In January 2019, Vision-Aid and Sankara Nethralaya (SN) launched a resource center at SN’s Shenoy Nagar campus in Chennai. After initial setup and preparations, the resource center started seeing patients in March. In just the month of March, the center has served 43 people with significant visual impairment including some with multiple disabilities.
The beneficiaries of this program are people of all ages. Infant, young children and adults receive counselling, educational guidance, training in orientation and mobility. They are taught independent life skills like usage of assistive software and mobile technologies. Early intervention and vision developmental therapy is also part of the services.
There are many success stories emerging already. Vision-AId is proud to share two such success stories. The patient’s real names are withheld for privacy purposes.
One of the patients, Ms. Y (27 years), who has visual impairment coupled with profound hearing loss visited our center with her father. She was completely dependent on her father to move around and to fulfill her personal needs. She discontinued schooling after 8th grade and had been home bound for many years. She received training at the resource center in orientation & mobility along with self-help skills training through physical prompt, non-verbal gestures in addition to continual counselling. After completing the training she gained enough confidence to lead her life independently. Being a low-income family member, she is now getting trained to make “Floor mats” with the help of her mother. Baby steps like these will help move towards longer term financial independence in other higher-end skills.
Distress and depression has been transformed into hopefulness for the parents of Baby. D who is 8 months old. The parents had no idea about the management of their child’s cortical visual impairment and developmental delay. They were given counselling which helped them understand the child’s condition and the possible improvement with regular vision stimulation and developmental therapy. Detailed demonstration and instructions were provided for the parents to execute the stimulation and therapy. She is now undergoing the suggested therapies along with our periodical monitoring.