Teenagers are subject to verbal abuse after she briefly lifted her face covering on a train – so her deaf-blind sister can read her lips
- Karolina Pakenaite, 24, with Usher syndrome, traveled to Southport
- Pakenaite was accompanied by her 16 year old sister Saule and her guide dog
- In a video of the incident, one hears a passenger ask if Karolina is really deaf-blind and why her sister had to move her mask to understand her
- The woman said & # 39; deafblind my a * se & # 39; before another passenger intervened
A teenager was subjected to verbal abuse after briefly lifting her face covering in one go so that her deaf-blind sister could read her lips.
Karolina Pakenaite, who has Usher syndrome, traveled to Southport with her 16-year-old sister Saule and her guide dog when they were faced with another passenger.
Despite the explanation that the condition of the 24-year-old Ms. Pakenaite meant that she was both hearing impaired and visually impaired, the woman refused to accept her explanation.
Their ordeal was recorded on a cell phone when they boarded a Merseyrail train from Liverpool Central on July 16.
The woman can be heard in the two-minute clip in which she asks if Ms. Pakenaite was really deaf-blind after answering her comments.
"You take the piss, you," says the woman.
Ms. Pakenaite's younger sister later replies: “Legally, she is deaf-blind. There is a spectrum. Google it.
"You don't know what you're talking about."
After the passenger asked why she had moved her mask, Ms. Pakenaite's sister said in a desperate tone: “So that she could read me on the lips. What do you want? & # 39;
The woman continues to say "deafblind my a * se" before another passenger intervenes.
The main symptoms of Usher syndrome are hearing loss and an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, which causes night blindness and peripheral vision loss.
While all passengers in public transport are required to wear a face mask, disabled people who cannot safely carry one are exempt from the government.
Those who support disabled people, who can rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound when communicating, must not wear either.
Charities have now asked the government to do more to raise awareness of who is exempt from the face mask rules.
Richard Kramer, managing director of Disability Charity Sense, said his organization has received "many" reports of disabled people challenged for lack of coverage.
Karolina Pakenaite, who has Usher syndrome, traveled to Southport with her 16-year-old sister Saule and her guide dog when they were faced with another passenger. Pictured above: Karolina films the woman as she triggers a verbal tirade against the sisters
He said: “These experiences cause distress and fear and make many disabled people feel like they have to stay at home, where they are isolated.
"We welcome the government's introduction of" exemption cards ", but more needs to be done to raise public awareness about who is exempt from wearing facewear, so that the public is on board and disabled people feel supported."
New rules introduced on Friday made it compulsory to wear facewear in supermarkets and closed public spaces in England.
After the incident, Ms. Pakenaite said: “I can no longer keep silent about it because I keep experiencing attacks and hearing similar experiences from others. It affects my mental health.
“Not enough people take this pandemic seriously, but this behavior is never acceptable.
"Please respect people individually, ask us, listen, discuss, and I'm always happy to come up with ideas for alternative solutions, but harassment, attribution, or any form of abuse or aggression will never be okay."
Usher syndrome: what are the symptoms?
Usher syndrome is a condition characterized by partial or even complete hearing loss and poor vision over time.
Hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the inner ear, while loss of vision is caused by an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
RP affects the layer of photosensitive tissue in the back of the eye, and vision loss occurs as the photosensitive cells of the retina deteriorate over time.
Loss of night vision begins first, followed by blind spots that affect peripheral vision. Over time, these blind spots merge into tunnel vision.
Many people with RP maintain central vision in their lives, but in some cases vision is impaired by clouding the eye lens.
There are three different types of Usher syndrome.
Most people with Usher type 1 syndrome are born with severe hearing loss, with vision loss progressing through childhood.
The second type of syndrome is characterized by hearing loss from birth and progressive vision loss that begins in adolescence or adulthood, while the third type sees hearing loss and vision loss later in life.
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