Thursday 24 November 2022

 Simulating the way she sees

Over the years I have done numerous training sessions in venues such as schools and more recently online, on the topic of supporting the child with impaired vision with a whole range of professionals and parents and carers. One essential part of the training is always using the so-called sim-specs. It is possible to give anyone a rough idea of what it is like to have, for instance, a restricted field of vision (sometimes called ‘tunnel vision’) by putting on a pair of sim-specs. Then wearing these as the person tries out the activities and tries to walk around they have a sort of idea what it is like for the child. It is far more difficult to ‘simulate’ an impairment of vision caused by different areas of the brain rather than the eye itself. We are of course talking about cerebral visual impairment or as it is sometimes called cortical visual impairment. 

Simulate This

If only I could make you see

How even half my world appears to me

If I could only just describe

Precisely how my eyes

Send signals to my brain

Then it would be plain 

How different my world is from yours.

You see, the problem’s not my eyes,

It’s the axons and the cells

The connecting bits inside

I may seem to have good sight

But deep within my skull,

Buried in this shell

Is a mesh of lanes and lines

And there’s something not quite right

In the tangled strands of white

The stuff that’s wrapped in myelin

Try smearing Vaseline

On the centre of your specs

Now roll up a newspaper

And notice the effect

As you peer through the hole

What you see is imperfect

It’s a narrow, murky world

Now try looking through one eye

And cover up one side

Can you now understand

What it’s like to be a person

With a sight impaired condition

And that’s less than half my world

And it’s still not what I see

Try blinking slowly,

So half the world is dark

And the other half is light

I’ll tell you what it’s like

Your sight becomes disjointed,

Your vision interrupted,

Things appear and disappear

You’re missing half the world

So of course, you’re in a whirl

Wear sun glasses indoors

And switch the house lights off

Watch how the room becomes

Confusing and obscure

Note how it makes you feel

Afraid and insecure

And that’s still less than half my world

And it’s still not what I see

Try out the sim specs, 

Tunnel vision, and RP

Hemianopia and myopia 

What exactly do you see?

You see something that resembles 

What’s happening to me

But it’s still less than half my world

And it’s still not what I see

It’s hard to grasp I know; 

It’s still a mystery

I cannot see like you

And you cannot see like me

All I ask for please, is

A bowl of empathy

Just try to see the world

As it is to me.

© MJ Sparrow 2022

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