also penalise you for not doing this.
SEO sees this as spam. In order for you to get good SEO rankings as well as being lawfully abiding, your images/ photos should have a brief description.

Most blogs are being indirectly discriminative, and not just to visually impaired people. People with other sensory impairments, motor skill problems and cognitive issues may also be indirectly discriminated against.

If you are unsure whether or not your website or blog is indirectly discriminating, you can use these free tools below to check.
Please think about your potential audience before you hit publish.
Make sure your user interfaces are labelled correctly, images have Alt text and videos have a written translation of what your video contains, especially if it is a slideshow of images.

http://wave.webaim.org/
https://tenon.io/
https://www.squizlabs.com/general/html-codesniffer




 

References
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/employment-statutory-code-practice
http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/111218/smile,+and+the+world.html
https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/helping-people-to-use-your-service/making-your-service-accessible-an-introduction
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
https://www.w3.org/WAI/




Find A Way To Shine No Matter What

Find a Way to Shine, No Matter What

By Jennifer Hansford (@HansfordJen-twitter)

My life’s ambition has always been to inspire people and give them hope in some way. I want to do this, because I have always needed something or someone to give me hope too, and I know how important it is.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy. I can walk, and to do things pretty independently, but I do have a distorted way of walking, which I have always been self-conscious of, as people would often stare at me, or say mean things.
When I was around 9 years old, and in fourth grade, I had an operation on my hip, and tendons in my legs. In the process of my recovery I had to learn to walk again. It was pretty painful, but I have always been a determined person, and nothing in my life has been easy, so this was just another thing for me to get through.

I was made fun of a lot as a child, because of the way I walk, and sometimes even in my high school years. I remember one particular girl who was in one of the same classes as I was, who had started to say some things to me that I didn’t like. I don’t remember what they were, but I do remember losing my patience with the situation and saying to her, something like, ‘I don’t appreciate being made fun of for something I can’t control.’ She left me alone after that.
The one place I did feel like I belonged, was in college, where I studied journalism. School became like a second home to me, and I had the best professors in the world. My main professor, the one who taught us about reporting and newspaper layout, was one of the reasons I have always tried to remain in the journalism field. I remember him telling me, “If I give you a story that you can’t get to (possibly because of stairs, or something that might be difficult to navigate) just tell me, and I’ll put you on another one,” or perhaps he would find a way to get me to the one that was assigned to me. He told me there should be no reason why I shouldn’t have a great career in the field. Sometimes, though, the rest of society doesn’t share this type of attitude.
I have only freelanced for various publications, and I liked doing that, but I wanted to have a staff job at a newspaper, so I could feel like I had a ‘real career.’ A lot of staff jobs were unattainable for me, since I can’t drive on my own, which is why I liked freelancing. I could get around by bus, or someone driving me, and the editor was non-the-wiser, since I had never met my editors in person. I wasn’t judged by how I got my story finished, and they were unaware of my physical disability. They were just happy with the finished product. I had gone to an employment agency that is supposed to help people with disabilities get a job they want, and had asked them to call newspapers on my behalf, and assure them that I am perfectly qualified and able to do the actual job of researching, and writing an article, even though getting around has to be done in a different way than anyone else would. The worker I spoke to told me she wasn’t going to do that, and that if a career in journalism was going to happen for me, it would have happened by now.
This is the kind of attitude I wish I could help get rid of in society. Those who are ‘advocating’ for people with disabilities, especially should not have this attitude. I guess that’s part of the reason why I have an interest in journalism. Everyone has a story, and some people need others to make that story known. Everyone needs a voice, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect. I wanted to be the one to share those stories, and bring awareness to things that need attention and respect.

