You are here

18 July, 2016

Children with vision loss fly like superheroes

One of the mobility day participants enjoying some fun on a giant green inflatable.

Learning to travel independently during fun day

Proudly wearing capes around their necks, children with vision loss had a chance to fly like their favourite superheros as part of a Guide Dogs NSW/ACT school holiday mobility day thanks to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

A day of adventure for the primary school aged children ended with trampolining at Revolution Sports Park.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Katrina Lim, said the trampolining activity provided a fun end to a day of learning for the children.

“Before the children went trampolining, they were given a variety of ‘superhero missions’ to complete. This required them to catch trains and buses and work on their teamwork and problem-solving skills,” Katrina said.

Katrina said that the purpose of the mobility day was to expose the young participants to public transport, and provide them with skills and strategies to increase confidence when travelling.

“Due to their varying vision impairments, most of these children will not be able to drive a car and will therefore have to rely on public transport. Our aim is to prepare them for independent travel in the future,” she said.

On the day, the children learnt how to use the Opal card, as well as travel Apps like TripView.

Scavenger hunt mission

One of their ‘missions’ was a scavenger hunt in Hamilton which required them to practice money-handling and communications skills. Using an Ipad the children were given clues to find landmarks and purchase items from a corner store, supermarket and florist. They also had to phone the ‘Big Boss’ to receive instructions.

The children visit a florist to purchase some flowers during the scavenger hunt.

“By having a superhero theme, we can make these important lessons more engaging for the children, and the trampolining at the end works as a great incentive. Just like superheroes, they had the opportunity to fly,” Katrina said.

“The day also provided participants with the opportunity to meet other children with vision loss.”

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT mobility days aim to provide children with opportunities to take part in activities that improve physical skills in a fun, friendly and encouraging environment.

Three of the children meet the 'Big Boss' to show her the items they collected on the scavenger hunt.

While training Guide Dogs is an important part of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT work, the most common program is showing people with impaired vision how to safely move through different environments, using a range of mobility aids and electronic devices.

Services for young people

The organisation provides a wide range of free services to assist a child with vision impairment to participate freely in everyday activities at school, at home and in the local community.

Last year, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT assisted 448 children with vision loss and the organisation continues to rely on the support of the community to fund its free services.

Every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with uncorrectable vision loss, including nine who become blind.