impairment

New online courses for those living with sensory impairment

People living with sight, hearing or dual sensory loss across Dumfries and Galloway are being invited to sign up for a self-management course to help them come to terms with and overcome any challenges their sensory impairment presents.

Local charity Visibility Scotland, with funding from the Dumfries and Galloway Health Board Endowment Fund, is offering tailored self-management courses online. Running for four consecutive weeks, the course will not only be delivered by people who have a sensory impairment themselves, but has actually been written and designed by them too.

Lindsay McDowall, Head of Service, (pictured) explained: “The aim of these courses is for people to feel better informed as to how they can cope with their sensory loss and manage a long-term condition. There will be decades of lived experience joining us to facilitate the course and we want to share that with those in attendance so they can live their lives confidently and independently.

“We have successfully run four of these courses across Dumfries and Galloway previously, when face to face working was the norm. But we’re confident that the same results and outcomes can be achieved in a virtual setting.

“By co-producing the course with local people living with sensory loss we will ensure it is developed from their lived experience, rather than from the professional perspective which is the key to the successful delivery of the courses. This will link them with others in their community living with sensory loss, and give the courses a real local flavour.”

Visibility has 20 volunteer “sensory inspirers” across Dumfries and Galloway who themselves have a sensory impairment who have helped staff to deliver training and talks to community groups and organisations, as well as shadowing home visits and offering their personal insight into what can help.

Lindsay added: “We have been blown away by the willingness and eagerness of people we’re working with to share their experiences and knowledge. Who better to advise someone on how to overcome the challenges presented by losing their sight or hearing than someone who has already been through it?”

One person who will be delivering the course is 45 year-old Morag Faichney.

She spoke of the dark days that followed her diagnosis as partially sighted and urged people living with sight loss across Dumfries and Galloway to “inspire” each other by getting involved with these courses.

“At that time, I thought my life was over,” she confessed. “Visibility Scotland showed me there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I’d been focusing so much on what I couldn’t do, but there was still so much I could do or could learn and adjust to.

“It’s all about those small victories. For me, that was a 15 minute round trip to the shops on my own. I know this’ll sound really daft, but I was absolutely buzzing when I got home. And after overcoming that hurdle, all I could think now was: ‘What challenge can I overcome next?’. Helping someone regain their confidence and take those first steps towards independence is every bit as challenging as it is rewarding.”

Places for this course should be booked in advance. If you would like to attend, or to find out more information, please call Visibility Scotland on 07557 029 602 or email seehear@visibilityscotland.org.uk to secure your space.