Misconceptions about visual impairment

Good evening again!

The second half term of the year has began, and I’ve been given the task to support some young SEN students in year 7.  Of course this has been quite interesting and kept me on my toes, however I feel as if this has brought back memories from when I was in year 7, and how many of my peers didn’t understand the term “visually impaired”.  Since I have been at my school for such a long time, I feel that views on SEN people have changed, but this isn’t exactly true in the “outside world”.  Today I will be listing a few common misconceptions of visual impairment.

  1. Visual impairment isn’t actually black and white.  Excusing the pun first of all, I used to get told that I was making up the fact I was visually impaired because I wore glasses, but in fact my glasses only correct a small percentage of my vision as the rest can not be corrected.  There are many different eye conditions that affect how much we see, and even when people are registered as “blind”, many people do have light perception or can see hand movements.
  2. .Just because someone is visually impaired does not mean they are dumb.  This has actually happened to me so many times. When I was younger I used to have a couple of support assistants in my lessons to help make sure I could access the lesson material.  However I would be interrupted very often when they asked me questions like “do you want me to help you spell difficulty?” and “do you need me to rewrite the instructions in simpler vocabulary?”.  These have ended up being used as jokes between me and my friends, however when I was younger I did feel as if they were treating me like an idiot, even though I was in top sets for most of my subjects.  This is also very common for some of my other blindie friends.
  3.  Having a visual impairment does not make me any less normal than anyone else.  To this day I have had people tell me “but you’re so normal”.  This is in fact the thing which probably annoys me the most.  We have all been told that everyone is different.  People who are visually impaired are not defined by their disability, it is their ability which is the most important.  Many people don’t realise that visually impaired people can do a lot of the same things and be just as good, or even better, as everyone else.  The only thing is we have to do things a bit differently.
  4. I am not ashamed of who I am and there is no need for “I’m sorry”.  Believe it or not, I do not wish to be any different than who I am, and my disability is not a burden.  A lot of adults have always apologised when they have found out I am visually impaired, telling me I’m “very brave” and apparently follow that with a sorrowful look.  I will not lie and say having a disability is not hard, because to put it politely it can be very frustrating.  However I will set the record straight and say that visually impaired people are in charge of their disability and their life, not the other way round.  We do not let it hold us back and so there is no need for any pity, because we do not need to be reminded of our disability and we are not helpless.

I could go on forever about the misconceptions of visually impaired people, however I’m not that mean.  Hopefully this post hasn’t been too dull, and I will leave you with my life philosophy.

“Love who you are and be yourself because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”

 

Love Violetkatie xx

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