Kain is one of over 200 students who attend Portland College – an FE college that was established with the sole purpose of supporting people with special educational needs and disabilities, from ages 16-25.
We chatted to Kain about his four pet snakes, building picnic benches and being diagnosed with Prosopagnosia (also known as face blindness).
Hi Kain! Tell us a bit about yourself – what are you studying at Portland College?
I’m Kain, I’m 21 years old, I love snakes and I’m doing Trade at Portland College. We do things like woodworking and painted – we even made the picnic tables out there last year and right now we’re making cheese boards. (Take a look at Kain’s photo to see the tables he made – they're amazing!)
And what are your interests outside of college?
Snakes, millipedes, and games! I have four snakes and a millipede at home. I got my first snake when I was 15 and it takes quite a lot of care to make sure they’re looked after properly and are living in the right environment.
Can you tell us a bit about your disability?
I have Prosopagnosia, which not a lot of people know about. I think a lot more people have it but they just don’t know what it is. It’s also called face blindness – so I can’t recognise people by faces.
It was hard to get diagnosed with it. You can do tests on the internet where you have to say whether it’s a photo of a new person or whether you’ve been them before.
Instead of their face, I recognise people by their hair, their clothes, the sound of their voice, the sound their footsteps make when they walk, and other things that people wouldn’t normally think about.
How do you think your disabilities impact your daily life?
It’s really difficult. I have to wear a face mask a lot because if I look in a mirror and see myself without a mask, I think – who's that? And it takes me a minute to recognise myself. It can be quite a spooky feeling.
I forget people a lot or I mistake them for someone else. My friends have made a joke out of it now so they don’t get upset with me if I don’t recognise them.
Why do you think it’s important for people to know more about your disability?
It’s important to just know about it, because not a lot of people do. I think it’s very interesting to talk about how the brain works and how it recognises faces. People might have had symptoms of it before – like not recognising themselves in the mirror – and just not know that it’s Prosopagnosia.
What are your hopes and plans for the future?
I really enjoy woodworking so I think I would do that casually, but I might get into politics one day. I’m in the student council now – I'm the Sexual Abuse and Exploitation representative currently so it's an important job. We have a lot of meetings and talk to other students to get information from them. It’s nice to be able to help people and share their views.
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