“It was a confronting couple of days” says Clive’s mum Emma…
“We just didn’t realise the impact of his vision loss. Or the help he needs.”
Clive’s lucky to be here, really. He was born with a life-threatening heart condition.
Shortly after his birth he needed heart surgery. He suffered severe oxygen deprivation. His otherwise healthy optic nerves were damaged. Permanently.
Today, Clive is nearly four years old. And with no vision in his right eye and very low vision in his left, he is legally blind.
Clive’s mum, Emma, recalls being given the news of her son’s vision loss and admits she had no idea of the type of specialist support Clive would need.
Clive needs our help
Thank goodness Clive was referred to us at Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. We assessed his vision and immediately began providing the support he will need for the future.
We invited Clive and his family to one of our residential programs to help them get a glimpse of Clive’s future.
“It was a confronting couple of days” says Emma. “Here we were, thinking Clive would be alright. He seems fine. We just didn’t realise the impact of his vision loss. Or the help he needs.”
“But after meeting other families, we better understood the challenges he will face.”
“It hit me that we’d been kidding ourselves. We need to get him ready for school right now. He needs to be more than ready by the time he starts.”
Essential support for Clive
Because of the wonderful financial support from our friends like you, RIDBC began teaching Clive the skills that will be vital for his future.
Clive’s RIDBC teacher, Kylie, agrees that Clive requires intensive support to prepare him for school.
“We’re working with Clive to develop his learning and compensatory skills,” says Kylie. “Clive is learning braille and how to use vision aids like slope boards and magnifiers. Being able to access both braille and print will ensure Clive has the same learning opportunities as his sighted peers.”
“We’re also working on his fine motor skills through manipulative and construction play. These are the skills that will help him be self-sufficient,” explains Kylie.
His teacher says he is very clever and he is building the foundation for a bright future.
Next step: school
Getting Clive ready for school is our focus with him right now.
We don’t want him to fall behind in his literacy and lose interest in school. That would be a disaster. All the potential he has, will be lost if he can’t keep up at school.
Children with vision loss need all the support they can get at this formative stage of life. Braille skills, cognitive and fine motor skill development – as well as social awareness, personal orientation and mobility.