I have a severe visual impairment and came to Sense to get some work experience. I wanted to develop my skills and develop some inspiration for what I want to do after school. I’m in year ten in a mainstream school and will be doing most of my GCSEs next year.
I’ve got plenty of ideas now. I’d like to be an adviser for parents who have a son or daughter with a disability, because some parents find it very hard to cope with this. I’ve certainly seen this in my parents.
While I’ve been here at Sense I’ve been going around seeing what people do, talking to lots of people. I’ve spoken to Rayna who offers advice and information to the public. I’ve met support-staff and watched them work. And I’ve met some of the students at Sense College and seen some of the sessions they do.
One person told me about what he is learning so he can be more independent. It was really nice to see the stuff he does. It’s also been good for me to interact with other visually impaired people, as I don’t get the chance to do that at school.
I’ve also been practising the deafblind manual alphabet and learning some British Sign Language – things like saying ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ and ‘well done!’
In some places I’ve been, the attitude of staff can be a bit tokenistic, but here at Sense College, the staff try really hard to make things happen, and I have the most tremendous respect for all of them. They support the students to do all that they can, for example when they go shopping, they help people to find all that they need. They really help the people here to have a relatively normal and happy life. I’ve met a lot of really nice people here.
This whole work experience has given me exposure to all sorts of new things. For example, I’ve tried bits of new technology that I’ve never come across before, such as a PENfriend for labelling items in the kitchen. I’ve also given them some tips about how the offices could me more accessible for a visually impaired person – for example, by using more colour contrast.
I really want to raise awareness about the needs of people with sensory impairments and show that we have a lot to offer.
This experience has opened doors for me and given me more confidence about what I want to do next.
Sense College is an independent specialist college that gives you the education and skills you need to achieve your independent living, education and employment goals.