Two years, however, I developed health issues with my throat, which left me not being able to swallow food properly. I have lost a lot of weight, and also lost a lot of my hair, which I’m assuming is because of poor nutrition. I’m very weak most of the time and sleep a lot during the day, so I do my creating at night. I didn’t want to completely give up on all my writing goals, so I created my blog called Exuding Energy. This is a place for me to still do some form of article writing, as I find people willing to share their stories, ask them questions, then write about it. I decided to focus on what, and who, inspires people to keep trying to achieve their goals, while they are facing challenges or difficult times, because blogging became my way of staying positive during my own struggles.
This is my way of still sharing people’s stories and giving them a voice, while still giving myself a voice too. To all the people who also have disabilities, whatever they may be, I hope you’ll continue to do what it is that makes you happy, no matter how you have to do it. We may have to do things differently, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it well…Right?
If you have a story to share, I hope you’ll share it with me. I also have a YouTube channel, which will be based on my blog (I only have two videos posted right now, but I hope you’ll check them out), so if you have any video or photos to accompany your story and wouldn’t mind me making a video version of your story, please feel free to send them along as well.

The link to my blog-https://theexudeblog.wordpress.com/

The link to my YouTube page-https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQydLY3VDFXOxoz0gQ1qsyg

Thanks so much to Sassy for allowing me to share my story on your blog!

Disability Q&A Interview #4 Meagan Houle

Welcome back to my disability Q&A series where I interview people from around the world about their disabilities, and how they cope in daily life and overcome any struggles they may face.

Today’s interview is brought to you by Meagan, I stumbled across her Twitter page, a while ago, noticed she had a blog also, and got absorbed reading it she too blogs about visual impairment, disabilities and challenging stereotypes. So I thought who better to ask to join my campaign?

Now I hand you over to Meagan…
.

tell me about yourself?

My name is Meagan Houle, and I hail from the Great White North
(Alberta, more specifically). I’m a soon-to-be graduate of MacEwan
University, working on a Professional Communications degree. I’m
finally 21, so can now raise a glass anywhere I’d like! It’s terribly
exciting.
What hobbies do you have?
Language is one of my greatest loves, so I’m always reading, editing,
reviewing, or writing. Crowds don’t scare me, so I like to get up in
front of them and either speak or sing. Research is another great
love, so I’m always chasing some elusive answer or other.
Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
My eye condition is Leber’s Congenital amaurosis, but its friends call
it LCA. It’s a rare genetic disorder that affects patients in varied
ways. Some may be completely blind, while others, like me, have light
and colour perception. The particular form I have is literally one in
a million, so I get to be special in at least one way. You might say I
won the genetic lottery.
Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?
Yes. What little vision I was born with is declining now, but I’ve
always been visually impaired.

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired, Sight
Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?I tend to favour “blind” because it’s such an easy, uncomplicated
catch-all, and because I’m not sensitive about perfect accuracy. If
we’re being technical, though, “visually impaired” suits me best as I
do have a tiny amount of vision, though not enough to give me any real
perks! (Thanks, universe.)
Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?
Oh, I’m a lover of the long white stick, for the moment at least.
If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain
why.
It’s a complex issue, but the short answer is, maybe. If there was a
medically low-risk cure available I might consider it, but only if
rehabilitation services were being offered afterword. I can’t imagine
suddenly being able to see with no one to help me process the new
information my brain was receiving. I’m not exactly happy to be
disabled, but I’ve grown used to living this way and the thought of
such a foundation-shattering change makes me shiver a little. For me,
it’s not a matter of snapping my fingers and making my problems go
away; it’s far more nuanced than that.
For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?
I can’t properly answer this question, because I have no idea what
seeing normally would be like. I have no frame of reference. I can
tell you that I can see light and colour, though my colour perception
is fading as LCA continues to limit my peripheral vision. I can’t do
any of the useful stuff, though. I like to joke that I’m functionally
blind, for the most part. I can’t read print or recognize faces or
drive. I read braille, and use screen readers, and travel with a cane.
How has your disability effected you?
*Socially
It’s tough to say how exactly blindness has affected me socially,
because I’ve never been any other way. I will say that, within the
bounds of my family, it made very little difference. Certainly, my
cousins and sister had to slow down a little when playing tag or
hide-and-seek, but generally I felt like one of them in the ways that
mattered. School was a different story. I was lucky for the most part:
I wasn’t usually bullied, and when I was, it often involved some kid
running around me in circles chanting “You’re blind!” over and over.
(Really? I had no idea!) I was, however, ignored by almost everyone,
even the nice kids. I eventually made a few cherished friends, and I
graduated with a healthy social life.
Dating was harder, not least because I was introverted and shy. I
couldn’t exactly fall for someone I’d hardly spoken to because looks
were mostly irrelevant. I also found it difficult to exchange those
loaded glances you’re supposed to send across the room to the
potential new love interest. I met my fiance online (though not on a
dating site), so I haven’t dated in several years.
Now, I don’t find it much of a challenge to make friends and
socialize. It takes people some time to warm up to me, but once I
prove to be fairly normal, I find it simple enough to join groups for
work and school. While I do have a large group of blind friends and
acquaintances, I get along equally well with sighted people.
*physically
LCA is believed to be capable of causing all manner of delightful
things, like organ damage unrelated to the eyes, but so far I’ve been
spared. Blindness itself is not an overly physical disability, in that
you can still move uninhibited for the most part. With blindness, it’s
the external environment that’s more worrisome. I’ve sustained more
than a few minor and moderate injuries courtesy of a post I couldn’t
see or a wall I forgot about entirely. I actually gave myself a minor
concussion once via a support pole while playing a spirited game of
tag. I did forget which grade I was in and the names of my cats, but
what’s a knock on the head here and there for a life of carefree play,
right?

