Meet one of our mentees Leo.

He shares how his mentor has helped him overcome challenges at school and shown him how to view his visual impairment more positively. 

My name is Leo, I’m in year 11 and I have Nystagmus and Albinism. I have been on the LOOK mentoring programme for over a year.

 When my dad first told me about the mentoring, I thought it would be a good idea to talk to someone about the struggles I’m having with my visual impairment. I liked the idea of talking to a mentor because they can help you understand more about what’s going to happen in life with a visual impairment, rather than only getting the facts about your vision from a doctor.

Living with a visual impairment has been challenging at times at school. For example, when others see things I can’t.  Like if my friends see something out of the window then everyone gathers at the window and starts talking about that, but I can’t see what they’re talking about. 

At first, I felt really awkward about asking them to explain what they could see but now I’ve got quite a few friends and they all understand that I’ve got a visual impairment and understand what that means. I’ve also found it challenging explaining my visual impairment to my tutors at times. When I walk into a class, a teacher’s first instinct is sometimes to sit me at the back because I’m quite tall. Then I’ve got to explain to them that I’ve got to be at the front so I can best see the board. I talk to my mentor about these challenges and he has advised me to talk to my class teacher or my learning mentor to get the issues I’m having resolved. Having these conversations has made me feel a lot better about myself and my visual impairment. I used to think that it was a bad thing, but my mentor has shown me that it’s one of those things that happens, and even with my visual impairment I can still live the life I want.

To find out more about our mentoring scheme visit: http://www.look-uk.org/mentoring