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The Swan Blog- Issue 1. Introducing Lisa

Each week we will be giving you an exclusive ‘behind-the-scenes’ peek. We’ll be following a willing member of staff around during the day to create this Swan Blog just for you. This week we chat to Lisa Marie Houghton-Reade, the Swan’s Development Coordinator. 

Lisa Marie Houghton-Reade, Developmeny o-ordinator, Orchestra of the Swan

Lisa Marie Houghton-Reade has been The Swan’s Development Coordinator for nearly ten years. 

Lisa, who is registered blind, chats to us about the adaptive software that she uses in the office and project she’s been working on that’s close to her heart. 

Date17 May 2021

As many of you will already know I am registered blind.  I have a rare, degenerative condition that is making my optic nerves between my eyes and brain waste away.


Music Projects for the Visually Impaired

The Swan are supporting me by encouraging me to arrange music projects with visually impaired (VI) students and young people in the area. 

I am very excited about this work and I am really looking forward to getting to know lots of young VI people.

“The Disabled Students Allowance’ helped me to get adaptive software for my computer, a CCTV and a device which scanned and then read aloud printed documents”


Adaptive Software

I attended mainstream schools throughout my education as back in the 90s I wasn’t severely visually impaired. However, while I was at Uni my eyesight really began to adversely affect my studies.

I had to apply for help from the State through their ‘Disabled Students Allowance’.  This helped me to get adaptive software for my computer, a CCTV and a device which scanned and then read aloud printed documents. 

I was also able to pay people to verbally record the books I needed to read, so I could listen to them.  It was hard work as it adds another level of preparation and study, but it worked as I got a first for my BA degree. 


The Importance of Music

Music had always been important to me as even those who are severely VI can enjoy music as much as someone with perfect vision.

We may not be able to actually see the musicians, but we can certainly hear what they are playing!  So I was attracted to the idea of getting a job in the music business and making a career out of music. When a job opportunity came up at Orchestra of the Swan I jumped at the chance. 


Sharing a Passion

I’ve been with The Swan for over 10 years now and I love my job.  I want to share my passion for music with others living with VI so I was gratified when I was given the opportunity.”


Read Our Next Installment here.

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