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Anonymous - established 2


3 minute read

Read an anonymous story from one of our colleagues.  

In school, I had more of an interest in arts. Just before key school exams I suffered significant sight loss in one eye. However, by the time I got to university, my eyesight started to change in my other eye. While at school, I decided to change my career path and move into computing. I reasoned at that age that, with or without eyesight, I could use a computer. 

After university, I worked in a school for about a year looking after their IT equipment. In between all this I was doing various amounts of job hunting and looking for new opportunities and this resulted in me coming to NPL. 

I like the variety in the work I do. My typical day will include assisting the scientists or any other parts of the business with my IT specialisation. Some it may involve working on larger projects. It's amazing how wide the range of people you interact with is in my role.  

I’ve also had the opportunity to help other people in NPL through the Accessibility Action group and raising awareness throughout the organisation, making things better for people with disabilities and without as well. Additional activities I perform as part of the Accessibility Action group, can vary from sharing experiences and knowledge through raising the profile of accessibility across the organisation. 

One big lesson I did learn through that entire experience was that, even after finishing university, I wasn't aware of how to communicate about my disability/visual impairment in a business environment. I found help with that through a charity called Blind in Business they work with employers and people with visual impairment disabilities. They assisted me a lot in understanding how to present my disability, how to talk about my disability and how to interact with employers regarding my visual impairment. It’s not always obvious to an individual when you have or develop a disability because there’s never a handbook saying do this or do that and not that. 

My perspective of my disability has changed because when I first started, I kept talking about my disability and accessibility to a minimum. I wasn't sure how other people would see me and how that would reflect upon me. 

Later, I started to learn to be more open when eventually I realized that people would listen to me regarding disabilities and accessibility as a result, I now advocate for accessibility at NPL. I realised that people do listen when I talk more about accessibility and the challenges that need to be overcome. 

It can be quite challenging sometimes saying that you've got a disability because some people don't always see it and it can be difficult to talk about it. If possible, getting a diagnosis can be helpful as it can make getting advice and support you require easier. 

If you say, ‘I have a medical condition’, for example, you may find yourself offering a long-winded explanation and people do not always understand. But if I were to say, ‘I’m partially sighted’, people tend to understand better and it’s easier to find the support or assistance you need. NPL’s disability policy and procedure also is inclusive of long-term conditions. 

It’s always worth talking to charities or organisations to see what expertise and knowledge they may have to share regarding your disability or condition. 

You do not need to have a disability to use features such as read aloud, dictation or change your documents background colour, I would encourage everyone to explore these types of features. 

As well as being partially sighted, I also have a joint condition. NPL and Access to Work provide me with equipment to assist me with being partially sighted. NPL have allowed me the opportunity to work from home most of the time because of my joint condition, even before the pandemic. When a person has joint pain, they will do everything they can to avoid aggravating the painful joints.  

I never imagined myself working in a scientific laboratory. It is an interesting and fascinating place to work. 

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The information contained on the above text is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional or medical advice. All content, including text, images and information, is for general information purposes only and NPL does not warrant nor represent that it is intended or is suitable for a specific purpose.