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The 'Saint Barnabas' School for the Blind
Nicosia, Cyprus
 
 Social Services

The Association for the Welfare of the Blind launched the Social Services Programme in 1983, offering services to blind people -minors and adults- and their families.

The intervention of the social worker starts in the first months of the child's life, or from the moment the difficulties in vision are diagnosed, with the aim of informing the person with visual impairment and his/her family about the condition, and supporting them throughout.

The social worker continues to intervene professionally even in the adult life of the blind person. At the same time, all the necessary specialised assistance and support is provided to persons who acquire visual impairment after birth as well as to their families. The person's age and the circumstances under which the visual impairment occurred modify each case to the point where they need entirely different and individual handling.

 The person and the family are given information about:

  • The impairment, its development and its genetic aspect
  • Difficulties resulting from the visual impairment
  • Technical and other means necessary for the education and support of the person with visual impairment
  • Programmes of education and reeducation offered by the School for the Blind, both to minors and adults
  • Programmes run by the Pancyprian Organization of the Blind
  • Rehabilitation programmes
  • The benefits afforded to blind persons arising from Laws, Regulations, Administrative Decisions and any other facilities they are entitled to. In addition, assistance and support is offered so that they can make use of these rights and benefits.

Social workers always work in cooperation with the personnel of both the School for the Blind and the Pancyprian Organization of the Blind in order to help:

  1. The individuals themselves, taking into consideration the following:
    • The level of development of the individual when the visual impairment was diagnosed,
    • The personality of the individual,
    • The person's age at the time our intervention was requested -infancy, school age or adulthood,
    • The assistance the individual is given assistance through self-help groups
  2. The family
    Having an individual with visual impairment means a new and complicated role for the family. In order to fulfil this extraordinary duty, the person and the family need to be given a medical diagnosis that they can easily understand, reassurance with regard to the feelings of guilt, uncertainty and fear, a vague idea of what the future has in store for the person with visual impairment, who is also their child and, above all, considerable hope and encouragement in order to help them accept the challenge ahead.
  3. We cooperate with the social environment
    • The school unit, in the case of minors, through teachers, therapists and classmates
    • The work environment, in the case of adults. We cooperate with employers for the conversion of the work environment as well as the provision of modern technical means so that the individuals can be employed or continue in employment.
  4. We cooperate with the medical and therapeutic services
    The cooperation with the diagnostic and therapeutic services is actively pursued. These services must be multi-faceted, and include:
    • Ophthalmological clinics,
    • Opticians and optometrists,
    • The Institute of Genetics for the diagnosis of, and information about, the medical condition and prevention through genetic guidance,
    • The Neurological Clinic for children,
    • Psychiatric clinics for children for the psychiatric and psychological support of the individual and the family,
    • Specialised therapeutic services according to the problem and/or the coexistence of other impairments.
  5. Finally, we cooperate with the other bodies offering services to the persons with visual impairment, such as:
    • The Department of Social Services
    • The Service for the Care of the Disabled
    • The Ministry of Finance
    • Voluntary Organisations of Social Welfare
    • Other State Services according to the needs that arise

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