On May 29, 2008
Led by the team from the Students with Vision Loss Initiative, the Southern Alberta Travelling Low Vision Clinic for Children was held in Lethbridge on March 3 and 4. This clinic was made possible through a collaborative partnership between Alberta Education, Alberta Health Services, funding and support from the Alberta Children’s Hosp ital Foundation and the Southern Alberta Child and Youth Health Network. The clinic was an excellent example of how effective “wraparound approach” can be for children and families. Using an interdisciplinary approach professionals from health, education and the community worked together to provide a comprehensive low vision assessment, treatment plan and intervention in the child’s own community.
The team consisted of a paediatric ophthalmologist and optometrist who provided an eye health exam. Trained teachers of the visually impaired assessed these students’ use of assistive technology and optical aides that would improve their access to curriculum content and their community environment. A lending library funded by the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation provided the optical aides, so students could leave the clinic with the tools that they require. The assistive technology is available for loan through the Learning Resources Centre of Alberta Education. Families expressed how much they appreciated having all these professionals that are instrumental to the success and health of their child working closely together. One mother said “Having everyone work together like this and take the time to answer my questions and help him to learn to use these tools, has really helped me understand more about his vision loss and how to help him”.
The next clinic is scheduled to occur in Medicine Hat in late spring and there is hope that it will be offered in other areas of the province. For more information on the Children’s Travelling Low Vision Clinic please contact Pam Rannelli, Provincial Coordinator, Students with Vision Loss Initiative: Pam.Rannelli@gov.ab.ca