Last week I went to the theatre to watch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I have now seen it about eight times. Whenever it comes to our theatre I always try go watch it.
When we got there me and my mum had a sandwich and a coffee. Before we went in I got myself a Joseph t-shirt. I have never bought anything from a theatre performance before.
When we went in to take our seats a woman came over and asked if we knew that the performance was Audio Described. I said we did not. They then asked if we would like to have a headset to follow along with the show. I said yes and went to sit down. Once we were sat and the lady had come back to give us the little black radio and headset a man came over and introduced himself. He mentioned he was the Audio Describer and explained how it would all work.
The theatre slowly filled up and there was a lot of chatter as there were a number of schools in the audience. As we wandered along the row to find our seats I heard one of the children go ‘woah…’ As I wandered along with my cane. I realised as we sat down I was sat near one of that schools teachers. I hope that if any of those children ask any questions about my cane that they are able to do so.
If you have questions about cane I am happy to answer from my own experience or if you check out this link you can see a variety of canes.
The performance itself was lovely, lots of the cast were children which was great. It shows those in the audience that if they have a passion for acting they can do it too.
Before the show started the Audio Describer was setting the scene and giving a general description of the story itself. He described the stage as ‘a starry nights sky’ He explained about all the different bothers and gave descriptions.
He would also explain about the usher who was holding up a sign asking for no photography of the performance.
I had never watched an Audio Described Performance before and found it to be very accessible. It was great to be able to watch and not have to figure out entirely what was happening on stage. The descriptions did not interfere with the songs and they were very well timed.
The experience itself was amazing, the fact that someone came up to me and asked if we knew it was Audio Described and checked that we wanted it was brilliant. As I say I have seen Joseph eight times and I have now seen it with another perspective. I felt very included.
At the end of the performance the man who was Audio Describing came back over asked how I found it. I told him it was brilliant and I had a whole new experience of Jospeh. I also mentioned that it was great that there was a school who had a child who also got to take part in watching the performance because he was there. It’s brilliant that they were able to take part with their class.
Inclusion is all about making everyone feel welcome by giving them the accommodations they need. Making the person feel included and it being seamless. I was very happy with the experience I had at the Alhambra Theatre and I enjoyed it very much.
One thing which has come to my attention lately is the lack of awareness around long Caines and what they are for.
As a visually impaired person who uses a long caine I find it rather difficult when people do not acknowledge my caine.
I use a long white cain with a roller ball on the end and a red handle. My cain is there as a symbol to others that I am visually Impaired and need extra space and time to navigate my surroundings. It is also there to allow me to feel what is going on around me so I can navigate safely.
For example I can use the cain to discover a change in surface so if there is a dropped curb or some steps I can use it to tell if there is something blocking my path and which direction I need to take to avoid this obstacle.
One very important thing to note is that I use the caine in my right hand as that is the side I see nothing out of.
If you see a person with a long cain please give them the space they need to navigate safely, do not grab them, do not jump over their cain. If you think they may need help just say hello and ask ‘do you need a hand?’ I personally do not mind if someone asks. I would rather be asked and politely decline.
Before we are let loose with our Caines we go through training. This allows us to learn to use the caine in a safe reliable manner. We have to learn to navigate steps, curbs, changes in terrain (oh yes on and off road) we learn what tactile paving means what. So we know if where approaching stairs, a crossing (what kind of crossing) or even if we are approaching a train platform.
Caines are not cheap either so this is why we ask that you don’t leap over them, as you could hurt yourself and in the process damage our caines. Or us. Ouch!
If you would like to learn more about being Visually Impaired please follow this link to discover more of my post about being visually impaired.
Todays blog will be all about Dyspraxia which I have written about before.
But just incase this is the first time you have seen my blog or you need a recap of what Dyspraxia is let’s recap. According to the NHS UK website “Dyspraxia, also known as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), is a common disorder that affects movement and co-ordination
Dyspraxia does not affect your intelligence. It can affect your co-ordination skills – such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports or learning to drive a car. Dyspraxia can also affect your fine motor skills, such as writing or using small objects.”
Living life as a Dyspraxic person can be difficult as it can be very noticeable. We don’t move in the same way as others and we have to put in a lot more effort to do general tasks. For me I find things such as tying shoe laces to be quite difficult. I remember sitting on my grandmas step trying to tie my own laces when I was little but becoming rather frustrated that I could not do it. Even now I struggle with laces which means I take longer to put my shoes on.
Other people may find doing general tasks such as pouring a glass of water to be pretty straight forward. For Dyspraxic people we will find it quite challenging as judging distances from the bottle to the glass then ensuring we have a good grip on the bottle could go very wrong very quickly. I remember a time when I was pouring water at a restaurant and just poured it all over the table. I did not realise this and then my Mum pointed it out.
Growing up being very different to others in your class is very challenging. One of the more difficult things is taking part in PE. As Dyspraxic people we struggle with co ordination which makes activities such as sport very hard. I was never very good at PE. This always meant being picked last.
All of these things can lead to making life challenging as day to day tasks are not simple. You have to think a lot more about what it is that you are doing. Meaning you are using up a lot more energy just to do the basics.
This means you will need to find ways of getting things done in a different manner, or by allowing yourself extra time to get a job done. On a morning I give myself way more time than others to do the general tasks we all need to do before we leave the house. When I was younger we would avoid shoes with laces so that I didn’t have to bother with them. Another thing we did was label draws so that when I was getting clothes out or putting them away I could read what was in there and just get what I needed. Rather than becoming overwhelmed because everything in the draws looks the same.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Thank you for taking the time to learn about Dyspraxia.