Young student Chris shares his story
Chris, 18 from South Yorkshire, was registered blind when he was 4 years old. He grew up in a small village with a close family. For him coming to residential college was a scary thought.
‘Throughout both primary and secondary school I was the only visually impaired pupil’ said Chris. ‘This made me a bit different from everyone else, although I did enjoy school and I did have a lot of support from teachers.’
Coming to The Royal National College for the Blind
In 2017, Chris and his family decided that The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) would be the right place for his next stage in his education.
Chris enrolled onto the RNC’s Sports and Recreation course with the ambition of one day working in sport. Along with this vocational programme he continued to study functional Maths and English. He also had lessons in independent living skills and mobility as well ICT and Braille.
‘By coming to RNC I was able to focus on a course I am most interested in. I really want a career in sport and here I am able to concentrate on that. The other thing that is great here is that I am not the only VI person, it means there are more opportunities and everyone understands and accepts me.’
The RNC Sports Academy has enabled Chris to access more sport, both visually impaired specific and also mainstream. Sports Academy Coach Aaron Ford remembers when Chris first enrolled and the progress he has made;
‘In just one year Chris has improved both as a player and with his coaching. He has gone from a novice Goalball player to recently being selected for Great Britain Youth squads; he also plays visually impaired football, judo and cricket. In addition, he is developing as a coach and his communication and organisational skills have improved a lot.’
More Than Just a College Course
Chris has also been able to embrace other aspects of college life.
‘The opportunities I have had at RNC are amazing, I have done so much. I have been on an exchange trip to Madrid, I have done work experience in a school and played sport all around the country’.
For Chris, the initial fear of being away from home was soon overcome.
‘I now live a lot more independently. I can cook meals for myself, do my own laundry, go shopping and travel on my own. Some of the best times I have are in the halls of residence after lessons and we are just hanging out with mates and having a laugh’.
‘I do lot more than what I would if I was at home, coming to RNC has changed my life.’