I Can have a voice
My name is Laura and I’m an 18 year old student from Devon. At RNC I study Level 2 BTEC Business Studies and GCSE Health and Social Care.
I have a condition known as Microphthalmia Coloboma which basically means that when I was born my eye didn’t form properly and so damaged the optic nerve.
I grew up with my mum, dad and younger sister and I had a really happy childhood. I went to a mainstream primary school and it felt normal for me as I thought everyone else could see the same as me. I had a couple of close friends but I was always really shy around new people. Throughout my time at primary I had extra teacher support but I didn’t really understand why I had it. When I was in Year 7 at high school I started to notice that I had a visual impairment and because I’m not statemented I didn’t have a TA (Teaching Assistant). As my visual impairment started to affect me more, my work speed started to get slower but my school didn’t give me any additional support around my visual impairment or my schoolwork.
When I was in Year 11 I found out about the Royal National College for the Blind but it was too late for me to apply for funding so after I finished school, I went to a local mainstream college to study childcare. The college wanted to help with my visual impairment but didn’t always know the best way to help me.
Life at RNC
After I struggled through my first year at a local college, I got the news that I had been granted funding to go to RNC. Now I am here, I get the support I need and extra ILS (Independent Living Skills), Mobility, IT, Braille, functional English and Maths. I find that my class sizes are a lot smaller and easier to cope with as my biggest class is 4. It’s great not being the only visually impaired person in the school because everyone is in the same boat – everyone at RNC supports each other if you get stuck with work or get lost around campus.
At RNC I feel like I am in the right place. Since being here I feel that I have progressed at my main programmes better than I would have if I had done them at my mainstream school. I think this is because of the amount of support that I have received. RNC has given me more confidence and has helped me to become a young adult. I’ve become more independent and have grown in self-esteem. At RNC I have found my voice.
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