Monday, 19 December 2011

How I see it – a student with albinism talks about herself


A is for ALBINISM
Distance vision
Hi, my name is T... I am short sighted, I am severely visually impaired but I don’t know the exact measure for my visual acuity. I can't see people’s faces 6 metres away. I don’t know if they are smiling or frowning. But I can recognise people I know. I have learnt how to recognise people I know by their shape. I can see my friends coming and people I know. But I can’t see a number on a bus from  more than three metres away. I can see things at a distance but I just can't see details. 

Near vision
I prefer to read normal sized print. I should really have large print but it's too much trouble. I don’t bother, it would mean I would have to carry two books around or a magnifying glass. It’s a lot easier to read normal size print even though normal print is tiring and more effort to read. But it’s worse if I’m reading from a computer because of the bright light. Light really affects me. I can’t read off a screen for a few hours but I can read a book for a few hours. Of course I do get tired reading a book; I’ll get a headache obviously after a while but I’ll take a break and I’ll go back to it. Always when I’m studying I will read and take a break then go back to it again.  But I find it too much to look at a computer screen for hours on end. I don’t like computer text, like Kindles – I like books. I wouldn’t want to get rid of my books. I used to use a magnifier a lot but I don’t any more. It’s too much bother to carry it around all the time. I have a ruler magnifier and a dome magnifier I got from the visual support at school. The ruler one I got from Waterstones. If I need them I will use them but I don’t use them very much.

What was it like at school?
For me personally I think I have been quite lucky. When I was in primary school I had a visual support worker. She supported me and gave me things I needed like enlarged print or a sloping desk.  Then in secondary school it was impractical to use a sloping desk or any other equipment because you’re moving from class to class. You couldn’t keep everything in one place. So in secondary school I had to find ways of coping. I had a friend in school and I sat next to her for the whole of high school basically and copied from her. In school most of the time you copied from the board, questions and so forth. After copying from my friend I began to learn to recognise the words from their shapes. I knew what certain teachers wrote and I knew how to recognise the title and things that they were writing, from a distance away. I got good grades at school but it was only because I studied a lot at home to catch up. I couldn’t easily study books in school because I just couldn’t read everything off the board.

What is your background?
I am from Malawi. I am 22. I have finished studying for my degree. I am now working as a TA (teaching assistant) and I go back to education next year. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you T.
    This is a very useful story, and encouraging, We have a young three year old child K, with albinism, and this gives us some idea of the challenges he might face in future and how we can help him cope. We wish you all the best with your career and further education

    ReplyDelete