Authored by Sarah Bell
The Sensing Nature study is highlighting how various types of ‘nature’ feature in the lives of people with visual impairments, including the important role of childhood nature experiences.
Several participants born with sight impairment have explained how time spent in nature as children offered invaluable opportunities to play freely, to imagine, to move in three-dimensional space and to build spatial awareness.
These experiences were rarely without risk or injury but participants attributed their ability to manage and negotiate nature’s risks in adulthood to the hours and hours spent exploring such settings as children.
With this in mind, I was particularly excited to hear about the work of Moorvision; a Devon-based charity which provides information, supportive environments, and a chance to get together for anyone caring for a child who has a visual impairment.
Laura Hughes established Moorvision in 2007 after experiencing years of isolation as the parent of a visually impaired child in a rural area of Devon. Now running for over a decade, Moorvision arranges around 10-12 family days out each year, as well as varied weekend residential trips. Trips range from sporting activities such as climbing and swimming to theatre visits, bowling, beach days, and arts and craft sessions.
The trips are always open to the whole family, including parents, siblings and carers, and are accompanied by regular parents’ nights out, as well as evening meetings with speakers on a range of related issues.
Inspired by our discussions at the 2017 Annual Visionary Conference, Laura is designating 2018 as Moorvision’s Year of Science, Nature and the Environment.
Exciting trips have already been booked to ‘We the Curious’ (formerly At-Bristol), the Big Sheep, Occombe Farm and the World of Country Life in Devon. Through working with the RNIB, Living Paintings, and CustomEyes books, Moorvision also aims to spark curiosity and enable children with sight impairments to learn about nature and the environment.
If you would like to hear more about the exciting programme of events planned for next year, do contact Moorvision on 01752891934 or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or request a copy of the Moorvision newsletter, which is produced twice a year, available in print, large print and electronic text.