What does it feel like to be partially sighted?

Callum asked me what it was like to be partially sighted. To which I replied, “Well… my mum always gets great parking spots!” Since I am severely sight impaired, my mum is able to apply for the Blue Badge scheme, which allows drivers to park in spaces reserved for disabled people. Callum had laughed when I said that.

It was a difficult question, so I told him that I would write it down first. This question requires a lot of thought! I want to prepare my answer. I’ve always been partially sighted, so I don’t have anything to compare it with.

I suppose being partially sighted makes everyday tasks harder for me. But, my parents really help me with that! They label (in VERY large print) everything in the kitchen, so I don’t accidentally put salt (instead of sugar) into my hot chocolate… that has happened before!

Being partially sighted also means that it can be harder for me to make friends. Sometimes, people talk louder around me because they think I cannot hear as well. Just because I am blind does not mean that I cannot hear! And the worst thing is when some people think that I am ignoring them. I don’t purposely try to walk past my friends; sometimes, I just can’t see them properly.

Paying for things can be hard, too. My mum purposely folds my notes differently, depending on the value of the money. For five pound notes, she folds them vertically. For ten pounds, my mum folds them horizontally. For twenty pound notes, she just puts them as they are! I haven’t had a chance to hold a fifty pound note yet; I will tell you when I do!

There are also really cool things about being partially sighted. Listening to other people’s conversations can be really interesting. A lot of the time, people don’t really say what they mean. But, being partially blind means that I listen much more carefully to the way people say things, or the tone in which they are saying them. When my mum or dad are upset, I know when to stop talking!

Callum, I’m not really sure if I can exactly describe what it is like. What is it like to see? How would you describe it to a partially sighted person?