Liam with his mother, Julie, learning to use an electronic brailler to develop his reading and writing skills
When Liam was just six week of age he was diagnosed with Norrie disease, a condition that causes blindness and in some cases, hearing loss.
When Liam was two and a half years old his parents, Julie and Craig, turned to RIDBC for support.
“Liam is blind and has mild hearing loss in both ears,” said Julie. “He had been having issues with his speech so we turned to RIDBC as they provided the speech therapy that we hadn’t been able to access through other vision loss providers. It was then that we discovered the intensity of services available through RIDBC.
“Liam was enrolled in RIDBC Early Learning Program (Vision Impairment) and it was the best thing we could have done. He also joined RIDBC VisionEd Preschool, a specialist preschool for children with vision loss. I cannot put into words how much he changed – his interaction with the world around him and his motivation to learn just accelerated.”
Now Liam is five years old and is attending ‘big school’ at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School, which caters for children with significant vision or hearing loss, as well as a level of intellectual impairment. “Liam has already told me he is going to be school captain by the end of the year,” said Julie. “When he started with RIDBC he couldn’t talk at all, now he comes home at the end of the day he doesn’t stop talking about school until he goes to bed – it’s amazing!”
The transition from preschool to kindergarten was made easier with RIDBC’s support.
“It’s incredible to be a parent of a child with additional needs and feel no apprehension about your son starting ‘big school’ because of the support you are receiving,” said Julie. “Without RIDBC I would be lost in teaching Liam. RIDBC gives me the guidance to support him in the best way.
“We are using technology to ensure Liam is able to access the curriculum and develop his reading and writing skills using braille. Using specialist technology like an electronic braille machine, or even everyday technology like an iPad, RIDBC is working with Liam to make sure he has the skills he needs to succeed.”