A visual impairment experience

As part of Rainford Sixth Form’s Wednesday afternoon enrichment programme, a group took part in an experience of visual impairment with a qualified teacher of Mobility and Independence from St Vincent’s School for Visually Impaired Children in Liverpool. This is a report on my experience.

To begin, we were introduced to a range of visual impairment conditions and were able to feel what these conditions were like through a range of ‘simulation spectacles’ that have been designed to recreate differing sight impairments, including ‘tunnel vision’, peripheral field losses and ‘light only’, to name just a few. This was very educational and
interesting as we all tested out the variety of glasses. After this, we picked out a blindfold and went to the open space next to the drama classrooms to try a technique called ‘trailing’. Trailing is walking beside a wall with your left
hand facing outwards, brushing against the wall, with the other hand raised out in front of you, with the palm facing out. This was to act as a guard or protection so you avoid banging your head.

We then paired up and were taught about a second technique called ‘sighted-guide’. Here, one person of the pair remains under blindfold and their partner was then taught how to guide them safely, correctly and thoughtfully. Trust and confidence in your partner is essential! After this, we then had an opportunity to use the long white canes. For this, we had to walk with our blindfolds on and move the cane gently from side-to side, using it to tap a wall or a shoreline that allowed us to walk in a straight line. We also learnt how to Trailing – walking beside a wall with your left hand facing outwards, brushing against the wall, with the other hand raised out in front of you, with the palm facing out.

By Olivia Marshall (Y12 student)

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