Doing something truly amazing…

Occasionally you get to do something that you realise will stay with you forever, and today I had one of those days…  I’ve been privileged to be a governor at Portesbery School in Camberley for the last few years, and it has been an amazing experience.  Portesbery is a school for PMLD students, which stands for Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties.  Our kids have shocking levels of difficulties, after the first hour I spent there, any difficulties I thought I had paled into insignificance…

At a governors meeting this afternoon we got to see the most incredible piece of kit, called “eye gaze”.  It is computer and sensor and video system that you sit in front of where it registers a connection with the pupils in your eyes.  Once it registers a fixed connection with your pupils, you can control a cursor on the screen in front of you using just the movement of your pupils.  You can play some very cool games with it, but the real issue is that you can use. It to communicate…  Kids who have no effective use of their limbs, can’t speak, and have never had an ability to say anything to anyone can suddenly communicate…

It was amazing to sit for a few minutes and imagine what life would be like if you had no use of anything except the movement of your pupils to communicate.  I spend a big part of my life on a keyboard, seeing what it would be like to activate one letter every 30 seconds or so is almost too hard to imagine.  But if you have no other way to communicate, you are set free from all the bonds that that you were born with and have held you down since you drew your first breath as a baby…

Our special needs schools are so important, and the work of the people who work there is nothing short of incredible.  Volunteer in a special needs school or community service today, your life will never be the same…

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