*Mentally
This can tie into the social aspects, I think, so it’s a hard question
to answer on its own. One of the most important parts of a human’s
general development is their relationship to the outside world, and
since I grew up in a rural community packed with sighted people, I had
no geographically close friends who understood me or my particular
struggles. The internet, when it finally came along, broadened my
horizons enormously, but as a child and young teenager, parts of my
life were quite distinct from those around me and I had no idea if I
was doing everything right. Any exclusionary trait is going to
interfere with mental development, so I doubt I could even begin to
quantify the ways blindness shaped mine. I was sometimes put in
separate classes, though not often as I went to public school. I was
excluded from many activities, and placed in groups with people who
had cognitive disabilities (the reasoning being that disabled people
should all be lumped in together, even when they have nothing in
common at all). I really think my small but loyal group of sighted
friends saved my sanity while I was growing up.
Now, I’m reasonably well-adjusted, so I doubt blindness is quite as
problematic for me mentally as it used to be.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?
I imagine it’s impossible to have a disability like blindness and
remain entirely unaffected by it. My identity is made up of so many
components of my life, and blindness is an undeniably important part
of that. Maybe I’d be more inclined toward sports if I could see,
though there are many blind athletes, so that’s unlikely. Maybe I’d be
more interested in fashion, though again, there are many
fashion-conscious blind people, so that seems unlikely, too. Maybe I
wouldn’t be as introverted or bookish; maybe I wouldn’t be as
interested in music; maybe I wouldn’t be as passionate about diversity
and social justice. Still, introversion, musicianship, and a passion
for social justice are fairly common, so I’m not convinced blindness
has made me who I am, from the ground up. It would be naive to claim
it hasn’t shaped me at all, though. Blindness has a habit of
encouraging certain traits while minimizing others. Music an books are
blind-friendly, so it’s natural that I would gravitate toward them. It
makes sense that I’d be passionate about diversity, as I’m a diverse
individual by default.
If I had to cite one positive, disability-related aspect of my
identity, I suppose it would have to be a certain empathy toward any
and all struggles, whether I understand them or not. I’m quicker to
get involved on behalf of someone else, and much more likely to
consider a new discrimination case carefully before making judgements
about how it might be dealt with. Disability has, in short, reminded
me on a regular basis that life is unfair. It has made me want to make
it a little fairer.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your
disability? If so, please explain below.
There are too many to name! I suppose I’m most often asked how I
manage living with blindness. I don’t have a satisfactory answer to
this, so I just tell people that necessity is very persuasive. If
you’re given a burden and told you must either bear it or not exist at
all, it’s not a hard choice to make. This doesn’t mean I don’t
struggle, and this doesn’t mean I necessarily enjoy being disabled,
but it does mean that I’m forced to handle it, so I do. Most days,
it’s not even on my mind much. >
What are the positives of having a disability?
I’d say the positive I most value is that I get to see the best of
people. I definitely get to see the worst of people, too, when they
discriminate against me or tell me I’m just a drag on resources and
ought to go home to my mother. I get to meet people while they’re
offering an providing assistance, asking how they can get involved in
associated causes, and generally trying to understand me. So many
strangers have crossed my path because they wanted to know how they
could improve the lives of others. It’s a privilege to interact with
so many who seek education and champion diversity for all people, not
just themselves. These are the type of people who make great lifelong
friends.
What are the negatives of having a disability?
There are a few too many to discuss properly here. The obvious ones
are social exclusion, chronic unemployment, accessibility barriers,
gaps in understanding, lowered educational an professional standards,
bullying and bigotry, etc. Even the most successful, functional
disabled people can’t escape at least a few of these. You just learn
how to deal with them. We have all the same issues as every other
humans; we just have a few extra ones, too.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?
At the moment, my most immediate difficulty is finding gainful
employment. I’m on the job hunt, and I’m routinely bumping up against
barriers that wouldn’t exist for a sighted person with my
qualifications and skills. I’ll be looking at the ideal job,
daydreaming about the interview, only to find a few duties associated
with video editing or some other skill I just can’t learn to a high
enough standard. Then there’s the issue of disclosure: I no longer
disclose blindness on application forms, because it’s the quickest way
to guarantee that my resume will end up in the recycling bin and my
calls will go unreturned. More than once, a hiring manager has become
excited about me as a candidate, only to go silent when they realize
I’m blind. Suddenly, the position has been filled, or they no longer
need anyone at all. So, interviews are stressful because I’m
anticipating their reactions to me. I know I’ll be defending the
qualifications a sighted person would simply be assumed to have. When
sighted people point to their degree, it’s assumed they can do the job
until they prove otherwise. For me, it’s the opposite: I find myself
defending my degree, because it’s assumed I’m incompetent until I
prove otherwise. It’s highly discouraging.
As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily /
weekly basis that frustrate you?
*In your home
Unless I’m very careful about organization, it’s easy to lose things,
even if I’ve only just put them down. I can spend ten minutes
searching my tiny apartment for my keys or cell phone. (Of course, I
can put this down to being a wee bit scatterbrained, as well.) Then
there are general accessibility issues, like labels I can’t read,
though I have developed labeling systems to get around that. The home
is the least frustrating environment because it’s the only one I can
control.

