Change 100

I’ve been keeping this under my hat for a while now, but some exciting things are soon ahead for Jazzy and I and I’m excited to share them here.

AS you might know, I graduated from University with a 1st in English Literature in 2016. Since then I stayed in the city I studied in, hoping to find work. I would like to work in Communications, doing things like writing press releases, managing social media platforms etc. I’ve had some experience working in the Corporate Communications team of my University while I was studying, but unfortunately haven’t been able to find work in the sector since graduating.

The process of looking and applying for work as someone with a disability is a topic I’ll expand on in another post, but for now I’ll share the fantastic news that I’ve finally gotten an internship for the summer which will hopefully go a long way to helping me into full time employment.

I’ve gained this internship through the Change 100 Programme, a scheme run by Leonard Cheshire Disability aiming to help disabled students and graduates into work by offering internship opportunities and mentorship. It’s a relatively new programme that is gaining success every year, this year partnering with organisations to offer 140 internships to disabled students and graduates around the country. Find out more information about the Change 100 Programme via this link:

https://www.leonardcheshire.org/support-and-information/life-and-work/skills-development/employment-programmes/change100

Undertaking the internship means relocating for Jazzy and I as we’ll be working in London. We’ll be living just outside the capital and commuting in every day, working five days a week for three months. Inevitably it’ll be a big change for both of us and though it sounds a little daunting I’m excited and confident we’ll both take it in our stride.

We’ve already taken steps to ensuring a smooth transition, having mobility and orientation in London and escalator training for Jazzy. It’s important to take my guide dog into account whenever big changes like this are on the horizon. Thankfully Jazzy is an adaptable and confident dog; she is very quick to learn new routes and enjoys doing it so I don’t foresee any problems where she is concerned.

I’ve also had my first experience of applying to Access To Work; a government funded scheme intended to level the playing field for disabled people in work by providing accessibility equipment and support for a disabled person so that they need not depend on their employer for those adaptions. Access to Work has a somewhat mixed reputation and from my experience with them so far, I’m not sure that reputation is unfounded, though my dealings with them are currently ongoing so I’ll update on my experience with them in a later post.

For now, I think that’s as much as I can say at this point. I start my internship in a couple of weeks so I’ll be sure to keep my readers updated with our progress adapting to working in the big city. Until then, wish me luck!

Through Scarlett’s Eyes guest post

I recently wrote a blog about the importance of allowing visually impaired children the freedom to learn from their mistakes which was published on Through Scarlett’s Eyes as part of their young persons voice month.

 

Through Scarlets Eyes is a blog dedicated to supporting the parents and families of visually impaired children.

 

Charlotte, mum of Scarlett Who is registered blind, created her blog to share her story of raising her blind daughter. Her blog provides support, information and resources for parents in a similar position to herself.

 

Charlotte is an amazing woman and a fantastic writer. Her blog is an invaluable space for parents of visually impaired children to share their thoughts and help each other as well as being a great resource for anyone seeking information about living with and raising a visually impaired child.

 

Check out the link to my guest post here and while you’re there why not take a look at some of the other posts written by Charlotte and the other contributors.
Until next time 🙂

#VIPTag

VIP tag
I’ve been tagged to complete the VIP (visually impaired people) tag by a fantastic blogger who I follow diligently. Check out her blog called Thinking Out Loud here: http://www.thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com/vip-questions-tag/
1. What medical condition caused you to be blind or visually impaired?
Lebers Congenital Amaurosis and Nystagmus
2. In 3 words, describe your vision. 
Confusing, temperamental, unreliable.
3. What is the hardest thing to do being blind OR visually impaired?
Interpreting body language – 90% of human communication is done non-verbally, so not being able to tap into that information can sometimes put me at a disadvantage when meeting people. Not being able to interpret body language and facial expressions can make trying to connect with someone a little awkward in certain situations. 
4. What is the best part about being blind? 
We live in a world and a society that places so much emphasis on the visual that being unable to see can often feel somewhat of a barrier to a lot of different things. However I believe that it’s not so much a barrier as just a block for one particular path. I think that being blind has made me open-minded and able to think outside the box in terms of problem solving to find ways around things that might initially seem impossible to do without sight. I’m forced to think of ways around doing things every day, from reading the instructions on a food packet to finding a specific shop. I think it’s also made me a determined, resilient and ambitious person that I might not be in the same way if I wasn’t visually impaired. 
5. What question do you get asked most about or because of your vision? 
“Are you totally blind?”
I’m registered blind and can see very little, but the light perception and tiny bit of peripheral vision I have comes in really useful sometimes – I try to use it to the max. I think this makes it confusing for people though because sometimes it’ll seem like I can see something and other times I won’t, so most often I get questions about what I exactly can and can’t see.
6. Do you have a cane, a guide dog, or neither? 
I have a guide dog, a 2 year old black Labrador/retriever called Jazzy. I also have a cane for non-dog-friendly situations
7. What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is losing, going to lose, or has lost their vision? 
Allow yourself to grieve, but don’t allow yourself to wallow. Of course it’s natural to feel the loss of something as integral as your sight; I think it’s important to let yourself feel the sadness, anger, fear and whatever else comes with it so that you can work through these feelings in a healthy way. But once you’ve dealt with the grief, don’t let your loss take over your life. Losing your sight can feel like the end of the world, but it’s really not. It just means that it’s the start of a new chapter in your life, a chapter that will make you stronger, more resilient and a boss at problem solving like I mentioned above 😉
8. What is one piece of advice you would give to a sighted person about interacting with a person who is blind or visually impaired? 
Never assume, always ask:

Uncertain whether a VI person needs help to cross the road? Don’t assume they want you to grab their arm and escort them across, ask if they’d like your help. If they accept, feel good that you assisted someone who needed your help. If they decline, respect their answer and feel content that you offered. 

Assumptions can often do more damage than good because your assumption is rarely accurate. This is especially true of visual impairment which is an umbrella term for a huge spectrum of conditions and abilities, not to mention the vast variety of ways that people deal with their visual impairment. Even people with the same conditions can have different levels of useful sight and can have different ways of dealing with their impairment. No two people are the same, even blind people. 
When you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and ME.
9. Why did you join YouTube/ Blogging?
I created this blog because I wanted to show people that it’s perfectly possible to lead a normal life despite not having much sight. The fear of the unknown often means that people can’t imagine doing barely anything without being able to see; that’s just not true and in my blog I try to demonstrate that.
10. Name 3 people to do this tag next.
I’m tagging three visually impaired bloggers who I follow and admire. Check them out via the links below.
Fashioneyesta – http://fashioneyesta.com/

Where’s Your Dog – https://wheresyourdog.wordpress.com/

Life Unscripted – https://blindbeader.wordpress.com/
Thanks for reading and if you’re visually impaired why not get involved and post your own VIP Tag!