Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Need for Inspiration

Recently I have been suffering from writers block. I have been fed up with my own body's deterioration and I have felt really stuck. I have been searching for something to write about that isn't my very boring pain caused by osteoarthritis. This week thanks to two very positive events (one that has happened and one still to come) I have found my voice again. 

We all need to be inspired in life, to be told you can succeed and are able to whatever you want to. The reality for a child who is deaf and blind is that it can be extremely hard to participate but this has never stopped my beautiful daughter from having a go. I am sure she is aware of her differences but probably not as much as her Dad and I are at times. As Chloe's Mum I want to keep her safe and protect her but also want to nurture the feeling that she can conquer the world if she sets her mind to it.

On Saturday Neil and I took Chloe to a blind and partially sighted football festival run by Moorvision 
Action for Blind People and 
Devon FA
I was a bit nervous beforehand because I know how overwhelming noise can be for Chloe. It is hard for her to join in like other children because she can't see what is being demonstrated and can struggle to hear instructions as well. But she loves running, her dad plays football every week and she has always enjoyed playing with balls of all shapes and sizes. The fact we were going to be with other children and young people with sight loss reassured me and I knew everyone would try and make it as accessible as possible for her.
Chloe in her football kit clutching a yellow football

The most brilliant part of the event was that the skills training session was led by coaches and players from the England Blind Football Team. I stood on the sidelines watching our children being trained and supported by individuals who are excelling in their field. Each and every child loved it, there was a real buzz and as I looked round at the other parents with huge smiles on their faces I felt so grateful.  I am grateful that our children will have a place where they can shine if they want to. That there are organisations out there who are dedicated to encouraging and motivating our children who without good vision are at such a disadvantage in life. Sometimes we need reminding that they will be able to find their place in the world where they can be themselves and achieve incredible things on their terms. 

Chloe practising her dribbling skills
And as for Chloe she captivated everyone with her joy, determination and pride in herself. She participated with her Dad close by and loved getting individual attention from Gary the deputy head coach who she could listen to thanks to the combination of her Cochlear Implants and radio aid. I think she inspired a few people herself that day, the England Head Coach said that she is his new hero. That statement will stay with her for a long time and I will never forget her proudly announcing that she is a footballer now, just like daddy.
Chloe with Jon Pugh,GB and England blind football team head coach

Sometimes I forget what a lot Chloe has to contend with every day, how hard she has to work and all the things we need to put in place so she can learn and develop like her peers. I am really excited that she is going to get the chance to meet another strong, determined and articulate deafblind person this week. Molly Watt is coming to Exeter to meet Chloe and spend time at her school as well as promote her book. Molly is a person who I have met a few times at Sense events. She is a Sense ambassador, runs her own charity raising awareness of Ushers Syndrome- the Molly Watt Trust, is currently doing an education degree and has written and illustrated a children's book about inclusion following her own experience of being bullied, Frog-froggy and froggithttp;// 
Molly will be at a meet the author event at Cafe 55 in Northernhay Street, Exeter on Thursday afternoon (1-3pm) where I am sure she will inspire many people. Personally I can't wait for Chloe to meet her, they both face similar barriers and every day prove to the world that you can live full and active lives with sight and hearing loss. Molly is at a place in her life where I hope Chloe can get to one day. With the right attitude, support and guts I know she will succeed. Chloe realises she is deafblind but after this week I hope she understands that it doesn't have to stop her. My job is to make sure she gets to experience as many opportunities as she can that develop her confidence and show her anything is possible,