Just because I’m blind, doesn’t mean you can grab me without asking

A smiling woman standing at a 'Wait' sign by the road

When I first started working at Sense, I didn’t use a long white cane. Although I was born visually impaired, I always thought white canes were only for individuals with total sight loss. However, the more I learnt about the people Sense supports, the more I realised I could also benefit from using a mobility aid.

Becoming a cane user is the best decision I’ve ever made! It has given me back so much confidence, I feel safer and I’m so much more independent. There is only one downside, people keep grabbing me! Continue reading “Just because I’m blind, doesn’t mean you can grab me without asking”

As Sense’s new CEO, I spent my first month reconnecting with our incredible services

A smiling man holding the hands of two disabled men

Last month, I was appointed the new Chief Executive of Sense, after five years as its Deputy CEO.

Most new CEOs joining an organisation would start with visiting its services and meeting as many of its stakeholders as possible. It’s about discovering the lie of the land, learning more about the work the organisation does, and meeting its staff, volunteers and beneficiaries, all for the first time. Continue reading “As Sense’s new CEO, I spent my first month reconnecting with our incredible services”

When you’re deaf, public transport can be a nightmare

A ticket office in a station with a small queue

I’m a lady of a certain age, as they say, and I am very deaf. I love travelling and use public transport all over the place, very regularly. My bus pass is one of my most treasured possessions.

For deaf people, things aren’t too bad with public transport – although I dread people trying to make conversation with me over the noise of a bus. I used to love random conversations with strangers before I lost my hearing, but now I either have to ignore them, confess my disability, or struggle to take part. Continue reading “When you’re deaf, public transport can be a nightmare”

I’m so proud of my daughter for showing the world that wearing hearing aids is normal

A smiling woman holding the hands of a young girl and boy standing outside a house

My daughter, Skye, who is 11-years-old, is your typical young girl who likes musicals, playing football and reading. However, because of sight and hearing loss, she’s worn glasses and hearing aids since she was at nursery school.

One day, she took a look at her hearing aids and said ‘I don’t want to wear them anymore.’ She’d needed them since she was three but had recently become self-conscious about it.

Continue reading “I’m so proud of my daughter for showing the world that wearing hearing aids is normal”

People with complex disabilities are making new friends and reconnecting with Sense’s support

Two sets of hands holding a coffee cup

Our connection to those close to us has a huge impact on health, wellbeing and happiness. We know from our recent campaign on loneliness, that many disabled people feel lonely and don’t have as many social connections as they’d like.

So we wanted to find ways to increase opportunities for the people we support in our services, to make friends, form new relationships and connect with others.

Continue reading “People with complex disabilities are making new friends and reconnecting with Sense’s support”

I’m fighting for the future of my disabled daughter’s care

A smiling girl in an accessible buggy with a smiling woman and a smiling boy and girl who are wearing cycling helmets

When I first took my disabled daughter to Nascot Lawn Respite Centre – the only NHS overnight and daycare centre in Hertfordshire – I never imagined it would become one of the most important places in our lives. So when the service was threatened by closure last year, I didn’t hesitate to lead the legal challenge to reverse the decision.

Beating the odds and winning two judicial reviews meant the parents from Nascot Lawn raised the importance of short breaks and social care funding for all disabled children to a national level. But now, with only three staff members left, the gem of Hertfordshire is on the brink of extinction and my daughter’s future uncertain.

Continue reading “I’m fighting for the future of my disabled daughter’s care”

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.

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

As a visually impaired school pupil, Sense College was the perfect place to get my work experience

A smiling young man holding a cane stands next to a sign that says "Sense College, Sense Centre, Peterborough"

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.

Continue reading “As a visually impaired school pupil, Sense College was the perfect place to get my work experience”

Young people with sensory impairments exhibit sonic works of art

A young girl and woman hold hands as they touch and interact with a wooden interactive art piece

Over the past several months, Sense Arts has been working closely with six young people with sensory impairments and complex communication needs through a series of music making workshops.

These workshops were part of a project called ‘Music is a Vibration’,  which is an inclusive arts project that enabled the young people to co-produce their own musical compositions. The project put young people at the heart of several immersive environments in which they were able to create music and experience soundscapes. The workshops were led by artists Tom Peel and Justin Wiggan, assisted by Sense support worker and musician, Bamba Dia.

Continue reading “Young people with sensory impairments exhibit sonic works of art”

Video of deafblind football fan inspires people to think about sport and inclusivity

Two men touching hands over a green painted board.

World cup fever is upon us! It’s all over the TV, radio, social media, and is the topic of many of our conversations at the moment.

In amongst all the hype, one video in particular went viral over the weekend, just as Deafblind Awareness Week kicked off. The video shows football fan Carlos and his friends celebrating a goal in Brazil’s game against Costa Rica on Friday. What’s different about this video is that Carlos is deafblind and is experiencing the football through touch.

Continue reading “Video of deafblind football fan inspires people to think about sport and inclusivity”