I am speaking at an event for young people with visual impairments (VIPs, no less) on Saturday 30th November at a great event called Future Exchange. It has been organised by the RLSB to help young people network and discuss issues around employment, transport and independence.
My job is to tell a these young VIPs about the our story of being parents of a baby that is visually impaired and how the RLSB has helped. We, my family, are complete rookies when it comes to understanding VI challenges. We know the challenges of coping with a critically ill newborn. We know the challenges of discovering that she couldn’t see. We know the challenge of adapting as a family as she figures out what the world looks like to her. But, we don’t know what it’s like to try and find a job, or even get on a bus, when you have a visual impairment?
Getting Olive on a train as a one year old, is the same as it is for any other family with a one year old. She’s buggy bound!
So, what’s the point of addressing the crowd at Future Exchange?
I think the key thing is about the importance of confidence. So much of what we experience in life is based on confidence. A lot of young people suffer from a lack of confidence. It affects their quality of life and can impede progress towards whatever goal they have; being a lawyer, getting on a bus, getting out of bed!?
The RLSB gives you confidence. It’s not something it always teaches explicitly, but its woven into everything the charity does. As a parent, if you lack confidence in how to bring up your child, it affects what you do and how you do it. We can learn from others and find confidence. We hang out with other parents going through the same stuff and feel edified.
But, when your needs as a parent become very specific – like bringing up your very own VIP – the networks are harder to find. The confidence gap can turn into a gorge.
So, for different reasons, the ‘yoof’ at the event on Saturday and my family have found confidence in a network, in peers and in shared experience – all thanks to the RLSB. Also, these guys should understand that they are a source of confidence and inspiration, not just a group in need of confidence building. They are running down a two-way street!
I think I’ll tell them something like that…
- Visually impaired architect has greater vision for his field (dailycal.org)
- Visually impaired kids taught the art of skating (globalnews.ca)
Remember you can sponsor my Marathon Run for the RLSB here