I lost my sight in 2008 when I self harmed.
In the year that followed I did not progress much in doing things for myself.
I came to RNIB Community Living Service, Redhill in August 2009 not knowing what to expect.
The first thing I was taught was how to be sight guided by staff. This allowed me to be led by staff around Redhill and to go into town with staff leading me. I had to learn everything from scratch. I even had to relearn how to do simple tasks such as making a cup of tea and using the telephone.
I bought a mobile phone and put "Talks" software on the phone. I now had a talking mobile and with a couple of training sessions I was able to call and receive calls as well as send and receive text messages. This again made me more independent - a fantastic bit of equipment.
Staff showed me it was also possible to use the computer independently with the help of talking software called JAWS. JAWS enables me to read word documents and emails independently of staff.
I have a talking microwave and I also have a talking TVonics box which talks to me to let me know what channel and program I am on. I am also able to record programs on the hard drive. It has built in audio description when viewing certain programs and films.
I have many other bits of equipment that make life a bit easier and me more independent.
At the beginning of the year I was asked if I would like to try operating the switchboard. At first I was on the board for two hours a week, then it increased to two mornings a week. I am now doing two full days a week and thank staff for allowing me the opportunity to operate the board.
I have progressed and done a lot to get where I am today and thank the staff at RNIB Community Living Service, Redhill for their time and effort in helping me along the way.
I have a long way to go with regards to learning IT and am also learning braille and how to play the guitar. Although it can at times be most frustrating I am certain that in time things will get easier.
I intend to keep up the learning sessions for all these and hopefully will become more independent in the future. A big thank you to all staff for their encouragement and support.
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