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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The reality of Disability

I am amazed at just how resilient us human beings are, but I certainly don't want that resilience to make us desensitised when things are clearly wrong. The other day we set off to say goodbye to our son as he ascended the stairs of the bus to sleepover camp for the very first time. When we arrived at the drop off location, we were asked to wait with our son's luggage until the bus arrived. As this is a Jewish summer camp, it is ruled by a very different time algorithm called JMT, Jewish Mean Time, so the bus was invariably late: the kids hurried off to hang out, leaving the parents standing around watching their luggage. Typical.

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Registering blind - three years on

Last Friday was my anniversary. No, not my wedding anniversary. Three years ago, on April 1st, I registered blind. I remember it like it was yesterday, and as I now sit and reflect, I do so with mixed feelings. I remember the shock, the pain and the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. I remember the rapid decent into an emotional and psychological black hole, trying to grasp what had transpired and feeling the most debilitating sense of loss. I thought that my life as I knew it was over, and I was right.

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Disclosing a disability when the time is right

I have been loathed to disclose something that is not exactly a secret to those that know me, but conversely is not something that I get on the rooftops and shout about in the way I do about sight loss and human rights. When I first started writing, doing advocacy work and public speaking, I simply felt that disclosure would confuse matters and dilute my message of hope, and that was not something that I was willing to risk.

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Employing a visually impaired person makes good business sense

I am lucky. There are no two ways about it. I have the good fortune of having everything any human person needs to be happy and fulfilled. I have a loving family, have had the benefit of a great education and, this is where the luck bit comes in, I have been afforded opportunities.

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Inspiring change, visual impairment and an ongoing emotional journey

Last night, I had the honour of speaking at the Inspiring Change event held by Action for Blind People at the magnificent St James’s Palace and hosted by the compassionate and remarkable HRH Princess Alexandra. There were three of us speaking and my slot was after John Spence, Action’s Chairman and before Stephen Remington, Action’s Chief Executive, both marvellous and emotive speakers. But I was relaxed. I had memorised my speech and run through it plenty - at home, in the office, on the tube, in the bath - and anyhow, I have done enough speaking at conferences and events in a business capacity, so thought that, in my regular fashion, I would get a measure of the audience and blag as necessary. What I had not prepared for was, well, it would appear, anything...

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Are people I know uncomfortable about my disability?

At first, I thought I was being uber-sensitive and reading into things, which I am prone to do more frequently than I would like to admit, but it seems to be that there is a genuine trend happening here. People that I knew before I registered blind treat me differently than people that I have met since. I know it sounds ridiculous, which is why it has taken me so long to feel confident that this is the case, but I have been secretly assessing the situation and it’s just the way it is.

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