Kim gets Girl Guides thinking about visual impairment
For the last 90 years the World’s Association of Girl Guides have celebrated ‘World Thinking Day’ on 22 February. It is a day which encourages people to speak out on issues that affect girls and young women. The theme for this year is ‘grow’ and is an opportunity to appreciate other countries and cultures.
A Level student Kim Jeffreys, 19 from Staffordshire, took the opportunity to raise awareness of visual impairment (VI) with a local Herefordshire Girl Guiding group when she gave an interactive talk to a group of over 20 girls aged 10-14. Public speaking is something which frightens most of us but not Kim, “I’m used to it now, I have a work placement in a primary school every week as part of my Support Work in Schools course.”
Kim started off with a pre-conceptions quiz as she read out a series of statements and the Girl Guides had to decide what was true and what was false. Kim moved onto asking the girls to wear blind folds and simulation spectacles to see how they managed walking around the room with limited vision. She then introduced the girls to a long cane and explained how it worked. The girls were then challenged to walk around the room with the cane to get an idea of how disorientating it can be around crowds and several obstacles. Kim adds “I am used to working with primary school children so had to adapt my session for a slightly older audience to ensure that the content was age suitable. I know that a lot of what girl guides is about is respecting each other and offering help but I wanted to get them thinking that while you should always offer to help someone with VI, they may not always need it so don’t be offended if someone says no.”
Kim, who is an EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) representative at RNC said “We talked through scenarios involving a friend with VI, there was an underlying anti-bullying theme and I wanted the girls to know what to do if they had concerns.” The session ended with Kim introducing braille, showing how the cells were formed and how to create braille documents on a Perkins brailler machine and each girl left with their names typed in braille dots.
RNC Teacher Claire Lewin observed “The session went brilliantly, the guides left feeling excited to have learned braille, excited to have met Kim and to realise how different people with VI are; they’re not all the same! This is great for Kim because doing these talks regularly has really built up her confidence as well as providing crucial evidence for her Support Work in Schools course.”
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Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC