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Orientation and Mobility Instructor (Transcript)

As an Orientation and Mobility Instructor, I’m looking at how basically children move in space and how they orientate themselves to the world. [Voice-over:Jodie, Orientation and Mobility instructor] So it’s how they might, not just get from A to B but sort of, basically move around in the whole environment wherever that is, just so that they can become an independent traveler and throughout their life and so it’s not just about moving in itself but moving with confidence and being a fluid traveller

What is important when working with a child with vision impairment?

I think it’s important not only to think of them as where they are, and what they’re doing or what their goals are. But to think of them as what they’re going to be so basically we’re looking at the adult that’s going to be. So everything that we do sort of moves on to their whole, you know their whole life not just where they are now.

What helps you in your work with children, families and schools?

I think it’s really important that we have a good relationship with everyone that’s around the child as well. So not just the child but with the parents, themselves, their family. Even their siblings if they have them and because the child’s not just in isolation. So even within the schools that you’ve got communication going with the teachers, whoever else is working with the child as well.

What does inclusion mean, and what does it look like when it’s working well?

Inclusion is an interesting thing because, I don’t know – There’s obviously I do also work with adults you see them from coming from specialised schools and someone to say that they were included because they were with their peers. And I suppose inclusion now with schools, when it’s working well I think that you wouldn’t necessarily know that there’s a child that has a vision impairment or who’s blind. So they’re not separated, they’re not even within that classroom.

They go off and do their own thing and they’re separated out of their class, but it’s just they’re part of the classroom they’re doing everything else that the other children are doing. The children are in the classroom but they are very much separated. They have an Education Assistant who sometimes, depending on who that one is, is basically with the child all the time and so they don’t interact with their peers.

They have their own separate area for where they go and have their lunch or their playtime because it’s not safe for them to play where, it’s deemed not safe for them to play with the other children and so I think that there are some quite bad examples of that and it’s very hard for the children to have natural friendships occurring because, yeah there’s an adult with them and what child wants to play with an adult around. So they’ll keep away from maybe a child that has an adult attached to them all the time. And

I appreciate what such a balancing act there is within the schools because there’s so much that children do miss out on, in an integrated school so that they do have things like expanded core curriculum and there’s only so much time the day in the school to actually deal with all of those things as well as have a child learning.

VisAbility, Website: www.visability.com.au

Phone: 1800 VISION