Through Their Eyes
“Through Their Eyes” was made by a group of young sight impaired people aged between 10 and 16 years old. They wanted to raise awareness of the obstacles they face on a day to day basis at school.
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For most of us, the world looks like this.
But what if you only saw this part of what's going on?
Your world may then be even more difficult to understand.
In the UK over 2 million people have a visual impairment that they must learn to live with.
Often, from a very early age.
And it's young people with visual impairments that this programme is all about.
To make their world easier to live in means we have not only to understand the problems that they face
but also to do our best to make sure we help them as much as possible
We need to see the world through their eyes.
Well, if I'm going on a road, crossing over, and I can't see the car that well, I've just got to stand there and listen for it.
I think one of the main problems I have going round school is mainly when the sun's in my eyes and I can't always see where I'm going.
People put stuff, like a rucksack, in front of me. I can't always see it.
So when I walk forward, I trip over, and it hurts my knee or one part of my body.
It's mainly just seeing the stairs. Quite a lot of stairs around my school have got paint on then, but after a while, they rub off.
Because I have a lot of equipment, it does go on a trolley
and I have to leave lessons a couple minutes early so I can get the trolley and myself to the next period.
It doesn't look good on my behalf if I'm missing the first five or six minutes of a lesson, just because I had to
go the long way round in our school because there's steps one way and there's a ramp the other side.
I have the go completely the wrong way to get to the next lesson.
It can be quite hard when there's lots of people all trying to rush to the next lesson at once.
I'm like walking around lesson to lesson and I'm bashing into people and it's a bit hard sometimes.
There's like 850 students in the school. It's so busy, Year 7 to Year 10, Year 11,
all those people are walking around and it's just hard for me because... It's just hard for me, isn't it?
Sometimes people run towards me, then I might sometimes bang into them, yet they don't know that I can't see that they're coming towards me.
They've made comments like, 'It's unfair.' and, 'Why are you treated differently?'
and I'm not sure if people understand what I mean by 'visual impairment' but sometimes they think that I'm just lying and cheating,
and this just some easy excuse, and I get to go five minutes early to, say, lunch or just get out of lessons five minutes early.
Also when I have my laptop and my iPad, and it's charging, I have to sit at the back because it's the only place where the charging plug points are.
So it's like difficult for me to read anything that's on the board, and then teachers wonder why I'm not doing any work when
in fact I have really no choice. I just sort of sit there and do nothing because I couldn’t see anything.
People don't think I'm bright because, again, I don't really know what I'm doing all the time because I can't see the board.
I always seem to have people taking the mick out of me, so yeah, it annoys me quite a bit sometimes.
And they said it again, “Oh, you’re blind, and then they said, "Wait, are you blind?"
and I said, "No, I'm not. I just can't see that well and I don't really want to talk about it."
"Your brain doesn't really work because you're going blind."
And just little ones like, "You should've gone to Specsavers."
I've tried talking to them, I've talked laughing along with them, trying to just make them bored of it.
I've told teachers but then, of course, it escalates it, they know they're going to get a reaction.
I've just tried everything, and then of course, when I do eventually lash out, you know, I'm in the wrong.
In September, we got to choose where we sat, so I decided I'd sit at the front, even though it's away from my friends.
And it's now April and I'm basically at the back already
which is quite ridiculous, to be honest, because all the naughty ones are at the front.
In many lessons, especially English, they hide my English folder or push it to right at the back of a cupboard,
so when I get up to find it, I get in trouble for leaving my seat, because apparently we have to tell everyone where we're going.
I do use a magnifier, but sometimes that's not exactly the best or easiest way of doing things,
because it's just takes twice as long than if I actually have the work in front of me in the right print.
The school books aren't enlarged and it's difficult to read, and I struggle to read them.
And they don't get the books in quick enough, so that if they are enlarging them, then the class will already be on to another thing.
Recently I got my English textbook and we got to chapter 11. By the time I finally got my large print, I had to read it behind in my own time.
I get this a lot with other lessons as well, because I'm having to catch up on normal work in my own time,
which then makes me more tired, and teachers wonder why I don't get my actual homework in on time.
With my homework sheets, I can't always see them so my mum or my dad ends up reading them to me most of the time.
When they do give me the wrong sheet, they don't even realise until I have to go up there and speak to the teacher and say, I need this copied.
And then some of them will be like, "Oh, yes, you do." And the other ones are like, "Um, can you go and photocopy it?"
When people knew that I had a visual impairment and I can't see very well in poor lighting, they started turning off lights
so I couldn’t see anything and it distorts my vision and then they’d just laugh and sort of run off, and kind of leaving someone helpless and stranded in a sense.
It's people playing on my visual impairment, and they don't get the consequences. I have to pick them up.
I get in trouble because some idiot thinks it's funny to take something and hide it. And my education is suffering because of it, and it's not fair on me.
People think I can see what's going on, but I can't. So they don't really know why I think is going on.
So what could be done to make life easier for such young people?
Let's hear from them again with some ideas.
I think teachers and TAs should have more training on what it's like to have a visual impairment, and then they could understand what we have to put up with.
It would be good if I had all the books and notes in a large font ready for me before the lesson's started.
I've often had to do my own photocopying afterwards.
I've like all my homework assignments in a font size I can read.
If I have to get to different classes, I want teachers to realise that it sometimes takes me longer to get there.
I haven't got a statement, so I'm not entitled to extra support to finish my work. It's not fair.
I'm sure most teachers don't realise I'm being bullied at break time. If they walked round a bit more, they'd see what's happening.
I don't mind people knowing that I can't see, but I wish they knew what it's like.
The opportunity to make, star, script and produce a film is an exciting prospect for any young person – especially when a professional film crew is involved in the project.
However, these young people were not star-struck or distracted. They wanted to make a film that would have an impact on the lives of other young sight impaired people. They wanted the film to make a real, positive difference.
The film tackles the day to day issues encountered in mainstream school environments. Whilst these issues may not be experienced by all sight impaired pupils, they are sadly reflected by the experiences of many. The film may touch a nerve here and there, but these are the voices of real young people, experiencing real life problems.
They wish to share the film so that together, we can raise awareness of the challenges raised. They would like it to be seen by teachers, parents and other young people. A few simple changes that they recommend will make a huge difference. Please watch and take note.