How my job is to enable my deafblind colleague to do his

A woman and man, wearing cochlear implants, walking together in a public space

Enabling someone to undertake their job effectively is both rewarding and of great responsibility. As a Communication and Support Assistant, I provide part-time support to Steven Morris, Sense’s Technology Officer, who is blind with hearing loss. I help Steven to communicate fully with colleagues and the people he supports. I balance my role with running my small business alongside being a wife and mother to two young children.

My background is in the visual arts and I have my own small business in fashion, meaning my skillset can be applied to enable and enhance someone else’s experience and achievements within the workplace. I enjoy face-to-face interaction and being able to build relationships within an office environment in person and not via email.

Given my other roles require me to be the lead decision maker, I really appreciate the fact that my job at Sense isn’t about me, but enabling and enhancing someone else’s experiences within the workplace.

I have a certain amount of autonomy within the role, but my responsibility is more about enabling someone else’s experience, which in turn gives me a great sense of self-worth.

A man wearing cochlear implants, besides a woman, the two talking together

Tasks I support Steven with might include filling in expenses forms and taking notes at meetings. These are an essential part of most office posts, and my completing these things for Steven means he can do his job effectively.

Shortly after I started the role, Steven and I had to travel across London to interview a Sense service user about his experience with a new technology. Everything about this was a challenge to me – from negotiating the London Underground from a different perspective to organising logistics. I felt responsible but with a great sense that my place was to enable and not lead.

It’s not always easy getting the balance right, but as long as you can talk and laugh about it – which Steven and I often do – then I go home with a smile on my face!

Find out more about the varied roles available at Sense

Supporting a right to independence

Author: Alison Fern

Alison is a Communication and Support Assistant at Sense

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