student at low vision clinicOn November 22nd and 23rd, the SET-BC Provincial Centre was honoured, once again, to host the Children’s Low Vision Project of B.C.  For 13 years, this group of dedicated professionals has been travelling around the Province providing opportunities for children aged 4 – 18 (pre-K to Grade 12), their families and their Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments to have access to specialists and services that help support these children in their educational settings.

At the clinic this year, there were 6 stations, facilitated by 6 specialists through which each child rotated.  They were welcomed at the door where they were checked in, photographed, given a passport and reassured about how the day will progress.  The children and their teams were able to take part in thorough visits with an optometrist, an education specialist, an orientation and mobility specialist, an assistive technology specialist, a snack and relaxation centre hosted by the Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI), and finally a visit with an ophthalmologist.

All children who attend these clinics (there are 6 clinics every year, spread throughout the province at various locations) are identified by their district TSVIs as those who will need tools and low vision devices/technology to help them access the curriculum.  As they rotate through each station for assessment, depending on need, they are able to acquire a “bag of goodies” filled with tools specifically designed to meet their learning needs.  Examples of tools include slant boards, specialized writing tools, large-tip dry erase markers for their teachers to use back at school, monoculars, etc.  After each station, the children are encouraged to choose a sticker (a set of ‘googly’ eyes) to apply to their passport, which they then get to take home at the end of the day to share with their peers and classroom teacher.

Student at low vision clinicThe setting for each clinic is very relaxed benefitting the child, their parents and the specialists assessing the children.  The clinics allows for in-depth conversations with professionals that often cannot be duplicated in a doctor’s office.  The informality creates a comfort level that is high, so the sharing of information is often more in-depth than a specialist’s office setting may provide.  And for parents, the relief of being able to see all these specialists in one visit is tremendous.

The TSVIs who refer the students to each clinic also attend the visits.  For them, the opportunity to attend ensures all relevant questions pertaining to their student’s education are addressed and fully discussed, allowing both parent and teacher to receive the necessary information at the same time.

Over the two days at the SET-BC Provincial Centre, 19 students of varying ages were supported.  One 4-year-old, pre-Kindergarten child moved through the stations getting prepared for her journey into school next September.  Her pre-school teacher was in attendance as well as the Vision Teacher who will be supporting her next year.  Her parents’ worries of how she will cope with school were eased as they viewed all the different technologies available and heard from the specialists about all the supports that will be in place for their daughter when she starts Kindergarten next year.

While that student is just starting her educational journey, a student in Grade 12 who will be moving on to SFU in September also attended.  When he first arrived at the clinic, he felt he didn’t need any further tools to support him in post-secondary, yet he quickly accumulated special hand-held lights and writing utensils that were new technology to him since his last visit.  He left with a big grin on his face!

Student uses tablet at low vision clinicThe Children’s Low Vision Clinic is a tremendous resource for families and the educational teams who support students with visual impairments.  SET-BC was delighted to provide the physical space at our Provincial Centre for such an inclusive, professional, and supportive endeavour.

To learn more about the technology used in this SETevent, search for it by name in learningSET.