Minister announces funding boost for RIDBC’s early learning group for children with vision impairment

Minister Ajaka meets Lachlan, who is blind and learning to use a brailler, and his mum, Janine, at RIDBC's Dot's Place playgroup copyMinister Ajaka meets Lachlan, who is blind and learning to use a brailler, and his mum, Janine, at RIDBC's Dot's Place playgroup copy

Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) welcomed a visit from The Honourable John Ajaka MLC, Minister for Ageing and Minister for Disability Services, on Thursday 26 November.

Minister Ajaka visited RIDBC to meet a family from Dot's Place, an RIDBC early learning group for children with vision loss.

Dot's Place is funded by the Ready Together program, a continuation of the NSW Government’s Stronger Together 2 reforms, which has committed $2 billion to disability services. Ready Together also prepares NSW for the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“We are grateful to Minister Ajaka for his support of this fantastic initiative,” said RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn. “For children with vision loss and their families, early intervention and ongoing access to specialised support services are critical.

“Dot’s Place was launched in response to families looking for a safe and supportive environment to learn how to best support their child with vision loss. With continued funding RIDBC hopes to expand this service offering to even more children with vision loss and their families in future.

“Dot’s Place also provides families the opportunity to connect with others following a similar journey, to share stories, build community supports and gain confidence to connect to mainstream services.”

Dot’s Place is based on a family centred approach where parents and carers determine goals for their children, with RIDBC providing guidance and expert support.

Parents, Cameron and Janine, were delighted at the opportunity to access Dot’s Place playgroup to support their son, Lachlan, who has vision loss.
When Lachlan was only four months old his parents were given the news that he was completely blind. They were referred to RIDBC and were relieved to know just how much support was available to them.

“Lachlan's regular attendance at Dot’s Place playgroup has helped develop the braille skills he needs for literacy,” said Janine. “The sessions also facilitate social interaction in small and large group activities.

“RIDBC gave Lachlan access to a brailler from an early age. Exposure to this specialist equipment has given him the early literacy experiences he needs. RIDBC staff have worked closely with us to support Lachlan to develop his tactile skills, finger strength and dexterity – skills he needs to press the keys on the brailler and discriminate between the dots with his fingers.

"Lachlan’s early intervention program with RIDBC has supported him to develop the concepts, language and physical skills needed to develop his braille reading and writing skills.”

RIDBC is 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.