RIDBC celebrates Orthoptic Awareness Week

Cathie Wiltshire, one of seven orthoptists at RIDBC, is a specialist, part of the RIDBC Teleschool vision impairment team

As part of Orthoptic Awareness Week, 29 February – 4 March , Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) is celebrating the role of orthoptists in improving life outcomes for people with vision impairment .

Orthoptic Awareness Week aims to heighten the awareness and understanding of the important role orthoptists play in helping people maximise their residual vision and in preparing for the future when their vision may change.

"RIDBC's specialised and highly skilled team of orthoptists play an integral role in ensuring the best possible outcomes for children and adults with vision impairment through their specialised assessments and clinical expertise, client engagement and support.

"At RIDBC, orthoptists conduct specialised vision assessments for children and adults, providing advice on how to optimise visual function. Our orthoptists also work closely with families and professionals to help them understand the impact various vision conditions have on visual functioning.

"When working with families, RIDBC orthoptists use a range of approaches to support children with vision impairment. They might use sound or texture to encourage young children to explore objects, or adjust the size of print and pictures to enhance a child's ability to see detail and to sustain comfortable viewing while learning.

"For older students, our orthoptists work in mainstream schools to ensure students are best supported in the classroom, such as adjusting the classroom environment for seating and lighting, and using low vision aids and technology to maximise the child’s access to the curriculum and whole school environment."

Cathie Wiltshire, one of seven orthoptists at RIDBC, is a specialist, part of the RIDBC Teleschool vision impairment team, who uses her orthoptic training, clinical knowledge and experience to assist and encourage children to continue to learn and develop, through regular sessions via high definition videoconferencing technology.

“I love working with children and their families and being able to make a difference to their learning. I work with children who have cortical vision impairment, multiple disabilities, children who are Braille readers and some with reduced vision due to physical conditions of the eye.  It is a varied and challenging position, as each child has their own individual program and goals that we are working towards,” said Cathie.

“The smiles are wonderful, and the excitement and sense of achievement is no less via video conferencing, when significant moments happen. Something so very small can have a major impact and those special moments are like magic!”

To find out more about RIDBC's full range of programs and services for children and adults with vision or hearing loss, go to www.ridbc.org.au or call 1300 581 391.