I lost my sight suddenly three years ago and it was a huge adjustment to make. I was unsure what I would be capable of doing in future, but whilst I was recovering in hospital I listened to lots of podcasts about assistive technology and it seemed that this could be a way to do many of the things I was used to doing before I lost my sight.
I have always been fairly good at understanding how to use computer programmes, but the thought of writing an email and sending it to the right person seemed pretty impossible without sight. I tried using voiceover on my iPhone and iPad but I found it confusing and frustrating. I knew that so much was possible, but I knew I needed help to get started.
My sight loss advisor from my local Visual Impairment Team told me about U Can Do IT and I applied to take part. My trainer Enitan was also blind and it was great to get advice about how she uses technology in her everyday life.
She added tactile bumps to some of certain keys on my keyboard to help me to navigate it quicker. We spent lots of time practising how to get around web pages and I had a list of useful shortcuts to use. I was amazed that I could actually search and open web pages on my own.
One of the things I used to do every week was to complete the online shopping order, but the app I was using didn’t work well with the screen reader. We downloaded an app from a different supermarket which was much better and I was able to browse and create my shopping basket myself which was brilliant and something that I do every week now with ease.
I also looked at using the Twitter app and Enitan helped me set it up. I find I use it every day to access up to date news, information about local events and book/music reviews. She also showed me how to set alarms and reminders as well as how to use the calendar. I can now use my phone to be organised and plan ahead.
I also use my phone to put programmes on the TV using the Netflix app and can search YouTube for things my son wants to watch without needing any help.
It is wonderful to gain this independence and it has also enabled me to keep my links with friends through email, text, WhatsApp etc. which is so important to me. The U Can Do IT course was a brilliant experience for me and helped me overcome my worries about how I might be able to get back to work in future and achieve my goals.