Luton woman stars in new Guide Dogs campaign to encourage people to embrace descriptive language

A woman from Luton is part of a Guide Dogs campaign, Powers of Description, urging the public to embrace descriptive language.

Sassy with her guide dog Ida
Sassy with her guide dog Ida

Sassy Wyatt, 29, is part of an emotive campaign video with word expert Susie Dent, highlighting how vital language and words are for people with sight loss.

Research from sight loss charity Guide Dogs has highlighted how a fast-paced, digitally-dependent society is impacting language skills. In response, the charity has launched Powers of Description, to shine a spotlight on how words and description can enrich everyone's lives.

Sassy, a blogger and disability campaigner, is passionate about helping others understand sight loss, including how simple changes can make a huge difference, such as better text descriptions for videos and photos online.

Sassy and her fiance Grant

But, just six years ago Sassy wanted to give up on life. Sassy was eight when she was diagnosed with arthritis, the condition left her battling chronic pain in her joints, but she also feared that the condition could one day spread to her internal organs, including her eyes.

While at university, aged 23, Sassy contracted a viral infection that led to her losing her remaining sight. Her mental health suffered as she struggled with a lack of support and felt completely alone. In the following years, Sassy found help for her mental health and a counsellor who understood her.

After being matched with her beloved guide dog Ida, her confidence grew and she began to share her story to inspire others.

She said: “I began to realise being blind doesn’t mean that you’re not capable and it doesn’t mean you’re not intelligent.

Sassy and her guide dog Ida

"Yes, sight loss is tricky and frustrating, but life is far from over. Going blind opened the real beauty of the world around me.

"I experience life in a different way but those experiences are deeper and truer: Patience, kindness and time is a commodity I see as even more precious than I ever appreciated before.”

Sassy is taking part in Guide Dogs’ ‘Power of Description’ campaign which highlights the importance of using descriptive language in an increasingly visual dependent society.

She added: “Description has the power to open a door which was firmly locked shut to me. As a totally blind person I really appreciate all the details being explained, I can genuinely feel like I am looking at a scene with eyes that work.”

Guide Dogs are calling for an extra 4,500 My Guide volunteers to be in place by 2023, with the aim of helping people with sight loss improve their independence and confidence, and enable them to get out and about in their communities.

Language expert, Susie Dent, said: "There are distinct benefits to keeping our vocabulary skills sharp and improving our descriptive word power throughout our lives - from enabling us to be more creative, to processing information more quickly, and increasing our confidence.

"It is never too late to bolster language skills and enrich your life, and other people’s, as a result."