The Untold Story of Childhood Sight Loss
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the most difficult thing about being blind is not being able to see. But actually there is an untold story of childhood sight loss, which is often overlooked by society.
At RLSB we work with blind young people every day, and we know that it is not the lack of full sight that is the problem, but the lack of hope for the future.
Young people like Lee*, whose story you can read below, tell us they feel trapped at home; they don’t know how to be cool; and that they are worried the future will hold a life on benefits, on the fringes of their community.
We know that if blind and partially sighted young people are given the right support they will flourish and grow. But without the right support their life chances can be limited; watch the video to find out more.
That’s why we have launched The Untold Story awareness campaign. We want the public to reconsider what they think the challenges around childhood sight loss are, and to fight for a life without limits for blind young people.
16-year-old Lee was the only vision impaired person at school.
Lee was lonely and depressed because he felt left out. He couldn’t do the same things as the other boys at school and he didn’t have other vision impaired friends to talk to.
“At weekends I just stayed at home wishing I could go out and do the same things as my friends. I am not allowed out by myself and I didn’t want to go out with my sister all the time,” he says.
Then a teaching assistant told him about the Social and Peer Groups that RLSB runs. Lee wasn’t sure at first but he went along.
“Now I have the Social & Peer Group and I have friends who also have visual impairments. I have a connection with them and don’t feel so alone. The group keeps me active because if I was at home I would just lay in bed until late,” Lee explains.
Lee’s a lot happier now and smiles a lot more. He gets to go on lots of fun trips and try new activities that he never thought he could do – that’s made him feel confident about what he can achieve.
That’s why at RLSB we don’t just help young people cope with being blind, we support them to live beyond blindness. We have a series of fresh experiences aimed at addressing the real problems that we know are affecting the young people we work with. Read more about how we help young people.
*Name has been changed
Watch our video
Sign our petition!
RLSB believes that the way to tackle the problems faced by blind and partially sighted young people is through early intervention, because a child’s early experiences with family and in society have a huge influence on their later life.
We have launched a petition calling on the NHS to boost the presence of Family Advice Workers in hospital eye departments across London and the South East.
This will enable families with a vision impaired child to access essential specialist support as soon as the initial diagnoses is made.
The petition can be found at Change.org – sign up now and show your support