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The 'Saint Barnabas' School for the Blind
EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAMME
As is the case with any other child, it is generally agreed that the early years in the life of a child with a visual impairment (VI) are the most crucial in his/her development. Therefore, the sooner an appropriate and consistent intervention programme is put into effect, the higher the chances of success that the child has in her/his future development.
For many years now, the School for the Blind has run, on a voluntary basis, an early intervention programme, as it is our belief that this is an essential prerequisite for the successful application of a future educational programme for individuals with VI or VI and additional disabilities.
The role that the family plays in the application of such a programme is very important. This is the main principal why the School for the Blind has adopted a family-based programme to provide its services. By doing so, the family is not only viewed as the recipient of services but also as an active member in the planning and the application of the intervention programme.
During the first contact with the family, there is a mutual exchange of information. The family provides information regarding the family background and the child’s case, while the members of the team inform the family of the various services and means available with which they can face the possible consequences of the child’s visual impairment. The family then usually participates in the home-visiting programme.
This service focuses on children aged 0-7 and consists of weekly visits to a child’s home. A social worker, a teacher and psychologists from the School usually take part.
During the visits, the team meets with the child and one or both parents or sometimes even other family members, like grandparents and siblings.
The main activities of the visits include:
The main concern of the programme is to work towards the better care and development of the child. Therefore, the programme is characterised by a fruitful cooperation among all people involved as well as the respect towards each child’s family environment.