*outside your home
The most frustrating obstacles outside the home are usually outdoors.
While I can learn a route and travel with reasonable safety and
precision, any unexpected obstacles can really throw me off. (This is
partially because I have a cane, but it can hinder guide dog
travelers, too.)Construction zones, illegally-parked vehicles, and
snowbanks are just a few of the objects that can knock me off course
if I’m not especially familiar with the area I’m navigating. Of
course, outside the home, people are free to move objects around with
impunity. So, even if I’m organized, as soon as someone moves my
belongings around, it’s going to slow me down. This happens especially
in school and workplaces, where a huge volume of people come and go,
often touching and manipulating things I will later need to use. This
is why we can be so fussy about our own possessions, and why we hate
it when others move them.
Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to
another VI/ disabled person?
I don’t have a ton of handy tips and tricks that aren’t either common
knowledge or stolen from those wiser than I am. I think the single
most useful thing I can think of is the value of labels. Label
everything, even if you think you can probably remember where you’ve
put a thing. That way, if someone else comes in and shifts your stuff,
you’re not facing hours of fiddling. If you can afford one, get
yourself a Pen Friend. The thing is an ingenious piece of tech that I
use all the time.

Do you use Assisstive technology in your daily living?
All the time! Assistive tech is how I get through my life with any
degree of efficiency, especially at work and school. I use, among
other things, a screen reader, an electronic labeler, (pen friend),
multiple image recognition apps, a scanner, and my beloved Packmate
braille display (yes, I still live in the Middle Ages, sue me).

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going
through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?
I don’t know what it would be like to lose or be about to lose your
sight, since I’ve never really had much of it myself. All I would say
is that it’s so important to reach out to others going through the
same things. The internet is full of support groups for every
imaginable struggle, and if you can’t find one, start one. I know it’s
cliched, but you’re never alone.
Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?
Assume we’re normal until told otherwise. Obviously there are some
differences, but I think you’ll find they matter far less than you
might imagine.
Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your
family deal with your situation?
I was diagnosed in infancy, so my parents sought out the CNIB to
provide some support. As I got older, I usually handled struggles
without tailored help, though the CNIB continued to provide occasional
guidance as I grew. Today, I’m almost entirely independent of
designated charities and the like, but I do know when to ask for
help–something it took me a long time to learn.

