Taronga Zoo comes alive at RIDBC

ABS student Maya meets Australia’s largest stick insect

Children with vision or hearing loss at Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) recently received a special visit from Taronga Zoo Mobile.

The students from RIDBC Alice Betteridge School and RIDBC VisionEd Preschool enjoyed a unique sensory experience when the zoo came to life in their classroom. There were a variety of Australian animals - including Spot the snake, possums, turtles, echidnas and Australia’s largest stick insect.

“Sensory experiences such as this create an important learning environment for all our children” says Jessteene Clifford, RIDBC Alice Betteridge School Curriculum Co-ordinator.

"For those children with vision loss, being able to interact with animals and gain an understanding of their size, texture and appearance – to essentially 'see' with their hands - is an important educational opportunity.”

The event was made possible thanks to the generosity of RIDBC major donor, Janis from Mosman, Sydney, who described sharing the experience with the children as “very inspiring and emotional.”

Janis continues to be a great supporter of RIDBC. With her help in 2014, RIDBC was able to provide necessary educational and advanced technology to support children in the classroom.

"We're so appreciative of Janis supporting our students with this experience. RIDBC relies heavily on support from the community to continue to make a difference in the lives of children with a sensory impairment," said Jessteene.

To show their appreciation, the children presented Janis with flowers and gifts.

RIDBC Alice Betteridge School caters for school-aged students with significant vision or hearing loss, as well as a level of intellectual impairment.

RIDBC VisionEd Preschool is a reverse integration preschool which is purpose built to cater for the needs of a child with vision loss. Children from the community also attend, effectively creating a regular mainstream preschool environment with a highly specialised program for children with vision loss.

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

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.

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