Some of these stories have been sad, some joyous, some serious, some funny.
Without exception, they have all been powerful.
Stories are extraordinarily effective ways to influence policy makers.
The beauty of telling personal stories to influence policy makers is that it does not matter whether the storyteller is a best-selling writer/Hollywood star or someone who struggles to put a sentence together.
The power of personal stories is fuelled by the unrefined, raw honesty and personal interpretation of the storyteller’s own lived experience.
The same stories retold by a third party lose some of their power.
It is deafblind people’s and families’ telling of stories of their lived experiences that persuade policy makers to make positive changes.
Plus, the act of meeting with a policy maker and telling a story creates a new story.
The policy maker, perhaps for the first time ever, experiences first-hand what is needed for effective communication with deafblind people.
Put a policy maker in a room full of deafblind people using different methods of communication – clear speech, visual frame signing, hands-on signing, deafblind manual, speech-to-text, braille and so on – add a team of interpreters and guides, a few guide or hearing dogs and a flustered technician trying to get the induction loop working and you are almost guaranteed to win the policy maker over.
This is one of the reasons it is so important that deafblind people and families campaign.
We saw the impact it had during campaigning on the Care Act and we will see it many times in the future.
You, telling your story, at the right time, to relevant policy makers is what will change the world.
Liz Ball is leaving Sense after almost twelve years.