Loneliness can be a huge challenge when you’re a disabled young person transitioning to adulthood

A woman with her guide dog stands on the terraces at the house of lords, parliament

My name’s Ellen Watson. I’m 22 years old. I’m a student at the University of Sheffield. I recently attended parliament where I spoke about loneliness and disability. I shared my experience of being deaf and losing my sight, and the effect it has on young disabled people transitioning from childhood to adulthood.

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Being a deafblind university student

A smiling woman stands outside by trees
Ellen Watson

As my first year at university draws to a close it’s time to reflect on my year.

As with everything there have been highs and lows, as I have grappled with the extra barriers that come with being a deafblind student.

I am studying History and Politics at the University of Sheffield. Situated 145 miles from home in the rural countryside, Sheffield seemed daunting at first. But with time, great support and the help of my gorgeous guide dog the past year came to be one of the best of my life. I have made lifelong friends, perfected the art of downing a tequila shot and achieved more than I ever thought I could academically. On the whole it’s been a brilliant experience and I cannot wait to go back in September.

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