Monday, 2 November 2015

CLAIRE: CAN YOU SEE IT?

Reader Claire describes what it is like to be blind… and how it impacts on her life.

Claire says:
I am fifteen, a Year Eleven student, and I have been blind since I was two months old. It started when I had a bug and was given some medication that I was allergic to. The medication was too strong, and made me lose all my sight. I have glaucoma, which means there is an increased amount of pressure in both my eyes. I try to think of sight loss as a game, I am just so used to it that sometimes I forget I am blind.

I do wish I could do better at school when we have to do visual work. An example is when we study reflection and refraction in science - no matter how it is explained, I just don't get it. I sometimes feel I am missing out as I can't join in with the extra curricular activities - I can't really do tennis, netball or badminton. I absolutely love art and drama, but there aren't any clubs for these for my age group.

Recently, sight loss had an extremely negative impact on me. In Year Nine I had to choose my GCSE options and really wanted to do drama and art. I was not allowed to do either, just because I am blind. My school said I cannot do art because the modules include a lot about colour, and my drama teacher said I could do all the parts of the drama course but not the exam. Apparently a big part of the exam involves watching a performance and commenting on it; I wasn't allowed just to comment on the audio side but had to comment on lighting, body language, facial expressions and props. They couldn't allow someone to describe the performance to me. To me, this feels like prejudice and it has really upset me.

My hopes and dreams are to go to college and do all I can to be allowed to study art. I love craft, and it would wonderful to develop my creative skills and produce tactile pieces of art. I dream of a career in art - perhaps one-to-one teaching of tactile craft, youth work or perhaps a career as a collagist or clay sculptor. I know I will have to be more determined than most to achieve my goals, because people have certain assumptions about what I can and cannot do. I want to prove people wrong. I can do these things, but perhaps I may need a little more time and support along the way.

My youth club friends are my best friends, and sometimes they ask if I ever wish I could see things, but I always say that I've been blind such a long time that I'm used to it. It does not bother me - I use my other senses instead. In the summer I did a work experience place which involved me working with blind and partially sighted people and getting them to have a try at crafts, showing them that you could do this without having to see. I could not believe what a difference I made in a week. Many of the people had never done craft before and made excellent progress. I loved every minute, and it showed me what I'd like to do in the future.

Cathy says:
Claire's account has certainly opened my eyes to the idea that art can be much, much more than merely visual. I have a feeling that her determination and enthusiasm will pay off! Have YOU ever been told you cannot do something you love? COMMENT BELOW to have your say...

4 comments:

  1. I think you mean 'like' instead of 'light' in the top bit...

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  2. I'm really surprised that Claire's school did not allow her to take drama and art because she couldn't see- if the school notified the exam board that Claire was blind, the exam board would have adapted the course and assessments to suit her needs.

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  3. This is so so inspiring! Please stay strong and never give up - keep practising your art and drama skills at home or join clubs outside of school! If it doesn't work out maybe consider teaching/working with others who are blind because you seem to be very enthusiastic and a good teacher! Good luck xx

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