Morgan excels despite the obstacles

05/06/14
RIDBC Teleschool Consultant, Kylie, with Morgan who is learning to develop her tactile sensitivity so that she can better explore her world.RIDBC Teleschool Consultant, Kylie, with Morgan who is learning to develop her tactile sensitivity so that she can better explore her world.

Morgan is four years old and is blind. She accesses RIDBC Teleschool from her home in regional NSW and is being supported to learn braille and develop the skills she will need to succeed in school. 

When Morgan was four months old, parents Belinda and Danny began to suspect that she couldn’t see. 

“She was picking things up and holding them to her face. It wasn’t the same as with her older sister, Mikeeli,” said Belinda. “At Morgan’s six monthly GP visit we had her vision tested. That afternoon we were packing up and driving to Sydney to see an ophthalmologist.”

Morgan was eventually diagnosed with Coats’ disease in both eyes, a condition that typically only affects boys and usually only affects one eye. 

“It took a long time to confirm the diagnosis because Morgan broke all the rules on Coats’ disease,” said Belinda. “On our way home from hospital, having received the final diagnosis, we called RIDBC.” 

Morgan began accessing RIDBC Teleschool at eight months of age. This national service supports families living in regional and remote parts of Australia via high-quality videoconferencing technology. 

Technology is also helping Morgan explore her world. 

“Morgan is using her cane, which she calls Minnie,” said Belinda. “She also has an iPad which she loves – she even taught me how to use the VoiceOver function and she loves using apps.”

RIDBC Teleschool Consultant, Kylie Gouliotis, said Morgan is very bright. 

“From before she was three years old Morgan was doing things I would normally expect a four year old to do, like speaking in eight word sentences and using her Mountbatten Brailler,” said Kylie. “From an early age we began developing her tactile sensitivity by asking her to use her hands to recognise different objects.” 

Belinda is grateful for the support her family has received from RIDBC. 

“I can turn to RIDBC for advice on everything, even little things like the best toys to buy - she likes the really noisy ones!” said Belinda. “Kylie has gone above and beyond for Morgan. Some teachers look at her and think about her age and match that to her activities, but Kylie really pushes Morgan to achieve.”

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