Hi everyone, I’m Dave and I launched ‘B Reason-ABLE’ in 2019.
You can see me pictured here with Darcy who is my Guide Dog. I trained with Darcy in 2016 at the Guide Dogs training centre in Leamington Spa.
We were obviously destined to pair up as I have a step-daughter called D’Arcy and they both share the same birthday.
Darcy’s Dad is a poodle called ‘Pringle’ and her mum is a black labrador called ‘Bess’, she has 5 other brothers and sisters.
I have a sight condition called ‘Ocular Albinism’ which results from the inability of the normal pigment cells in the eyes (especially the iris and the retinal pigment epithelium) to produce normal amounts of pigment.
The reduced amount of pigment leads to reduced visual acuity (eyesight) and a high sensitivity to sunlight which is believed to be due the lack of pigment or and/or other developmental pathway in the assembly line of the eye and it’s visual development.
I also have ‘Nystagmus’ which is a condition of involuntary eye movement that is likely to result in reduced or limited vision. Due to the involuntary movement of the eye, it has been called “dancing eyes”.
I was born with both conditions and as such I am registered as a blind person, although I am not totally blind (black blind) as I have a little vision.
I first started to notice the limitations of my vison when I went to primary school (1972). Firstly, getting around was difficult with so many other children running around and playing, my vision is blurred and all this movement would disorientate me.
However the main challenges were in the classroom, where I struggled to read what was being written on the blackboard and the small text in the exorcise books. Teachers were less understanding in those days and would often become impatient with me. This had a profound effect on my learning at the time.
In 1976 I went to a specialist boarding school for children with visual impairments. This created a much better learning environment for me as there were dedicated teachers and the class sizes were no more than 12 at a time.
I left in 1983 with a number of O-Levels and CSE’s, however expectations were kept low as the school thought that we would all struggle finding work.
Work was a slow start, I did 18 months on the Youth Training Scheme (YTS) learning different computer skills including basic programming, networking and of course word processing (long before Microsoft Office existed).
Can you believe my first real job was working for an engineering company. Back in those days companies would be given money towards the wages of disabled people they employed.
After a few years I moved into insurance as an insurance broker and then the energy sector starting in the customer service centre and ended up running the print room.
More recently, working in the public services, I found my niche. The support that I received working in the public sector has really enabled me to grow and develop my skills and expertise. I have spent the last 20 years working for local authorities and a County Council, the last five of which has been within the police service.