Every day we are inundated with reports about COVID-19: statistics, new cases, and worse. Every day we hear of how the coronavirus has impacted people all over the world, but we rarely if ever hear specific reports of its effect on blind and visually impaired individuals.
Thus far we have spanned the globe, introducing blind guests from Around the world, from Australia and Malaysia, to the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and the US. Today we hear a first-hand report from Jo Fishwick in England with her unique perspective on how the coronavirus has affected her and her family.
Jo Fishwick lives in Teignmouth, in Devin, a seaside town on the southwestern coast of England.
She is a guide dog owner, married with an 18-year-old daughter and Speaks about working in an eye clinic in Exeter, and her transition to working from home at the outset of the pandemic. Jo says it was difficult to focus on her work, and then have to shift her working day to her family time, as her husband and daughter were also in the same space. Jo’s husband Rob is also her PA Support Worker, and provides assistance in photocopying and driving, so her work duties at home have changed only minimally.
She is concerned with the health of her dog, Bruno, and is trying to get to the root of those problems. Like so many of us, she also speaks of the difficulty she finds in this time of social distancing, to get out and work him, and to maintain his routines as he had in the past.
Jo has been very careful, even fastidious in safeguarding herself and her family, and was a bit apprehensive when the U.K. lock-down orders were eased, but Her daughter’s 18th birthday occurred during this time, so she needed to have some kind of celebration. While it probably wasn’t what they would have done prior to the pandemic, she did find herself in a pub, having to deal with social distancing: a difficult task at best. However, Jo still found this wonderful as she was able to see and chat with friends in person, rather than via phone, Zoom or Microsoft Teams, etc. Still no hugs though which Jo wishes would change in the “new normal”.
jo is the Chair of VI Talk, an ongoing charitable organization for blind and visually impaired people in the UK. It was started in 2014, and has required some adaptations during the pandemic, but Zoom and an increase in volunteers have worked nicely.
Listen as Jo describes her migration into social distancing and her ability to see the silver lining in each circumstance in which she finds herself.
As usual, Blind Abilities has inserted excerpts from real news stories to enhance the report and paint a tine-line for you to better understand the sequence of the COVID-19 progression.
Special thanks go out to Chee Chau, for his beautiful song and titled Wayfarer.
Be sure to tune in to more informative episodes to hear how your BVI counterparts around the world are coping with and adapting to cOVID-19.
Contact Your State Services
If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
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