When people have any sensory loss, then their mobility and communication are greatly affected. This can lead to increased loneliness and even isolation in some cases. People with any kind of sensory loss can have difficulties in finding employment. Even though the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act mean that employers cannot discriminate, it is hard to convince an employer that a sensory loss does not necessarily mean that someone is unable to do a job. There are positives that can have an impact on individuals suffering from sensory loss. Your other senses can become more sensitive and perform better, for example your sense of smell or feeling of touch can improve. Attitudes such as these can make it difficult for people to maintain self-esteem and can destroy confidence, with the result that they will attempt less, rely on others more and potentially lose their independence. Any type of sensory loss can cause people to experience the ways in which society treats them differently. People often believe that any type of sensory loss also reduces people’s capacity to understand. There have been some major shifts in attitudes as initiatives such as ‘Our Health Our Care Our Say’, ‘Putting People First’ and ‘Valuing People’ are changing how we look at disability and making people aware that all disabled people have the right to take a full part in society and to make choices about how they want to live. The social model of disability supports the idea of person-centred services. For people with sensory loss, this means that services are planned in a way that gives people control over the services they need to support them. Most people are now offered a personal budget that enables them to work out a support plan based on what they are able to do for themselves, Personal budgets give people the chance to decide: what support they need, how they want the support delivered, whom they want to deliver the support and when they want support.
Supporting people with vision loss - Say who you are. Say what you are going to do and be specific. Talk directly to the person and use their name. Stand in a place where you can be seen. If necessary, touch for attention. Take the time to answer questions. Tell the person that you are leaving them – do not just walk away. Supporting people with hearing loss - A quiet, well-lit room is best. Ensure the light is on the speaker’s face. Face the person you are speaking to. Stay in their field of vision. Speak a little louder than usual. Do not shout, as this distorts the voice and lip patterns. Speak a little more slowly than usual but not so slowly as to destroy the speech rhythm. If something is not understood, rephrase rather than repeat. Avoid distracting clothes or dangly earrings, or a beard if you are male, as this may cover the lips. Supporting people with Deaf blindness - Braille is a system of raised dots which can be read by touch. The Moon alphabet consists of embossed shapes which can be read by touch. Objects of Reference are objects that have special meanings assigned to them. They stand for something in the same way that words do. Sensory loss can often be a ‘hidden’ disability which can frequently lead to isolation and frustration at not being able to communicate efficiently with other people. With hearing loss, day-to-day activities such as hearing a doorbell, using the telephone, watching television or taking part in conversations can produce feelings of inadequacy. Conversely, not being able to distinguish faces, read the time on a clock or drive can produce the same feelings in a person who has vision loss. Having a dual sensory loss compounds the frustration and isolation a person feels when trying to communicate effectively. One of the needs of people with a sensory impairment is to be able to obtain information. Whether it is written, spoken or signed information,...