Life brings its many challenges and daily we all face them with varying degrees of humour, frustration and sheer bewilderment. Yes, I’m talking about public perceptions to visual impairment and how these manifest in what they say, do and mean.

Its good to share and please feel free to do so; either after this article or on Facebook. I’ve a million instances of shall we say missperceptions to share, but two recent ones will illustrate my point.

As you may or may not know, I commute daily by train to work. I know and you will know that this means setting off from one train station and landing again at another. . . eventually anyway. On a number of occasions, with the latest being this week, I have been approached by a member of the public who said; ‘do you know you’re in a railway station, do you want this?’. Now, taking into account that I was stood on the platform at Leeds railway station wiating for my train home and that announcements were being made for servics to various destinations, I think I’d worked it out. Well intentioned maybe, but badly executed and poorly judged most definitely.

Quite often, on the train, I’ve also been asked if I’m on a trip out for the day, where is my carer and aren’t you brave to be on your own. When I say something about going to or coming back from work, I get a reaction of disbelief, wonderment or shock. Its not everyone but it is disturbing how many people have reacted in this way.

finally, the following example really does give a worrying but true example of how we can be perceived. A friend was fetching the bin in from the front of their house. They had got new neighbours who were watching them at the time. As they pulled the bin into place, they could here their neighbours go oo and arr. Not thinking much of it, they then knelt down to have a look at some flowers which had just been planted around that area of the garden a few days before. When doing this, they heard one of the neighbours say ‘oh look, they’re feeling the flowers, isn’t it a shame’. Bemused, they got up and went round by the path to the front door. On the way, they slightly tripped and again knelt down to see what was on the path. The same neighbour spoke up again saying ‘Oh look, they’re feeling the path, isn’t it a shahme for them; such a pity’.

Now you wonder why, we develop a sense of apathy and disregards for such perceptions.

Please feel free to share your experiences.