27 Jul 2018
When thinking “outside the box” is a necessity
by Robertson Homes’ Site Manager, Stephen Wylie
The need to consider solutions outside the norm was particularly brought home to me recently on a visit with colleagues Brian Curren and Tommy Fraser, to the Deafblind Scotland Centre in Lenzie.
Robertson Homes has been privileged to support this Centre, where individuals with a range of sensory challenges can receive practical help, encouragement and companionship.
It also quickly became clear that the building itself is part of the support network offered by Centre Manager Drena O’Malley and her team.
You’ll hear people saying “It’s just a building” – and sometimes four walls and a roof, with a few services and utilities, is all that’s required to do the job. Having spent my career in construction, however, I can say that every single job; every single building; every single family or individual creates a different story around how construction and priorities should merge.
More than just a building
The meeting rooms and offices were specially built with sound proofed ceilings and walls to limit background and external noise, to allow learning and development to be uninterrupted.
Windows have been strategically positioned to restrict the light coming in that could cause problems for people with light-sensitive eyes. Even the keyboards installed have been specially developed by the Centre, in order to make using the internet/email more manageable for people with sight impairment.
Stephen Joyce, The Centre’s Training Manager explained that technology has added much to the quality of life of those with sensory impairments and to reduce barriers to what can be achieved.
Sometimes it’s simple things, such as pioneering a ‘Talking Newspaper’ to help keep partially sighted people informed, or teaching Braille to someone whose sight may be failing. The Centre also champions ‘Moon’; a form of literature/numbers developed for people who have lost their sight, as opposed to being born blind. The Centre in Lenzie is one of only two places in Scotland working with ‘Moon’.
These constructive developments mean that loss of vision or hearing need not mean individuals also lose contact with other activities they enjoy. Within the Centre, the approach to every challenge is to find, if not a solution, then a way to make a problem easier. As a result, the staff and the ethos of the Centre are simply inspirational.