We foster inclusive
cultures that empower
diversity to succeed
A contribution by an Irish transition year student
by Clare Kennelly on 04-11-2020
My experience with vision impairment
My name is Tadhg and I’m 16. I’m a transition year student in County Meath, Ireland and I have albinism. This means that my eyes are a pale blueish-grey colour, I find it difficult to see things like words or figures in the distance or even facial features. My skin is very pale and my hair is white.
My eyesight influences what I do every day whether it’s taking a picture of the whiteboard to see the words or even asking my friends what the subtitles say. However, that does not really mean I’m any different from you, the person who’s reading this. I get my work done to a high standard and probably even better than most in the class and that’s because I like to work and feel like I need to put in extra work to prove that I am not only normal but I can be amazing even with my disability.
Having a disability not only makes things harder for you but puts pressure on you to do as well as everyone or else you feel alone and alienated, like you’re the weird one because you can’t read as well or speak as clearly or talk to people confidently. But little things can put everyone at a level playing field like getting a camera to take close ups or a cane to move around easily or even just a bigger book.
Now that doesn’t mean since you have a disability you need every tool under the sun. Some people don’t want a laptop they can write just fine or some people don’t want bigger books, a magnifier is good enough. It’s about having the ability to tackle our disability not being given technology to help things we don’t have any problem with. I’ve had that happen to me a number of times where they’d offer me a reader or a bigger book but I’m just happy with my magnifier.
People need to know that if you have a disability it doesn’t mean you’re useless. If there are 2 people looking for a job, one is great at maths and accounting but might need a bigger laptop to see and the other is just okay with maths but has no disabilities or special needs then you should give the first person the resources to show you that they are the best option for the job, that they can be even more valuable than someone with two fully functioning eyes
Things are changing. There are more people with disabilities that can do incredible things but need the resources. It’s a small price to pay for a bigger outcome and I think it’s worth it