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Orthoptist (Transcript)

My role is as an Orthoptist and I measure the visual function of our children. Vision impairment is a spectrum and there are lots of elements of visual function, (Voice-over: Vivienne, Orthoptist) that need to be considered to understand the overall picture. Then that information is important to provide to the family and to therapists that may be involved or the teachers as well so that they may get a bit more of an understanding of how that child is performing a certain tasks and how to develop strategies that meet their needs in that regard.

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

I suppose the biggest thing is to remember how individual each child is that we see some children with many different diagnoses, but yes each child is extremely individual and not to second-guess to be very careful about living there the child to give you accurate information. Young children can compensate quite well and I see my role is really being able to get some information as to where the limits of vision may be.

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

Patience and just enjoying the work and working with children to communicate that information in whatever way works best for them so really just stepping back and adapting the strategies to their communication needs particularly.

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

Certainly from my point of view, inclusion means making the curriculum accessible that that the child isn’t disadvantaged by their vision impairment with, with modern technology and all the different aids we have available to us now we want to make sure that the children can access all the information they need, so that they can develop at the same rate as their sighted peers and reach their full potential that’s what’s important.

Do people have misunderstandings about what visual function means?

People often think that visual function is about what you read on an eye chart when in fact there are so many different levels, so some of the things that we consider are depth of perception, colour vision, the way a child uses their eyes from a movement point of view, the field of vision. Yes, there’s quite a lot more to it than people appreciate. And, and the parents often don’t always understand these things until it’s brought to their attention and that can be really helpful.

VisAbility. Website: www.visability.com.au

Phone: 1800 VISION