She has held talks at the UK Houses of Parliament, the BBC, Harvard Medical School and the Apple Campus, and she visited Sightsavers recently to share her experiences of assistive technology and her personal story.
“I was born deaf, and was given my first pair of hearing aids at just 18 months old. My parents were adamant that I would be mainstream ‘oral’ so I could communicate with anybody and everybody,” she explained. Yet she admitted she hated the new experience of sound. “I used anything to take my hearing aids out. They’d be behind the sofa, down the toilet – anywhere but in my ears.”
Moving to senior school, Molly’s sight began to deteriorate: following many appointments with ophthalmologists, it was confirmed that she had Usher syndrome – a combination of deafness and retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic form of blindness that affects the retina. Molly went from being fully sighted to partially sighted by the age of 12. By the time she was 14, she was severely sight-impaired.
“Listening to Molly made me reflect on my own sight loss. I’ve had sight problems since the age of three, when I had a brain haemorrhage, but my sight loss wasn’t discovered until I was 17.
“Molly talked about experiencing depression and anxiety when she lost her sight because her friends, teachers and society didn’t understand what she needed or wanted. I too experienced isolation and was subject to bullying at school because my visual impairment was not accepted or understood by my peers.”