Having a friend that is a cub leader I was invited by him to speak to his cub group about my sight, having a guide dog and help them to understand that people have differences in how they communicate and see the world.
I have done talks before about having and using a guide dog, I have even visited my daughters school to explain about Vicky and as the age of the children increased, the questions moved away from guide dogs and included things like “how do you see your mouth to put food in it?” “How do you see your bottom to wipe it when you’ve been to the loo?” (Which horrified the teacher. Thankfully not me.
So, I started my talk explaining about Vicky, what she did for me, how to react when you see someone with a guide dog, the usual awareness type talk. I then went on to explain about ‘being blind’ and what I couldn’t see rather than what I can’t, after all as I always explain about my sight, I don’t know what I can’t see.
With the help of an app on my iPad that shoes an example of what it is to see with particular eye conditions I was able to show them what a picture looks like for me.
They say apicturespeaks a thousand words. Would you agree?
Above on the left is how I see (without the blackness or red ring) on the right is the actual photograph. With the cubs I did this by taking an image of their cub leader, they were all amazed by it.
The cubs were fantastic, they asked lots of questions including how my guide dog guides me, so by splitting the group up to make a corridor, leaving one child sitting in the middle of it, I showed them.
Vicky walked me along and when she came to the obstacle (the child) she stopped and stood, she ignored the child. I gave her the command to walk on, but as there was no space for us to do that she sat down. I asked her to find the way and she turned me around and walked around the children instead.
I went on to talk about Braille and allowed the children to see an example of this. Again this bought up many questions.
My talk lasted over 40 minutes, but the cubs sat happily listening and asking questions. Speaking with the leader afterwards he told me that he had never seen them so enthusiastic about listening and learning before.
I got a lot out of my talk with the cubs, I just hope that they did to.