Where can people find you out in the world?
🙂
When I’m not being featured on the excellent blogs of others, I can be
found on my own blog (wheresyourdog.wordpress.com) where I write about
advocacy, education, and diversity, among other things. There’s even a
post about how horrible mosquitoes are; it’s definitely a riot. You
can follow me on twitter (@MeaganHHoule), where I share things that
make me laugh, cry, and think. You can also witness my addiction to
literature on Goodreads
(https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/27630033-meagan-houle). Add me so
I can fall in love with the same books you do!

Anything you’d like to add my lovely?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about me and my dubious wisdom.
If you take nothing else away from what I’ve said today, just remember
to follow this blogger’s example and ask lots of questions (after
checking that they’re nice, polite questions, that is). We all need to
know how much we don’t know. Knowing how much you don’t know is half
the battle…or something. Now, get out there and (respectfully)
pester some folks!




Thank you Meagan for your fabulous answers! Not only did I see yet another great prespective of how you live your life as a person with a disability, but you embraced it with such humour and pazazz! I love your writing style, it’s unique and amusing; certainly puts my ramblings to shame! 🙂

Please don’t forget to follow her links, and why not share the love? Leave her a comment, we would both appreciate it!

If you or anyone you know would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

If you enjoyed this interview why not check out the others in the series so far?
Interview 1
Interview 2
Interview 3

You are most welcome to subscribe to my mailing list so you do not miss any future interviews. For that I would be most grateful! 🙂

Thank you once again Meagan, it was lovely to interview and find out more about you as a person!




I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did?

Until next time wonderful people!

Much love, Sassy x

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.




Happy Diaries Series

The lovely fellow bloggertheAnxiousDragon has decided to create a positive post/ link per week to focus on the positives in life rather than the negative, read here to find out more!

I’ve decided to join in and hopefully write a post every Sunday, giving a quick round up of my week. I suffer from depression and well as allowing the little things to stress me out on a daily basis, always relating somehow to my blindness.
I will admit that since being with Gary I am far better at not over analysing or stressing over the little things.

So I thought it would be a nice way of focusing on the positives of the week, and also for you lovely lot to get to know me a little better 🙂

I hope you enjoy this series, and if you too are a blogger, and fancy joining in, don’t hesitate to contact Tracy, she’d love to have you on board!




Much love, Sassy x

Things I Miss

It’s been just over 2 years since I lost my remaining useable vision, and although I have accepted what has happened to me, and know that there is nothing medically that the Hospital can do to change it, I still have moments or fleeting thoughts of things I miss from being sighted, and in turn blind but with some useable vision. This isn’t a pity party, or a moment of feeling down, I am just wanting to put my thoughts into writing, and in doing so, expressing that it’s OK to miss what you had, or have moments where you feel; “If I had a bit more sight…” or “I miss being able to see…” letting others know it’s OK to have those thoughts or feelings, as long as you don’t dwell on them. No matter how hard it is, humans are wired to adapt, and not allowing a disability run your life is what is important.
Here is a list of things I miss most about not having sight or useable vision.

Being able to see family/ friends/ meeting new people.
I miss this because I want to see the physical changes in my family: seeing what my nieces’ and Nephews’ look like as they grow older. What my friends’ look like on their wedding day, and see them beaming with happiness on their special day.

Colours:
I loved colours, the brighter the better. I miss it especially when i’m shopping as I have to rely on my partner or other people to describe the colour, and preferably the specific shade, so I can then get a better perspective. I still feel like there have been times that I’ve bought something I may not have particularly liked; If I had seen it with my own eyes I would have not chosen that particular item as I didn’t like the specific shade. But as i have to rely on others explanations, if they say the colour suited me(and I liked the material) then I would buy the item.

/ Sunrise/ Sunset:
I have always adored the colours as you watch The Sun rise or set, and i do think this relates majorly to my love of bright colours. And in the grand scheme of things it’s probably not that important, but strangely, after the list above, it was one of the main things I felt sad about not being able to see again.

