At least that’s the result of the tests from a few weeks ago, where I had to retake the tests. I was tested with very low sounds to see exactly what I could hear and random sentences to see how much I understood. Finally I could make out individual words. The results showed a marked improvement over what I was hearing a year or so ago.
When I last wrote four months ago, I was hopeful that things were going to get better. While they have, there have been no eureka moments, it’s more a case of suddenly realising that I am doing something I haven’t done before.
My first step into a career in the care sector began three and a half years ago when I became a Learning Support Assistant with Sense College’s Rothwell Resource Centre.
Ever since then, my life has taken off. By the end of that first week I knew that this was where and what I wanted to be. I am passionate to provide the best service for our students; it is the reason I work here and why I am running the Milton Keynes Marathon on 1 May, raising money for our centre.
Growing up as an only child with two profoundly deaf parents meant I experienced first-hand the challenges of living with the loss of a sense. There are so many difficult situations that come with sensory loss that go beyond simply not being able to see or hear, such as the ability to communicate.
Having only every participated in yoga once before, I wasn’t too sure what to expect as a volunteer on one of Sense’s accessible yoga sessions. The previous activities I’d volunteered on had been geared towards slightly younger participants, who had to travel to participate. I was interested to find out how yoga can be adapted for in-house and seated participants at an accommodation service.
Sense is part of my family and always has been. In 1978 my brother Robert was born deaf and blind, and with a heart defect – all because my mum caught rubella at three months pregnant. Rob is older than me, but as I grew up, I remember all the fights and battles my parents faced. But one thing was consistent – that my family always had Sense’s support.
Last year, in what we could only describe as a bleak day for disabled people, the Government announced plans to reduce the financial support by around £30 a week for new recipients of the Employment Support Allowance Work Related Activity Group (ESA WRAG). This change took place from 1 April 2017.
The Accessible Film Project provides creative opportunities for people with sensory impairments to experiment with filmmaking techniques.
We are filming with three groups of participants and each person has their own preference of equipment and engagement with filmmaking. We have been lucky enough to have access to a wide range of equipment and even an experienced filmmaker and animator to act as a mentor.
As Manager of the Sense Resource Centre in Wakefield, I’ve known Scott, who comes along every week, for over six years. He’s been on an amazing journey since we first met – and the transformation in him has been huge.
When I first came into contact with Scott he had a number of problems. He’d just lost the placement where he was living because of his behaviour, and had also spent time in hospital, where he gained a lot of weight. This really affected his health and self-esteem.
Social care finances have been permitted to get to such a dire state that the quality and capacity of the sector has been undermined. There is no easy solution, but Sense has developed five key principles which should inform the Government’s decisions.