I just read an article that has hugely saddened me, please keep reading and follow the link to get the full story.
A blind woman has been made seriously physically ill by ATOS and the DWP working in a way that totally disregards the Equality Act.
Having just read the facts of what happened I am so stunned that I really don’t know what to say.
The matter boils down to one of what’s sometimes called a print disability. The term print disability can be used to describe anyone who is unable or would struggle to read standard print. It’s an umbrella term and can be used to describe conditions such as total blindness, dyslexia and intellectual disabilities.
In this case the lady in question uses Braille or audio instead of standard print and ATOS & DWP are unable to produce this.
They then told her that she would have to find someone to fill out the form for her.
The stress of this landed her in hospital.
As I said at the beginning this saddens me you might think that’s a strange reaction, maybe it is but for me it’s personal.
As I’ve mentioned before my mum is almost totally blind her way of dealing with written correspondence is Braille.
My mum requested the same form as the woman in this story in Braille and got the response at the other end of the phone that said ‘I’m not sure if we do Braille but we should I will try and get it for you’.
The form the arrived in standard print with a deadline to have it completed and the threat that missing that deadline will result in loss of benefits.
My mum is lucky she got help from my dad and a local charity but for thousands of other people this is not the case.
I have also had help to fill out the form in question. I’ve also had the stress of trying to get it done in time for the deadline bearing in mind I get one hour of support a week!
Since my right eye deteriorated so suddenly I have been solely reliant on my left eye for every single day to day task, from reading large print resources to putting on make up one eye must to the job of two.
As a result I am getting more eye strain than ever before which tends to make life a little tricky, hopefully over time my eyes and brain will adjust to the way things are now but there is know way of knowing when or if that will completely happen.
As a result my university lecturers have strongly advised me to learn braille and they are not just saying this out of the blue, they have been doing there research and have spoken to several blind journalists who have all have stated the importance of braille for VI journalists and have declared that it is a crutial must have skill.
The issue of course is that I have absolutely no experience of learning braille and will have to learn it from scratch, something that I know will be very difficult considering how late I will be starting to learn.
In addition I can’t afford the price of even a basic Brailler something that is quite essential in order to learn how to write braille, I have been trawling the web already trying to find a cheap model or a second hand one but have so far come back with nothing. if anyone thinks they may be able to help with this please get in touch!
I also have to find a Braille tutor to teach me, I have absolutely no idea on where to start looking or who is going to pay for the lessons as cost is going to be a serious issue even if I do get a part-time job.
I really do see the possible benefits one thing I have learnt through the whole process of my right eye deteriorating is that nothing is guaranteed and all though it is a cliché nothing should be taken for granted. With this in mind I defiantly need to start learning Braille so I guess I will keep you posted.