NAME: Claire Morley
WHERE ARE YOU: Bury, Lancashire
COMMUNICATION METHOD: Email, text messages using inverted colours and large text, limited lip reading, some deafblind manual sign language.
YEAR OF USHER DIAGNOSIS: 1997
USHER TYPE: USH2A
FAMILY/CHILDREN: Married to Craig, one daughter.
CAREER: Previously a Social Care Officer ,and also a teacher of students with additional needs.
HOBBIES: Arts and crafts, walking.
NAME THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOU: Fun, resilient, positive.
WHAT ARE YOU SURPRISINGLY GOOD AT: Reading people’s body language.
WHO IS SOMEONE YOU ADMIRE AND WHY? I admire Michelle Obama for taking a situation she didn’t entirely chose for herself and making it a triumph.
WHAT ARE YOU HAPPIEST DOING? Spending time with my family and guide dog Thea.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PERSONAL MOTTO: Keep things simple
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE IMAGE/PHOTO YOU ATTACH: The images I’ve chosen is of me on a beach in North Yorkshire. It’s a beach I played on as a child and now my child plays on it. Having Usher syndrome does not stop me from being a parent, in fact it gives me additional strengths that I may not otherwise have – patience, understanding, a variety of communication skill, empathy and adaptable problem solving skills.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ANY PARTICULAR USHER STORY YOU CAN DO SO HERE:
I did not start using a long cane until I was 41. I was long overdue needing to use one but it is a very personal hurdle to overcome, accepting that your eyesight has crossed that threshold from “coping” to “needing visible help”.
I was on a special shopping trip on my birthday, in a large department store, when I fell. I had tripped up over the base of two life-size mannequins. I had not seen them. As I laid sprawled across the floor , other shoppers rushed to help me. Luckily I had just started using a “symbol cane” and this visual clue stopped me from having to explain that I wasn’t drunk or clumsy – I was visually impaired.
But it really unsettled me. It was the fall I had been dreading. The fall I had tried to avoid for years by limiting the places I went to, the times I went, who I went with, even if I went at all. My world had become very small.
I decided I needed, for my own safety and others, to take the plunge and get my long white and red cane, and mobility training. It opened up a whole new world for me and as soon as I experienced the relief of feeling safe, I no longer cared about what it might look like to others. Thea my dual purpose guide dog followed a year later and I’ve loved every minute with my trusty helpers.
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