Braille Week supports children with vision loss

29/01/13
Oliver reading braille to his mother, Melissa, at RIDBC Teleschool's Braille Week in Sydney

14 families of children who are blind or have vision loss, recently attended an intensive Braille Week at Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC).

The families currently access RIDBC Teleschool, which provides families in regional and remote Australia with access to specialist support via high quality videoconferencing technology. The service gives children with vision or hearing loss access to the skilled early intervention they need to get the best possible start in life.

While the children participated in a variety of activities to fast-track their braille progress, parents and siblings worked hard to obtain their Grade 1 Braille Certificate – which is not an easy task.

“It’s really important that families of children with vision loss learn braille as this will allow them to immerse children in a braille rich environment at home, ensuring they have the best literacy outcomes possible,” said Head of RIDBC Teleschool, Tracey McCann.

“We’re really proud of all the parents and siblings who worked hard to achieve their Certificates during Braille Week. Braille is not easy to learn, particularly when you are older, as your touch sensitivity lessens. That’s why it’s important for children with vision loss to have access to braille at an early age.”

For the children and families who attended the week, it was also a rare chance to socialise with other families who share similar challenges.

“Families in rural or regional Australia who have a child with a disability can feel very isolated,” said Tracey. “One of the most positive outcomes from the week was seeing the parents and children socialise and interact.”

Most children who are blind, or have vision loss, attend mainstream schools and RIDBC works with schools to ensure that the children are given the necessary support.

“Parents who attended the Week learned about the assistive technology available for children with vision loss as well as how to make tactile and braille books for their children. It is really important to give parents the confidence they need to help their children at home,” said Tracey.

RIDBC is Australia’s largest provider of services for children with hearing or vision loss, assisting thousands of children a year across Australia.  As Australia’s premier provider of training and education for professionals in the field of sensory disability, RIDBC ensures that services delivered throughout government and non-government organisations remains cutting-edge.