How much support do you access?

General forum for the UK Keratoconus and self-help group members.

Click on the forum name, General Discussion Forum, above.

Moderators: Anne Klepacz, John Smith, Sweet

helenh999
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu 07 Aug 2008 10:19 pm
Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
Vision: Spectacles

How much support do you access?

Postby helenh999 » Sun 16 Dec 2012 9:57 pm

Hello folks.

I am 29 y/o secondary school Design Technology teacher. I work in an environment with a lot of dust and lots of time on the laptop, not ideal when you have KC.

I was wondering how much Access to work support other KC'ers currently use?

I had INTACS surgery around a year ago, which resulted in me having 4 months off work. The school were (rightly) nervous about me returning and being responsible for a class full of 20+ teenagers in a woodwork room until my eyes had fully healed.

When I started my job (6 years ago), I declared my KC. I claimed for a projector to use for my lessons, to allow me to display presentations across several slides instead of writing things onto a board...but little else.

However, I am considering whether it would be possible to apply for a support worker / help with transport costs. My sight is so bad now that I don't drive at night - which makes travel to and from work very difficult. The intacs didn't really do a lot to help and because of the dusty atmosphere I find it very hard to tolerate lenses.

This sounds like a silly question but how "blind" do you have to be to be entitled to a support worker to help you in your job?

I am a little nervous about asking for a reassessment of my access needs as the school has a period of compulsory redundancy coming up and although I know I am protected until Disability Discrimination Laws, I feel that by "reaing my head" with disability claims, I might put myself more in line for the sack, as they might think that I am not capable of doing my job any more.

User avatar
Anne Klepacz
Committee
Committee
Posts: 2069
Joined: Sat 20 Mar 2004 5:46 pm
Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
Vision: Graft(s) and contact lenses

Re: How much support do you access?

Postby Anne Klepacz » Mon 17 Dec 2012 10:38 am

Hello Helen,
Providing a driver to get people to and from work if they couldn't drive because of their eyesight certainly used to be one of the things that Access to Work could provide. But with all the cutbacks, I'm not 100% sure whether they still do (has anyone here had recent experience?) So it may be worth checking with your local AFBP team www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk what the current situation is. The whole point of DDA and Access to Work is to ensure people have the support to enable them to do their jobs, though I know it's difficult in the current climate.
The other possibility is to tackle the sight problem. Has anyone ever suggested scleral lenses for you? They're ideal for people who work in dusty environments as they cover the whole of the eye so the dust can't get in! They aren't available in all hospital eye clinics, but you could ask to be referred to a hospital that does provide them.
All the best
Anne

alison falshaw
Regular contributor
Regular contributor
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue 14 Aug 2007 1:03 pm
Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
Vision: Contact lenses

Re: How much support do you access?

Postby alison falshaw » Mon 17 Dec 2012 12:43 pm

HI Helen,

I too am unable to drive at night, well actually havent been able to drive at all most of this year, however I have had help from Access To Work when I was working..I was made redundant this time last year.

They provided a taxi service to and from work in the dark mornings and evenings and also funded the cost of software and hardware for my new job. I contributed towards the taxi cost but it wasnt massive. As Anne says, i am not sure with the cutbacks if they still provide this but again, as Anne says the best place to go is Action For Blind. They have been a tremendous support to me, they are so knowledgeable and if they cant help they sure will be able to point you in the right direction.

I too had intacs ( twice) but unfortunately they didnt give me good enough sight to drive and even walking in the dark, negotiating traffic to cross the road was pretty scary.

Good luck with Access To Work!! if you need any further info just ask.

kind regards
Alison

User avatar
Elizabeth Mair
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun 14 Mar 2004 4:56 pm
Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
Vision: Contact lenses
Location: East Kilbride

Re: How much support do you access?

Postby Elizabeth Mair » Fri 21 Dec 2012 10:08 pm

I used to teach Home Economics. I was struggling to wear GP lenses because the ventilation was very poor. In the new build school each window only opened about an inch.
I got dust extractors for all the classrooms that I worked in and I had a support work 15 hours a week to be in my practical classes for safety, especially when I had days when I couldn't wear lenses.(I also have asthma which is affected by dust)This help was through Access to work.You just need assessed and see what they offer.You have already declared KC with your workplace so they shouldn't be able to discriminate against you.
Now I'm doing full time specialist support . Driving in the dark is a safety issue so I'm allowed to go into work slightly later and leave early during the dark months when needed.

helenh999
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu 07 Aug 2008 10:19 pm
Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
Vision: Spectacles

Re: How much support do you access?

Postby helenh999 » Sun 30 Dec 2012 12:30 pm

Thanks so much for these responses. They are really helpful to me. It seems that there are more types of support available than I had first realised. I will investigate more into it once I find whether I am keeping my job in the new year. Your help is much appreciated.

User avatar
Andrew MacLean
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 7704
Joined: Thu 15 Jan 2004 8:01 pm
Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
Vision: Other
Location: Scotland

Re: How much support do you access?

Postby Andrew MacLean » Sun 30 Dec 2012 2:37 pm

When my sight was at its worst (I was registered blind) I had all sorts of 'Access to Work' goodies:

A talking computer that allowed me to work without reference to a screen.
A video magnifier that worked by CCTV to present text from books and documents on my computer.
A little telescope that made it possible for me to find addresses.
My white stick.

I also had a talking watch and, of course, free travel on all forms of public transport except air.
Andrew MacLean

munster
Regular contributor
Regular contributor
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat 29 Oct 2011 7:23 pm
Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
Vision: Contact lenses

Re: How much support do you access?

Postby munster » Mon 31 Dec 2012 8:25 pm

I don't have access to support atm.

I'm seriously considering giving up night driving as a professional driver. Safety is becoming a concern now due the the worsening light trails/streaks that reduce clear visibility :(

I'm seeing a specialised consultant at St Pauls eye hospital, Liverpool on 4th Jan 2013.

longhoc
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 349
Joined: Sun 26 Dec 2010 11:13 am
Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
Vision: Graft(s) and contact lenses

Re: How much support do you access?

Postby longhoc » Tue 01 Jan 2013 3:14 pm

Hi Munster

Sympathies for having to face such a difficult decision. Not easy at all but being a professional driver isn't a trivial responsibility. I hope your consultation gives you some options.

For what it's worth, depending on the size of your employer, it might well be reasonable for them to have to provide you with alternative work of equal benefits if your vision is preventing you from carrying out your current duties. You should not have to leave just because of your Keratoconus. A lot does relate to the scale and variation of your employer but don't think you have no option but to simply resign.

Let us know if you need any more on this subject.

Best wishes

Chris


Return to “General Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 12 guests