WHEN it comes to disability, there’s a tendency to pigeonhole people with a particular condition. But the fact is, disabilities come in many forms and affect everyone differently. For example, not all autistic adults and children display the same characteristics – the same is true of most other disabilities.
It’s something Esme’s Umbrella – the campaign group for people working towards a greater awareness of Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) - is hoping to highlight. CBS is common among people who have lost their sight and causes people to see things that aren’t really there, known as visual hallucinations. Many people find these hallucinations can get less frequent with time, but while there are ways of managing the condition, there is no known cure as yet.
But, of course, CBS doesn’t affect everyone suffering from loss of sight – and that’s what we’re hoping to get across. It’s vital we don’t pigeonhole those with a visual impairment; while some people may find day-to-day tasks difficult due to loss of sight, others can be suffering emotionally, too.
People with CBS see images which are not real – but it’s worth remembering that not everyone with low vision develops the condition. That said, those who do can find it both frightening and incapacitating. Often, it is mistakenly confused with the onset of dementia, which is the reason many people suffer in silence.
It’s why, here at ubu, we’re committed to expanding people’s understanding of not only CBS, but the fact that sufferers of low vision – or indeed any other condition – aren’t all the same.
By raising awareness and understanding of CBS amongst all medical practitioners Esme’s Umbrella is offering comfort, reassurance and practical advice to those who’ve developed the condition. Furthermore, the campaign group is hosting the results of on-going research, as well as sharing new medical discoveries.
While there is no cure for CBS it can be managed by promoting discussion, engagement and awareness. But above all, it’s about helping people find coping strategies - and, of course, the same goes when it comes to any disability.
By becoming more open-minded about disability and not pigeonholing people in the process, we can all help make a positive change.
We’d like to ensure disability – in its many forms – is no longer a taboo. In encouraging others to talk openly, providing the necessary support and care to those who require it, and becoming mindful of disabled people’s differing needs, we can all make a difference.
Follow us @ubusupport