Welcome back to my #Disability Q&A series! 🙂
Today’s interview is brought to you by the lovely Emily Davison, before I started blogging I had come across her YouTube channel and loved what she had to say. She has pazazz and an obvious love for fashion and beauty.
When I started this Disability Q&A I knew from the get go I wanted to have her on board! So I was extremely happy when she agreed to participate! 🙂
Without sounding too much like a fan girl i’l hand you over to the lady herself…
Tell me about yourself:
Hello i’m Emily Davison, i’m 21
and I live in London, England. I’m a
MA Student, Journalist, Public Speaker, Podcast Presenter and Writer.
I love writing, reading, swimming, astronomy, blogging and nature photography.
Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?
I’m just your average kind of girl, I’m at University studying for an MA in Children’s Literature. I love to write and read books,
What is the medical reason you have a disability?
I was born with a condition known as Septo Optic Dysplasia, a congenital condition which affects the endocrine system, hormone production system and in some cases, vision.
Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?
I have, yes.
Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired, Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?
I prefer to be called Severely sight impaired.
Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?
I have both, but my guide dog is my number one choice of course!
If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.
I wouldn’t, it’s how nature intended me to be. I was born with my disability so I don’t know life any other way. I’ve grown to accept the person I am, disability included and I couldn’t imagine life without it.
For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?
I have no vision in my right eye and restricted vision in my left. I have only central vision in my left eye and can only see things that are relatively close by.
How has your disability effected you?
Its more a physical kind of thing, it affects my sight as well as my immune system and I suffer with low blood sugar. So it can be very debilitating at times, but it can sometimes affect me mentally in so far that in the passed I have suffered with Depression and Anorexia as a result of it.
Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?
Absolutely, my disability has taught me so many things about who I am as a person, what I can do, my strengths and how to overcome adversity.
Its taught me to embrace diversity and not to judge people for who they are and the choices they make.
It’s taught me to try and not judge a book by its cover and remember that everyone is going through their own battles.
Its enabled me to look deep inside myself and find the strength I need to get through each day and grow as a person.
Its shown me where my passion lies and what my strengths are, I now know that I want to be an author writing books with characters that represent people with disabilities. It’s shown me that I can channel the power of words to help others like I do with my blogs and articles.
Its taught me to embrace myself for the person I am.
Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.
“Are you training that guide dog?”
I get asked this a lot and I think it’s due to the fact that I am a confident person in the way I walk and act. It’s as if people cant accept the idea that someone with a guide dog can also be a confident and outgoing individual. And so anyone who is must therefore be a guide dog trainer.
What are the positives of having a disability?
The humor, being a person with a disability is very comical at times. You get into some very interesting conversations with people and some awkward situations and even though some can be utterly cringe worthy. A lot can be used as some great stories at parties.
It brings me closer to my friends and family because I do a lot of things with them or when I need help with certain things.
The perks, getting discounts on tickets to events, theatres and cinemas, I mean who doesn’t want to get into an event for cheaper?
The people I meet, I get to meet so many amazing people through networking with disability charities and organizations as well as online. I’ve met so many incredible people who have such amazing outlooks on life and stories to tell and that I am truly grateful for.
What are the negatives of having a disability?
When it can hinder the things you want to do or make it that little bit harder. Like when I have to plan a route to a venue based on which tube stations are accessible, that can be frustrating.
Having to deal with remarks about what I can and cannot do and having to deal with negative comments.
What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?
People judging you, the hardest part about being disabled I would say is having to hear people’s remarks about your disability and how you should be because of it. It’s so difficult to deal with people who believe that being disabled means you cannot have a quality of life or do anything for yourself. I receive so many remarks from people like “you don’t look blind” or “you don’t seem disabled.” Or when I read comments on my YouTube channel from people who argue that I cannot be visually impaired and that I must be lying because according to their opinion people with sight loss cannot look attractive, wear lipstick or adorn nice clothing.
I can deal with the personal struggles that my disability pits against me, but it’s harder to cope with the stigma that surrounds having a disability that society can create.
As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily / weekly basis that frustrate you?
I think the issues that frustrate me most are when I’m traveling and using public transport. I become most frustrated when I’m on a bus and there’s not enough space for my guide dog. I also find it frustrating when I’m using tubes and other services and the stations are not accessible, such as when they do not have lifts or stairs that I can access.
Using transport, as a disabled person can be extremely stressful at times and I think that is the most challenging aspect, for me, about living with a disability.
Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another VI/ disabled person?
There are plenty! I’d need a year to simply write down and divulge my little tricks and tips. But, here are a few.
Organize your clothes in order of the color spectrum, in order of red all the way down to violet. Make sure you have a system to organize your clothes so that you know where everything is and you can plan outfits easier.
With makeup, try and make your life easier by doing little things to help like tinting your eyelashes and threading and tinting your eyebrows. If you struggle to apply brow products or to get the shape of your brows, use stencils, which can be bought for a few pounds on eBay. They are honestly a real life saver when it comes to brows.
If you cant see the print of something like on a package, simply take a photo of it on your iPhone and zoom in on it to see it. Its simply, quick and easy.
Do you use Assistive technology in your daily living?
I use all Apple technology including an iPad, iPhone and a Macbook. I love Apple technology because it has all the accessibility features built in and you can easily customize them to your needs and preferences.
But, I also use an application on my Mac called Claro Read which can read text to me and scan documents into accessible formats such as PDFs and Word documents.
I use a Snow electronic magnifier to read print and magazines.
In the kitchen I use a talking microwave, talking scales, talking jug and liquid level indicator.
I also use the Kindle App, which can be made accessible on an iPhone with the Voiceover features.
What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, asking for help is a human need and we all have to at some point or another, disabled or not.
But, the other important thing to remember is to keep an open mind, take on board all the advice you are given and the support you are offered. Do as much as you can to enrich your life and take on whatever opportunities you can to move forward and move on.
Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Always keep an open mind and remember that behind each person lies a story. Until we know that story we can never begin to presume anything about who they are.
Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?
When I was 6 I began to use Blind Children UK and RNIB Talking Book Catalogue to access books and to read independently. I also used the RNIB and their services including their helpline and products throughout my school years and still do to this day. I also used the RNIB helpline for advice when applying for DSA and University related advice. When I was 17 I contacted Guide Dogs to apply for a guide dog and when I was 18 I was given a beautiful little four-legged friend by the name of Unity who is my eyes, my confidence and my freedom.
Where can people find you out in the world?
Second YouTube Channel: youtube.com/channel/UCX-t0…
Thank you so much Emily! I’m blown away by how much information you’ve shared with us today! I am sure many of us will be taking away a lot of your useful tips to help keep our lives running that bit smoother!
Thank you also for sharing some of your darker times, as you said everyone is human and we all should ask or at least accept help now and again! 🙂
Please don’t forget to follow her links, and why not share the love? Leave her a comment, we would both appreciate it!
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If you enjoyed this interview why not check out the others in the series so far?