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Ensuring children with low vision can play

February 26, 2018

Through your donations, children in our community who are blind or have low vision can safely play, integrate and participate fully in their most formative years, encouraging positive physical and mental health.

A $13,600 grant from the Give Where You Live Foundation allows Vision Australia to provide an Environmental Modification and Assessment Report for the 88 children in our region who receive regular Paediatric Specialist support and services.

This has made an incredible difference for Emily*, who began Prep this year!

To help get her settled into her new classroom and learn the layout of the school, Vision Australia’s Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Louise met with Emily, her mum and the school Principal at the end of 2017.  This meeting included an assessment of the school and its environment to gauge Emily’s level of mobility and confidence and determine areas of concern.

A few areas of concern were noted by Louise who recommended that by improving the contrast on poles throughout the school, Emily would be less likely to trip and bump into them, removing hazards like the garden hose and rocks would mean she could avoid these when walking, controlling glare in the classroom by placing Emily with her back to a wall and not opposite a window and providing a better positioned locker for Emily to get to her school bag would ensure her safety and confidence.

These subtle changes have ensured that Emily is at less risk of injuring herself as she plays, finds her friends, uses the amenities and since beginning a few short weeks ago, Emily’s Mum has reported that her first year of many years of educational adventure has begun with confidence and enthusiasm, just like all the other eager Prep students.

Similar to Emily, young Chloe* also began Prep this year.  Chloe was taken through the school with her family, the O&M Specialist and the Principal and it was observed that she whilst was confident with the general layout of the school, some modifications were required.  The main areas of concern were surface level hazards, repainting the lines on the sports courts and improving signage as well removing clutter in her designated classroom.

The Principal confirmed that these areas of concern would be remedied at an upcoming working bee.  By including all parents in the combined efforts of improving the environment for one of their students, an education process took place which not only helps to create greater understanding amongst the school community but a wider understanding and inclusion of those with a disability amongst the community.

With thanks to your donations, Emily and Chloe’s families know that their child, is not only safe in their school, but can travel independently, can learn and participate to the best of their ability but most importantly are included as member of their school community, exploring and making friends just as other children do every day.

*Not real names