One for all those people doing their exams at the moment…
Dave: If I’m honest, I found school a bit of a chore, something you have to do but something you don’t really enjoy – apart from the lunchtime gambling, sneaking out of the grounds to buy chip rolls from the local chippy or flirting with the girls! :-) I considered myself to be a reasonable speller with this, and my English grammar, improving throughout my working career but know that I’m more of a middle of the road writer than a creative author. However, since my sight has deteriorated and I can no longer read or see print, I am finding that I spell words that I haven’t used for years or are unfamiliar to me phonetically (or is that finetically?). This regularly happens with names and I don’t realise that I’m spelling them incorrectly unless Vicky notices this or if I happen to take the effort to spell the name using my screen reading software. For example, I was emailing someone called Dillon with regard to my work and was informed, by Vicky after I had emailed him several times, that he spells his name Dylan. Other names and words that I have spelt incorrectly are Vikki instead of Vicky, Chrissie instead of Chrissy, dimentia instead of dementia, conjestion instead of congestion, etc. The names I get, as names could be spelt in several different ways but the latter examples where it’s just poor spelling have crept in over recent years and I think it’s to do with me not being able to see the word. I rely on my memory for spelling and hear myself spelling words in my head whereas sighted people might write them down and be able to visually see that the word is spelt correctly or incorrectly. It is something that I am conscious of and I do make an effort to spell check where possible but know that errors occur. However, I don’t get hung up on this as I notice that many people make mistakes or spell things badly proving that we’re not all perfect!
Vicky: So apart from checking that Dave had intentionally misspelt phonetic :-), there is an element of retaining some sensitivity to this subject…I’m aware that Dave would like to know the correct spelling of people’s names when responding to emails but obviously I’m not watching everything he writes so just mention it when I think there could be an alternative spelling or when Dave asks! Sometimes I mention it and Dave says, ‘Yes, I’ve already checked it’ but you can’t get it right all the time. However, there is also the balance of whether telling someone they continually misspell a word (when your role is to double check a document anyway) is helpful or annoying? This doesn’t seem to be a problem for Dave however, when he takes great delight in informing me that I have yet again typed the word from instead of form (or vice versa!!). So having someone for whom written text is read aloud and therefore those typos become more obvious does also have its benefits – proving, yet again, that joint working is effective in many ways.
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Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.