Outing myself

Yesterday I had to give a short work talk (part of a briefing on a new course we are running).

This was the first time I had appeared before an audience since the event that caused my vision loss.

I was a bit nervous. I didn’t prepare any PowerPoint slides, perhaps because I was afraid of making mistakes, and also because I might have had trouble reading them myself.

I decided to begin by “outing” myself as sight impaired, partially because I wanted people to understand why I had no slides, unlike the other speakers.

So I began by saying that I’d recently lost half my vision and was now a visually impaired tutor.

I felt a little worried. Was this too dramatic? Was it too “In your face”? Would it embarrass people? But my colleagues have to know some time, and I want to help people to understand disability better.

I think I did the right thing, and the talk seemed to go well, so I felt relieved.

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About partialinsight

One evening I had a stroke. Half my sight vanished overnight. Adapting made me grasp how amazing the visual system and brain are. It also taught me to understand disability completely differently and I'm grateful for the lesson.
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3 Responses to Outing myself

  1. Lynne says:

    Good to hear your briefing went well. I think you’re right to be up front with colleagues. On the whole, OU tutors are used to dealing with visually impaired students,so it;s only a short step to acceptance of colleagues. with similar issues. I’ve had very positive reactions to my own revelation of visual impairment.

    • Thanks Lynne, it’s reassuring to know you think I did the right thing. The next group I have to explain things to is my students. I’m not 100% sure of the best way to handle it. I think I shall just have to follow my instincts again.

  2. Clutter says:

    Your instincts didn’t let you down with your colleagues. There’s no reason to doubt them when you speak to your students.

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