Emma prepares for the HSC with support from RIDBC

Emma prepares for the HSC with support from RIDBCEmma prepares for the HSC with support from RIDBC

17 year old Emma, who is blind, is preparing for the HSC this year with support from RIDBC.

“At just nine and a half months of age, Emma was diagnosed as being completely blind after a rare childhood cancer caused damage to her optic nerves,” said Emma’s mum, Rose. “At the same time Emma was given a terminal cancer diagnosis, which was devastating.

“We were told she wouldn’t see her first birthday, but after a short cancer treatment, Emma defied the odds and was given the ‘all clear’ - she has lived to see 17 birthdays and we’re still counting!

“Emma now attends Marist Regional College in Tasmania and earlier this year began accessing RIDBC Teleschool for support,” said Rose.

RIDBC Teleschool provides education and therapy services to children with vision or hearing loss in regional and remote Australia, using high quality videoconferencing technology in the family home or other local facilities.

As part of the RIDBC Teleschool service, Emma receives support from Ann, a specialist teacher of vision impairment, through weekly videoconferencing sessions in her home.

“My support teacher, Ann, has been amazing,” said Emma. “She produced my maths for me this year and helped me to find the best solution for completing maths problems. We have also been working on improving my musical theory with the aid of Braille music.”

RIDBC specialist teacher, Ann, said; “It has been a pleasure to work with Emma. Her main concern when we began was how to read tactile diagrams and tackle maths problems. She has now learnt to read Braille music and enjoys playing the flute. Working with Emma is always rewarding, she is a capable student and very open to learning.”

Rose is optimistic for the future.

“With all the support we get, Emma has a great chance of doing whatever she wants to do in life. In terms of the future, all I want is for Emma to achieve her full potential and be happy in what she does," said Rose. "And as Emma would say, 'Life is a train. You have two options: stay on or jump off. Jump off and you will make your own way in life and go against the norms of everyone else – be yourself and go for it'."

RIDBC Teleschool provided services to 226 children living in regional and remote areas across Australia in 2016.

RIDBC is a charity and Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and cochlear implant services for people with hearing or vision loss, supporting thousands of adults, children and their families, each year.

RIDBC services are conducted from eighteen permanent sites and in rural and regional areas across Australia through RIDBC Teleschool and telepractice.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in people’s lives.