12 year old Wollstonecraft student, Vincent de Souza, who has vision loss, is preparing to start high school at Newington College in 2016 with support from RIDBC School Support Service (Vision Impairment).
When Vincent was a baby his parents, Sharon and Paul, noticed something was wrong with his eyes.
“At 10 weeks of age we saw an ophthalmologist who noticed that Vincent wasn’t following light,” said Sharon.
Vincent was diagnosed with nystagmus, a fast, repetitive, and involuntary movement of the eyes.
“In grade three Vincent started attending Newington College in Sydney and we began accessing RIDBC for support,” said Sharon.
“Vincent’s RIDBC School Support Teacher, Pranitha, visits him twice a week and is just wonderful. The program is always tailored to Vincent, rather than trying to make Vincent fit into the program.”
As part of RIDBC School Support Service, Vincent receives support from Pranitha, a specialist teacher of vision impairment, as well as a range of other professionals, such as orthoptists, access technology consultants and large print transcribers.
RIDBC is now supporting Vincent to transition to high school with a range of low vision aids.
“Low vision aids mean he can participate fully in class,” said Sharon. “These adjustments give him the access he needs to gain confidence – he doesn’t feel like the odd one out.
“Vincent needs larger print for exams, screen magnification software to enlarge text, and an iPad to read PDF documents. Pranitha has been working with Vincent and the school to prepare him for using an interactive whiteboard next year.”
Vincent is thriving with the right support.
“In terms of the future, I just hope that Vincent achieves to his potential,” said Sharon. “Due to all the support we get he has a great chance of studying, pursuing his music or going for whatever job he wants. He recently took a lead role in the school musical and he is hoping to be part of the school’s flute choir next year. His vision loss doesn’t limit him.”
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.