Steps:
As strange as it sounds I miss seeing steps mostly because of the practicality of being safe, as my arthritis is extremely prevalent in my knees and ankles, i’ve always found steps strenuous, and being unsteady on my feet puts that extra bit of strain and stress into my day. Train gaps are probably the things I still stress about, and in some ways i’m glad i’m still vigilant with being on edge, as only a week ago I nearly fell down the gap trying to get onto the train, because a friend tried to hold my hand and get me on, but because I wasn’t ready, and not holding a handle, I couldn’t judge the distance of the gap and my foot went down the gap, thankfully as he was holding my hand I wouldn’t have actually fallen but my heart did jump into my mouth at that point.

Reading:
I would love to pick up a book and read it, as there is nothing better than to physically hold a book in my opinion, but as my sight had deteriorated quite a lot, I had been using the Kindle App to read books for atleast 2 years before my remaining vision went, and this is where my bug bare starts. Speech cannot discriminate between the words read / read, or wind / wind, and continuously says the word only one way, even when it’s literary meaning is the other one. But most frustratingly and most importantly is that it does not pronounce made up words properly, for example, Harry Potter is one of my most loved book collections, and I refuse to buy them on the Kindle App because VoiceOver/ speech cannot say half of the words properly! Slytherin is pronounced SLYTH There IN.
If you read books using speech you’ll understand my pain!

People watching:
This probably sounds terrible, but I loved walking through town and watching all the people in their own little worlds’ doing their own thing. People watching in a restaurant or Cafe is particularly enjoyable.
I’m lucky that my partner, and Sister love to people watch so I get audio descriptions of what’s going on around me, but i miss being nosey and see what people are wearing; especially if it’s a woman in her Pyjamas, Ugg Boots and her hair in rollers out in public!

Take off and landing at an Airport:
I loved watching planes come in and taking off when I was in the Airport waiting for my flight, but specifically I loved being on a plane staring out the window, having a birds eye view of what was below me, watching it shrink away the higher and higher we climbed. Landing/ taking off at night was always quite exciting as it was truly pretty seeing the landscape lit up with all the lights, and they always looked liked they were twinkling when you got further away.

Being able to see my food on my plate:
I can pretty much see a blob of contrasting colour on my plate when I eat my dinner, and it is annoying not knowing where food is on my plate. but mostly I despise having to chase the last few bits of food around my plate, I seem to miss it completely, and when I finally win the battle of finding it, I put it on my fork and it just seems to leap back off my fork onto the plate.
Food is a stressor for me, not only because of what i’ve explained above, but because I don’t like to touch my food and make my hands dirty, but because I hate chasing my food knowing people are watching, and i’m the typical blind child making a fool of myself!

Photographs:
Looking at photographs, old, and new. I miss being able to see what my family or friends look like in pictures on FaceBook, but I also really don’t like having my picture taken anymore because i don’t know what I look like, and if i’m looking directly at the camera. I can see the flash but if i’m not looking dead straight, the light can bounce off my eyes and make it look as if I cannot see.. This seemed to happen a lot even before my sight went fully,, and I would look back at the picture always looking slightly off centre,, even when I could see the camera and looked directly at it. So it’s given me a complex about having my photo taken now.

Not knowing where people are in the room:
I do listen out and figure out by the sound of their voice as to where a person is in retrospect to me, but i’m talking more specifically about when they move or try and hand me things. I’ve noticed this particularly in the last 6 months, my Niece is 15 months old, and doesn’t understand I cannot see her, and i can’t judge where she is if she doesn’t make a noise. She’s at a stage where she likes to share everything with you, and tries to hand me/ feed me food, and has managed to poke me in the eye or face as she’s doing so. Which can be quite uncomfortable as well as a shock if i’m not expecting it. I don’t want to stop interacting with her or not share with her, but as she isn’t fully talking she isn’t giving me a verbal cue, and therefore giving me time to react and interact.

