Kyla completed her studies at RNC in 2015.
Life before RNC
Kyla was born in Bristol and attended mainstream primary and secondary school. She studied Theatre Studies, Media Studies and English Language at a mainstream college. Throughout her education Kyla found both the social side and academic studies very difficult. There were no specialist teachers so Kyla was not able to learn braille or how to use accessibility software therefore, accessing information was very difficult.
Kyla’s eye condition
Kyla has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia which is part of an overall condition, Septo-opticdisplasia. This condition affects the development of the optic nerve endings. The outcome of this for Kyla is the total loss of sight in her left eye and partial sight in her right. This means that she is unable to see objects from a long distance and cannot see detail like print. She also has a mild form of photophobia which makes her eyes sensitive to light, affecting her mobility.
Experiences of RNC
Before coming to RNC Kyla had never experienced independence. She had never done things on her own for herself. Kyla thinks of her first two weeks at RNC as ‘scary fortnight’ because she was worried that she wouldn’t have any friends and people might not like her. She says that everything about her is different now. RNC has made her a positive and mature person. She feels she knows more about life and has the knowledge and tools to cope better in a sighted world.
Her Nan told her that after experiencing RNC she would be a very different person – in a good way – in terms of attitude, knowledge and determination. Kyla feels her Nan was right because she is now doing lots of things she had never even tried before, such as cooking for herself, taking part in public speaking, catching the train on her own and even being elected as student governor!
Achievement at RNC
Kyla has achieved a BTEC Level 1 Award in Uncontracted Braille. She is currently working towards a BTEC Level 2 certificate in Contracted Braille, A level Media Studies and BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts. Kyla says that she is so much better at using Jaws now and uses it all the time on the computer and laptop. Outside of academic studies, she has earned her Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award.
What Kyla thinks of RNC
“The teachers at RNC are very supportive. They encourage you to work independently but you can always ask them for help. They let you work at your own pace. In mainstream I felt that I always had to keep up with everyone else in my class.”
Life after RNC
Kyla has surprised herself with how well she has progressed in braille. She would love to get back to reading stories and books without straining her eyes and wants to make notes independently when at university, which will be her next step after leaving RNC. Her ultimate ambition is to become a Performing Arts Teacher; Kyla feels that the skills and knowledge she has gained at RNC has equipped her for the future.
Kyla’s advice to other students
“Take advantage of every single opportunity that comes your way because if you don’t chances are those opportunities will not be accessible to you again. Also, make the most of your time at RNC, academically and socially and perform to the best of your ability. Don’t let any disabilities be a barrier to what you want to do. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”