Following on from the last 2 blogs reminded me (Vicky) of 2 recent train encounters and how you just never know!! I guess it also relates to the RNIB’s campaign mentioned last week #HowISee, as well as bringing to mind that Awareness raising should be a full time job!!
Back in April, 3 of us were travelling up to Naidex, Europe’s largest exhibition for disability equipment held at the NEC in Birmingham, in relation to the other service Dave and I own/manage called the Disability Equipment Service (www.disabilityequipmentservice.co.uk). The other person with Dave and I also has a vision impairment. The three of us were all sat at a table on the train and, at some point along the journey, another passenger asked if he could sit with us. After a short while we got chatting about what he did and where he was going and as his job involved the train services, one of us asked him whether he’d ever driven a train. To which he replied, ‘No my vision’s s*** [not very good!!]’ to which our colleague replied, ‘I bet it’s not as bad as ours’. We then got chatting more about this to find that the man has RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa) the same sight condition as Dave. However, his sight hasn’t deteriorated to the same level as Dave’s and he did not require any additional aids or support (aside from screen magnification). If we hadn’t have got chatting to him, we never would have known, as wouldn’t any other passenger on that train. It also highlights that although both Dave and he have the same sight condition, the effects on their day to day life are at the present time, very different.
I was then on another train a few weeks later (again sitting at a table) with another colleague from a completely separate organisation, who also has a vision impairment. She and I were chatting about the potential impact vision impairment can have on your enjoyment of holidays and the gentleman beside me said ‘I’m sorry, I wasn’t meaning to listen but I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation about sight loss. I have Macular Degeneration myself’. We then got chatting about that, as well as where he was travelling to/from. After my colleague had left the train, we carried on chatting and he mentioned that his daughter also has a vision impairment and that she was concerned that she might have to give up work. I asked if they had heard about Access to Work (not surprisingly, as it is DWP’s best kept secret, he hadn’t) so I gave details about it and the various ways his daughter (and her employer) might be able to receive support. I also gave him a VIDA Training card in case he needed to get in touch in the future.
Although I’m tempted to say it’s a small world, I don’t think it’s that, it just highlights that you never know until you talk to people (and therefore shouldn’t make assumptions!!).
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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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.