So there we have it, the things I miss most about being sighted. As I said previously this isn’t a “down day” but I just wanted to put my thoughts out there, to let others know it’s completely acceptable to miss the little things that matter to you as an individual. I am also very fortunate that I have an extremely supportive network of family and friends, and although I miss these things, I know I’m blessed that I have their love kindness, and understanding, better yet, they laugh along with me when I make a blind faux par, and don’t make me feel uncomfortable about making mistakes.
I also know that in this day and age blind people are extremely lucky that we have access to brilliant technology, peer support groups, and public general knowledge so it makes our lives run a little more smoothly.
Although I have put these down as things I miss, in the grand scheme of my life they are of little significance and not something I dwell on. I’m extremely grateful for what, and, who I have in my life, and in a lot of ways I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without going through the trials and tribulations of having a disability.

If you have anything you’d like to share, things you miss due to having a disability, write below, i’d love to read them 🙂

Thank you for reading you lovely lot!

Much Love, Sassy x

The Don’ts of Interacting With Blind People

This is the follow on from my  previous post: The Do’s of Interacting With Blind People. If you haven’t already, check it out here:
As I mentioned before, I am going to refer to anyone who is Severely Sight Impaired as Visually Impaired, as it’s a broader spectrum in my opinion and I don’t want to offend anyone.

Don’ts:

Please don’t shout or raise your voice! We are Visually Impaired, not hearing Impaired! We can hear you at your normal level, as long as we’re not in a very busy, crowded place of course!

Likewise, don’t talk slowly to us or speak down to us as if we are stupid because you think we have learning disabilities too. It’s frustrating to say the least, and if you catch us on a bad day, you might feel the sharp end of our tongue! I would like t to point out that although there are plenty of people in the world who have other disabilities alongside a Visual Impairment. it’s not a normality of having a Visual Impairment.

If you’re going to hand us something, for example a drink, or handing us back an item that we just gave you, don’t just hold your hand out expecting us to take it from you, Imagine closing your eyes and trying to take something out of another persons hands without them meeting you halfway (verbally), it would be a struggle to say the least, you might even end up knocking the object out of the other persons hand. Now relate that to VIPs, we would always prefer for you to give us a verbal warning that you are handing us something, (the VIP will most likely extend their hands), to keep things simple and avoid any accidents it’s best to put the object straight into the VIPs hands, that way there is no confusion or awkward flailing.

Please don’t use the word handicapped (I know this is mostly an american verb), but you never know who might read this! 😉 Handicapped is a very derogatory term in Britain and we would ask you never to use it, I know some VIPs don’t like the term disabled either, as it has negative connotations behind it, but personally I don’t have an issue with it, and use it all the time. 🙂

If you see a VIP in the street/ town using a cane, or Guide Dog, don’t just stop and stare! It’s rude! Secondly, and most importantly; if you see us coming towards you: DO NOT wait until the very last second to dramatically move out the way of us. OR do a little jump over our cane at the latest possible second. This is down right laziness on your part, and quite frankly if you do it to me and I catch your ankles or trip you up, I shall not apologise and have ZERO sympathy! Remember we’re the ones who cannot see, it’s your duty to avoid us not the other way around!
Also, women with pushchairs that think they own the pavement, you don’t! So be courteous and move, aside, or at the very least, announce your arrival. The amount of times i’ve hear a buggy coming towards me; i’ve deliberately slowed down,, or even moved across, yet the cane gets trapped under the buggy because you kept walking at me… Please be vigilant, i’ll try my best but I need to stay in a straight line as this is my route, I will not cross the mall or the road to avoid you and your buggy, it’s a chair to push your young child in, not a ramming aid, lets all be friends yeah?

It’s totally OK to use words such as see, look, watch, read, view. It’s part of our vocabulary and to avoid it like the plague, or apologise for including these specific words in conversation, makes us feel more awkward for you. I do watch TV and I love reading books. If you ask if I listened to the TV or a book (because you know, now that you can’t see, you can’t read now),I will correct you, and may not always be so polite about it. It’s one of my biggest annoyances!

Please don’t ignore a VIP, there’s nothing worse than leaving a VIP out of the conversation just because we can’t see fully, or at all. Without the the ability to see visual cues, we might not be able to see that cute puppy on your phone, but it doesn’t mean we’re not interested. Take a second or two to describe the photo/ scenery, we can build a picture in our mind an probably will have the same “Awwww” reaction as you did.

Never speak to the person we are with. We’re the one asking for assistance looking for that perfect Christmas gift idea in store.

