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Early years experiences

“At school, I wasn’t allowed to do any sports.”

The sporting experiences that visually impaired people have at an early age has a significant impact on the long-term perceptions of their sporting abilities.

70% of visually impaired children attend mainstream schools and so had many of our participants. Several individuals said that they were often sidelined during PE lessons in mainstream schools. They believed this was due to staff members being uncertain about how to involve them in sessions.

These types of negative experiences affected our participants views on sport and many of them began to identify sport as something they just couldn’t do as a visually impaired individual.

“When I was in a mainstream school, I just didn’t tell anyone I was visually impaired because I didn’t like the label of being disabled.”

Some participants had positive experiences during their early years. These participants believed the help and support from family, friends and supportive teachers was vital to having a positive outlook on sport. This support helped many of our participants manage their impairment and lead an active lifestyle.