Emily’s blog – the challenges of social distancing with a visual impairment

First of all, tell us how you are and how you’re feeling about getting back to normal

On the one hand, I can't wait to get back to normal. But at the same time I'm anxious because I'm worried that there might be a recurrence of the virus, especially if we go back to normal too soon. Then we'll be back in lockdown and back to square one.

We don't really know what kind of normal we are facing. I don't think it will be the same normal as we were used to. There will have to be lots of changes and I don't think they'll be easy to adapt to.

I've got lots of questions, like – how long will social distancing have to go on for? But no one knows the answers at the moment.

Once we are back to normal I'd like to think that people's attitudes might change. We've all been stuck together for so long that it's made things difficult. People haven't been able to let off steam.

Tell us some of the challenges for you around social distancing

With a visual impairment you can't know how far away 2 meters is. You need someone to guide you.

When I go back to church it won't be easy to social distance there.

When I go out with my friends, it will be difficult to social distance because it just doesn't feel normal to keep your distance from your friends. My friends like to hug – that's what we do and we've been missing that as much as anything else.

What are your top tips to anyone with a visual impairment who may be feeling nervous about social distancing

  • Make sure you ask someone to show you if you’re not sure how far 2 meters is. 
  • Find someone you trust to chat to and ask them all the questions you have. 
  • Ask that person how they would manage if they had a visual impairment.
  • If it doesn't work with that person, try to find someone else you can trust.
  • Say if you don't understand what someone else is saying. Ask them to repeat it or explain it in a different way.
  • Finally - say what you are finding difficult – speaking up and asking for help is really important.

Footnote: If people choose – the government has provided some optional badges people can use on their mobile phones or print out – as part of the Distance Aware initiative to help people who may find it difficult to socially distance. They say ‘please give me space. Be kind. Thank you for understanding’. Download the badges and use them for yourself.

Please donate today

Your support this summer will help us to continue breaking down barriers and make inclusion a reality for everyone we support like Emily. And, every penny you give from now until 30 July will be doubled by the Family Building Society up to £2,500, making twice the impact!