Or if you are ever in a situation with a VIP and the person addresses you, politely mention that the VIP can speak for themselves, you aren’t their interpreter.

“Wow, you probably have super senses like Daredevil right?!” Umm no love, I’m sorry to disappoint but he’s a fictional character, and a Superhero at that…. Our listening skills, touch and taste, are probably slightly advanced, but that’s because we’ve spent time honing those skills, to improve our daily living tasks, and enjoy the world around us a bit more.

Never assume we need help, if you see us walking around the street looking lost or stressed, approach us and ask if we’d like assistance. then, wait for us to accept or decline.
We know you’re just trying to be a good person and help a lost soul, but sometimes our bumbling, and hitting each gate more than once, might actually mean we’re OK and just counting them to find our friend’s house.

Similarly, never grab us! Taking our arm and lifting it practically above our head, holding onto our wrist and pulling us about, or worst yet, grabbing the cane, and moving it for us.
Again, we know you’re trying to be helpful, but you should let the VIP take your arm, or gently scoop your arm into their hand, so they aren’t flailing about. It’s truly socially awkward to be grabbed, thrust or pulled about, never mind it could be uncomfortable, so please be aware to ask the VIP how they prefer to be guided if they accept your offer of help.

If you see a VIP with a guide dog on harness, do not touch, stop or interact with the dog. At that moment in time they are working, and distracting them could confuse both the dog and the VIP.
If the guide dog is not on harness, it should be OK to interact with them, but you should always ask permission from the owner first, it’s still their dog at the end of the day.

“Can you see how many fingers i’m holding up?” “
Guess who this is!”
Sorry, am I a performing monkey here for your pleasure? No I thought not! Don’t try and be funny or clever. Because you’ll be the person left looking stupid when we shoot a sarcastic remark at your ignorance.

If you’re at our house, please don’t arrange our furniture! I appreciate your input dear old Aunty Joan, but I like my pots and pans in this cupboard! Moving our stuff about in our home, and not telling us, could leave us searching in earnest for that object. We wouldn’t come to your house and start interior designing, so don’t think it’s OK for you to move our stuff. Thanks 🙂

Your in an airport, speak to assistance and they say someone will be with you shortly. Along comes Dave with a wheelchair… “Hi Ms Pants i’m here to assist you, if you just want to sit in the wheelchair, we’ll be right off.”
“Umm Dave, I don’t need a wheelchair thanks, my eye’s are the problem here not my legs… Make sure you’re not that guy. Just because your airport assistance rules say it’s safer for me to use the wheelchair, doesn’t mean I’m going to use it. Go give it to Granny Gene over there, her mobility seems strained.
Never pity us. OK I get we’re dealing with a hardship, and daily tasks may take us much longer to do, or we’d do it in such a way that might look a bit odd, but hey, it’s our life and you gotta get on with it. Saying “Oh you’re so brave.” isn’t something I get particularly offended about, but there are some Vips that truly do get offended by this statement.. Don’t say statements like this. true bravery is running into a burning building to save a neighbour, or stepping in to stop a person being attacked. These people are brave, we’re just ealing with the cards that we were dealt.
If we’re struggling and hear you passing by, we may call out and ask for your assistance, whether that be reading a sign or confirming directions. Please don’t worry we aren’t going to ask you to carry us somewhere! Seriously though, if we ask for directions; DO NOT point! You know the white cane we were swinging about, or that big Guide Dog we have on harness, that gives you a visual clue we can’t see very well. if at all. Engage your brain and explain using your left and right. Big thanks to those that get this!! 🙂
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There is never such a thing as a dumb question. It’s all about how you approach the topic, and deliver the question. (Minus the how many fingers am I holding up!). “Were you born blind?” “How does your guide dog know when it’s safe to cross the road?” These questions probably have been asked more than once in the VIP’s lifetime, but generally they are happy to answer your questions, and sometimes a fantastic conversation can come from talking to a stranger, or giving your friend that further insight. 🙂

I’m sorry if this post seems a bit ranty,I was trying to be a bit more humorous, but if not, I do apologise!

Have any of these happened to you?
Any Don’ts you think i’ve forgotten, post them in the comments below, and i’ll be sure to add them! 🙂

Thanks so much for reading! !

Much love, Sassy x