Photo © Karren Visser. It was Joseph’s 21st birthday. He and his family were on a Dartmouth Park walk with SVI volunteers. His interests in art, walking his dog and cookery are seen in the context of his understandable apprehension of living with deteriorating sight and needing to ‘keep fighting’ for support to be registered blind.
Listen to Joe’s story
My name is Joseph. I was born in 2001 and I am visually impaired. I went to primary school, then after that I went to a school to George Salter Academy, in the Carters Green area. More of a public school instead of an Academy. Then a special sort of school. Special school was more like support with helping me around when I didn’t…So I asked for large prints of text that I had like in school so I could see what I’m reading.
When I went to school I made about four friends. They were really kind to me and really good to me at the time about my eyesight. Then, as I went to school, I learned art at school, and cookery as well. I really enjoyed those. Like at art, I had to take my glasses off to see what I was doing to help me focus a bit more with all the detail and the colour contrasts as well on the on the art pieces that I was doing and the paintings as well. So, I did one sort of Picasso-y art piece that I did in my art class as well. Well, which if I took my glasses off, had a bit of support there with them telling me and which colours was which that I was using. We had a what they called also like a blind sort of like drawing. So, I had to look at a picture they give you of an art piece and Picasso was drawn and then we had to like copy that down. Well, I’d had a support teacher with me at the time telling me which colour is which and where I was drawing as well. But she was really helpful, so even though I made mistakes here and there she helped me with my hand work, where I was drawing.
She helped me, like telling me where my equipment is and telling me which colours that I had. And then I continued on my own, like drawing, painting and finishing off that piece.
I did like a pop art, sort of, painting with bold colour, bright colours like red, yellow and colours in a like comic sort of way. After that, I really enjoyed it as well. I think that I find it a bit more easier if I’m honest with the pop art pieces that I did because I could see them colours more brighter than the Picasso piece that I did, so I could see which colour’s which, well, especially in a very well-lit room as well because when they… because I told them we had to take on another room. I told them I couldn’t do that because it was too bright and the light sensitivity in that room was too bright for me. And I had kept… and it kept hurting my eyes, I kept squinting as well. So, my support teacher took me down to another room. Where it was a bit like still, like lit, but not as lit as the other room and it wasn’t as painful for my eyes then.
Me and Dad have been going to try and get me registered at the hospital. I am registered visually impaired, bit of a battle, in itself, of losing a bit of my sight as well in my good eye around my peripheral vision area on my right side of my good eye and underneath as well.
I believe if I get like registered, there’s more support I’ll get, especially at the hospital. Especially from other teams as well. If they know I’m registered visually impaired, then I believe I will get more support then, I’ll get more accessories and more things to help me with my eyesight as well. Then my everyday things like with my cookery, or with my painting or even if I’m walking with my dog as well in the park. It’s, I believe if, I believe if I keep fighting and then trying to get myself registered blind it’ll be more like worth it in the end as well.
© Unseen Memories, produced by Karren Visser and Sandwell Visually Impaired, 2023.