Mike from Bilborough lives with his guide dog Kristal and his visually impaired wife Wendy. He was diagnosed with Retrolental Fibroplasias in early childhood and is registered blind.
“I’ve always had a vision impairment but I lost my sight totally in 1992 when I took the drastic decision to have both my eyes removed due to persistent and violent headaches. I now wear two prosthetic eyes and the headaches have disappeared (except when I have a hangover!).
I first met the IT Officer at My Sight Notts four years ago. I visited the charity with a CD player I was struggling to access. He taught me to use it and I had many happy hours with it listening to audiobooks.
“Over the years I kept investing in stuff I don’t know how to use but every time the IT Officer was my ‘Mr Fix It’, he never lets me down and offers advice in a language I can understand, he doesn’t bamboozle me with jargon but supports me to explore the new technology myself.
“I don’t always get things the first, second or even the third time but he doesn’t get frustrated he keeps at it until eventually, I get the hang of it, so you see it’s true, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
“When I invested in a PC to help manage my 5,000 audiobooks, I was taught basic IT and PC skills before learning to use the specialist software that allows me to capture, edit store and catalogue my precious audiobooks from perishable cassette tape to a more durable CD.
“After mastering a PC, I decided to invest in a smartphone as a present to myself when I retired from the Inland Revenue. Of course, I called on My Sight Notts again for advice on the best and most accessible phone. Smart Phones cost a lot of money and I didn’t want to get the decision wrong, but I knew the IT Officer would give me the right advice, he’s visually impaired too so he knows what he’s talking about!
I invested in an Apple iPhone and have never regretted it. My favourite and most accessible apps are the Met Office Weather App, The Next Bus App, my Fitness App, my iPlayer and Radio Apps.
“The biggest problem when it comes to technology for people of my age is that we’re afraid of getting it wrong, of breaking it and getting in a mess. Working with the IT Officer has taught me to have more confidence, he’s empowered me to explore technology for myself and that’s been empowering and very liberating.”