I (Vicky) read a brief post by Martyn Sibley the other day, about how to change the world by just keeping on! Martyn describes himself as a regular guy who happens to have a disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). In his words ‘This means I cannot walk, lift anything heavier than a book or shower myself. Nonetheless I run Disability Horizons, am the author of 'Everything is Possible', I have a Degree in Economics & a Masters in Marketing. I love adventure travels (including an epic visit to Australia), I have great people in my life (including my soul mate), I drive my own adapted car, run my own business, have flown a plane, enjoyed skiing & SCUBA diving, and live independently on earth’. His brief post http://martynsibley.com/2018/10/how-to-change-the-world-keep-turning-up/ mentions how conversations help make changes. I appreciate it’s different for me as I (Vicky) don’t consider myself to have an impairment, and I don’t for one minute think I’m changing the world 😊 (smiley face), but I do have the VIDA Training logo on my car and obviously chat to people about my work and so I always need to be prepared to have that conversation, which is fine for me because I love what I do.
As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had a few interesting conversations on the train and obviously we chat to people on our training courses but below are 2 examples of some unexpected chats.
One of these was at my son’s local football club where I got chatting to an ex-para who happened to be setting up a website to provide buddy support for ex-service men and women who had experienced trauma. He happened to be talking to someone who had lost their sight as a result of their work and, having seen my VIDA Training signs on my car, he asked what I did and we chatted about available options for supporting the person. Had I not had the VIDA Training signs on, we wouldn’t have had this conversation but neither would I have found out about what he did.
Even more unusual was a long conversation I had with someone who came to my house to measure up for some curtains. She started off asking about my VIDA Training car signs but when I explained what I did and that my business partner was blind, she said ‘oh aren’t you wonderful’ – (I can hear Dave spluttering as he laughs with shock!!) Obviously I corrected her on that statement, went on to describe fully what I do, how I love my job and talked more about Dave and our equal working relationship!! After a long chat which covered guide dogs, disability in general (and mentioning people’s reactions to the ‘what an inspiration’ comment) she spoke about her infrequent contact with people with impairments and disabilities and also commented that her initial response will be different in the future.
So, I think Martyn’s right, it is about being prepared to have these conversations, wherever and whenever and with anyone. We can all learn from each other.
Dave – sorry still spluttering… wonderful… Vicky… not something you often hear in the same sentence! Only joking, Vicky is great; guess she has to be to put up with me as a business partner, colleague and friend.
Vicky is right, we’re often asked questions about what we do and you never know what questions people are likely to ask. What does become quite apparent is that the general awareness around disability is low which is why we do what we do. Sadly the TV adverts and often TV programmes portray people with disabilities as being unable to do anything, that they don’t go out and usually don’t work. Yes, there will be some people who fall in to this category but there are people who don’t have a disability that probably fall in to this category also. I’m often referred to as ‘inspirational’ but I’m not; I’m just living my life as best I can whilst raising disability awareness.
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