Friday, 30 March 2007

The Guide Dog Process - For information

This is my first blog and first posting so I hope to keep it up and running and hope it is of use to people around the world who are visually impaired and want to know more about general life and owning a guide dog. So here I start off with the guide dog assessment process as I wrote a diary throughout the process of getting a guide dog including the training.

I am registered as severely sight impaired and have always wanted a guide dog from a very young age but was not allowed to have one because I was under the age of 16.

I went to the hospital in March 2006 to have my general eye check up and I came out totally shocked as to what I had been told, I had been told that my eyesight had deteriorated such a lot that I was eligible for registration as blind now what I shock that was to me, mum and dad but the thing why it wasn't noticed beforehand was because my eyesight had slowly been deteriorating throughout the years but the bit of good news I had was that they didn't think I would go completely blind but tests would need to be done to determine the cause but to this day no cause has been found.

In 2007 I decided to apply for a guide dog because I found it so difficult to get around independently that my self esteem and confidence began to decrease because I couldn't just go out where or when I liked but I always had to have someone with me so I was set an appointment by Guide Dogs Wokingham for someone to come and do a general info visit on 30th March 07. The general info visit just gives you more information on guide dogs and filling in lots of forms so that they get to know you better. It went well and I moved onto the next stage which is called the mobility assessment visit and this was to establish what you could and couldn't see and they tested me on roads to see if I knew when it was safe to cross and you can then decide if you want to carry on to the next stage the guide dog assessment stage and also guide dogs will make the decision if a dog is still the right option now I moved straight on to the guide dog assessment but was given long cane training via my local RNIB rehabilitation officer to help me become a little more independent while waiting for a guide dog.

6 months later (doesn't usually take this long my team had a backlog at that point) I had the last and final assessment the guide dog assessment where you do a short handle walk where the trainer becomes the dog and pretends to "sniff" and you have to use your voice and again more forms are filled in and the final decision is made from guide dogs as to whether you get put on the waiting list for a guide dog and I was successful, I was so overjoyed that I took my family out for a meal to celebrate but then the long waiting process began.

That is the end of the assessment process training post to come soon.