One of our young people speaks out about being blind. This young person works hard to spread awareness about blindness. They have started an inclusion group and volunteers with various different organisations and charities to help out.

“Being blind is something that I am now used to as I have had this disability since birth. I am an advocate for the blind as I want to raise as much awareness as possible. In my instance, I haven’t faced much discrimination but I know that others have it worse.”

“Disability inclusion means to me is where you get to know someone’s disability, it’s asking simple questions such as how can they help me or what they can do for me that makes a big difference. It makes us, the people with disabilities, feel more included.”

“I have experienced this inclusion throughout my school experience but there are aspects that can be improved. A lot of the times in public schools, when I couldn’t do the activities everyone could do, I had to do something else. Whereas in the disability specific school, they had everything designed around us.”

“They had a massive library filled with braille books, audio books, library books and magnifiers that could be attached to TV screens. They also had speech software on every single software as they  issued each person with a laptop each.”

“The class size were smaller with a class size of around maybe 4-6 pupils. Sometimes there would be 1-1 support as well. What they do is with the timetables, they will tailor them to you to what you would like to do.”

“However, apart from in schools, there are other aspects of life where inclusion needs to be improved more. For example, public environments!”

“Every restaurant and cafe should have a braille menu as it seems to be a common misconception that if you are totally blind, you need as much help as possible. Most people like myself are mostly independent or if someone says they are partly sighted, people seem to think they can see more than they can.”

“They can also make sure there are no obstacles in the way. For example, make sure that all chairs are tucked under tables etc. If there are any wet floor signs, make sure to let blind or partly sighted people know. As well as this, staff or members of the public could guide them to places of interest unless they are with someone already.”

“The only time where you could say that I have had a negative experience is when people come up to me and ask me if I am blind and when I say yes, they respond with, “you don’t look blind”.”

“From this, don’t expect that someone with a disability needs your assistance but ask as that is always welcome. For example, when guiding someone, step just in front and to the side of the blind person where they can grab hold of your elbow. Make sure to relay where you are going and if there are any obstacles in the way.”

“As a career, I want to be a braille transcriber which means that I will translate print books/documents into braille and vice versa. I want to learn all the correct softwares needed for that and become more tech savvy. This is so that I can have more experience behind me.”

“Overall, be respectful, ask questions rather than hush people to enquire about disabilities and be mindful of our needs but make sure to ask before doing.”