Pets for partials is doing the rounds as a moan about guide dogs being too much given to people who are partially sighted, not totally blind. I have a guide dog and a little sight too. Perhaps all this is the tip of the iceberg of a highly sensitive visual disability issues. i.e. is it right to lump us altogether as vision impaired to facilitate the magical two million sight loss population?
After all, only ten percent of those with significant sight loss have no vision at all and their lives are very different from the lives of those of us with diminished sight.
The issue is this: Should resources be more focused on the totally blind or should we continue on the roll towards larger numbers of people with sight loss? Professor Ian Bruce at RNIB lead the charge for the two million in the late 1980’s and the aging population statistics point ever upwards over the next ten or twenty years.
I don’t look back through rose-tinted glasses but the second world war opened up opportunities of rehabilitation, work and government financial support for the totally blind. So I wonder if we should be refocusing on the latter and their specific needs once again. I am old enough to remember the lovely quiet grounds in Sevenoaks, Birmingham and Torquay where newly totally blind people could hope to relax and move around with appropriate help, encouragement and blossoming confidence. These very places now are given over to posh flats for the seeing with money and totally blind newbies have to sort it all out in the hustle and bustle of our cities and towns often, sadly, without a supporting peer-group.
Perhaps we should replace the pets for partials with time for totals.