Kayleigh's story “SeeAbility has made me feel confident about the future” Kayleigh is a young lady supported by SeeAbility just outside Maidstone. She lives with a group of close friends and their house is always a hive of activity. When she’s not hanging out with her friends, she’s pursuing her passion for horse-riding or relaxing at a yoga class. In short, Kayleigh lives an exciting and action-packed life. Forming a plan At a very early age Kayleigh was diagnosed with Alström Syndrome, an extremely rare degenerative condition affecting a number of different body systems. Kayleigh has already lost her sight and has started to lose her hearing too, meaning that communication will soon become more challenging. It’s been vital to equip her with essential skills so that she can retain her independence and still be able to communicate with those closest to her, preventing her from becoming isolated. In the past few months, the SeeAbility team has been working together with Kayleigh to develop new ways to communicate. After talking with Kayleigh, the Speech and Language Therapy team decided that the most effective way to communicate with her would be through Makaton, a simplified form of sign language. Support Worker Gail explains: As Kayleigh is unable to see, we communicate by holding her hands and moving them into the Makaton signs. She can then communicate with us through speech or by signing back. It’s not just the people who work closely with Kayleigh who are being trained. The Speech and Language Therapy team are also teaching Makaton to Kayleigh’s friends, so she can maintain those close friendships. Building skills With support from SeeAbility’s specialist Vision Rehabilitation Team, Kayleigh has also progressed her cane skills so she would be less reliant on sighted guides and still be able to confidently get around safely and independently. One of Kayleigh’s close friends said: I’m amazed at how Kayleigh’s confidence has grown. Two years ago she would never have had the confidence to walk independently with the cane. I’m so proud of everything she’s achieved. With the help of SeeAbility’s forward-thinking outlook and her own determination, we’re confident Kayleigh will continue to break through barriers. Kayleigh said: I feel more certain about the future now. SeeAbility’s support has given me that.