Now 18 years of age, when Tim enrolled on RIDBC Teleschool in 2010 he never suspected that he would meet his role model and become an inspiration to children living with vision loss and their families.
From Cootamundra in NSW, Tim lost most of his usable sight when he was nine and a half.
“When we discovered RIDBC we immediately enrolled Tim with RIDBC Teleschool, which has been a fantastic support to our family and to Tim’s school,” said Tim’s mother, Kristin.
RIDBC Teleschool works with children and families living in regional or remote areas of Australia using high quality videoconferencing technology into the home or local facility. As part of the program, families are invited to participate in residential braille weeks at RIDBC in Sydney.
For children who are blind, braille means literacy and numeracy, but without expert assistance it’s not easy to learn. The weeks aim to immerse young children in a braille rich environment, exposing them to a range of assistive technologies and fast tracking their progress.
Tim first participated in Braille Week in 2011, when he spoke to attendees from his school via Skype. “I spoke about how I’d built a games table in my woodwork class, which I was proud of.”
Tim received an incredible amount of positive feedback about his speech.
“The families were so impressed – they found Tim such an inspiration. I think Tim was really surprised at being held in such high regard by others with vision loss, and their parents,” said Tricia d’Apice, RIDBC Teleschool Consultant.
Now, Tim and his family decided attend attend braille week in Sydney, where Tim is a mentor to the younger children, teaching them how to play blind cricket and to read stories in braille. He was also given the opportunity to meet Dawson Ko at one of these weeks.
“Dawson is an inspiration to me. He lost his vision but went on to university and to become a black belt in karate. It was great to meet him and to tell him how much I look up to him,” said Tim.
For the children and families who attend RIDBC Teleschool’s braille weeks, it is also a rare chance to socialise with other families who have similar experiences to them.