Féach is a Support Group for Parents of Blind and visually impaired Children

Open call for help from our Chairwoman

Hi All,
 
We have recently had a meeting regarding where to go from here - We are looking at the idea of becoming a registered Charity and employing someone on a part-time basis to run Feach.
 
Over the last 10 years the needs of our membership has changed. With the development of the dedicated child services section of NCBI and the increased opportunities provided for our kids through Vision Sports, Campabilities', Blind Tennis, Water sport Inclusion games etc. The skill and social needs of our children are finally being met by support agencies.
 
This leaves Feach with time to concentrate on other key areas affecting our children mainly:
 
  • Support to parents of newly diagnosed children
  • Advocating in the areas of education, sport, employment and equality
 
The current system of relaying on voluntary committee member does not give us the continuity to carryout the above roles effectively. Were we to become a charity and build a profile it would help in our advocating role. The recent changes in how the Department of Education is allocating resources has really affected students in Secondary school. Our powerlessness in this area has highlighted to us the need to increase our profile in order to become effective.
 
Where we to become a charity we would be entitled to apply for funding to employ someone on a part-time basis, this would give us the continuity we need to ensure Feach is fit for purpose and can do what we need it to do.
 
Now in order to do this we need expertise - we need to put a committee together to get this up and running. The existing committee are all on board but we need more people with relevant skills. Can you help?
We are looking for a time commitment of 2-3 hours a month until we are up and running.  A lot of this will involve on-line research and emailing each other as our membership is spread out all over the country. For those of you with young kids I would say one of the best ways to support your kids is to get involved, it helps give you a sense of control and gives them a great role model - the greatest gift to give your kid is the skill to self advocate, if they can let people know what they need, and if they fully understand that they have the right to equality, they will find it much easier to navigate this world as they get older.
 
On a personal note when I was first asked to help out with Feach - I thought what could I do that could be of any help, I was barley keeping my head above water. Yet it has turned out to be one of the most rewarding, eye opening, frustrating, fascinating experiences of my life and one that has opened many doors for me.
 
Its time now to move Feach on to the next stage for the next generation of young Blind/VI kids, your help is needed to do this. Please email me at ettiewalsh@eircom.net and we will start the ball rolling
 
Kind regards,
 
Eithne

Feach 

Watersports Inclusion Games(Galway) and Blind football taster in Dundalk.

Come and enjoy the Watersports Inclusion Games 2018.

This free event takes place on the 25th and 26th of August, in the commercial boat club in Galway city.  This promises to be a great event to celebrate sailing, rowing and canoeing for people of all abilities.

This event is aimed primarily at secondary school going young people along with their families and friends, but is open for all ages over 10 years.  Equipment will be provided and no experience is required.

Booking is necessary so to avoid missing out on this exciting event contact Joanne at wsinclusion@gmail.com.


There is a V.I/blind football come and try session in Dundalk sports centre on Saturday June 2nd from 1-3pm.

This also promises to be a fun event and a great opportunity to play football. It is also a chance to learn about the sport as there will be experienced coaches on site to show new comers all the tricks. 
Why not come along and give it a go?


For more info contact: Alex: 085 850 0193 or Triona: 042 93 24299 

Assistive Technology 3 Day Residential Camp, Limerick

Location: University of Limerick, Dromroe/Cappavilla campus

Dates: 27th - 29th June 2018

Target Group: Teenagers, ages between10-14

Level of vision: Open to all levels of vision loss

Places available: 20

Cost: €10 per person per night to be paid on the day by cash or cheque

*Parents/carers are required to stay with Students overnight. Classes start at 12.00pm to 4.30pm on day one, 9.30am to 4.30pm on day two and 9.30am to 1pm on day three.

 Key Focus: This 3 day (2 nights) camp aims to focus on improving assistive technology skills such as touch typing, iPad accessibility, apps, use of Magnifiers/ Readers, and distance aids. This camp will also have activities that promote and support following skills including:

* Independent Travel

* Social and Communication skills

* Organizational skills

* Peer Support

A family event will take place on one of the evenings offering an opportunity for families to meet informally.

 

For all enquiries and applications please contact: Margaret Bousquet, Programs Coordinator 01 405 6950 margaret.bousquet@ncbi.ie

Sailability

Summer sailing in Dun Laoghaire for children and adults with physical and/or sensory disabilities

DMYC - National Yacht Club - Royal Irish Yacht Club - Royal St George Yacht Club  have again combined to run this programme in Dún Laoghaire during the summer 2018

Junior Programme (for children aged 8-17 with physical and sensorial disabilities)

1.Introductory Day (Come and Try it!)

Sunday 10th June at 10:30am in the Royal Irish Yacht Club     

2.Sunday morning sailing at Royal St George Yacht Club

Commences Sunday 17th June and continues each Sunday until 19th Aug (except Sun 5th Aug). Run in conjunction with DMYC.  €10 per session or €60 total in advance                                            

3.Two week-long sailing courses

National Yacht Club: 11th – 15th June (5 days) €150 in advance

Royal Irish Yacht Club: 7h – 10thAug (4 days)  €150 in advance  

Adult Programme(for people aged 18 and upwards)

Sailing every Sunday at 1:30pm at the Royal St George YC

From: Sunday 6th May until Sunday 24th June €10 per session or €50 in advance

 

No sailing experience is necessary
 
To register interest or for more detail please contact:
Ian French 087 2456834 ianafrench@eircom.net
Ruth Shanahan 0862374801 ruthfin@eircom.com

 

Please note, unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate children & adults with intellectual disabilities on this programme.
 

Making the switch – Moving from Large Print books to Digital

Ideally all visually impaired students should switch from large print books to digital books in primary school. Why?

 

Simply put large print books are too large in senior school. One book can have up to 15/16 volumes. If you multiply that by the number of books on the book list for 1st year alone, a student may have 50-70 books to juggle. Often the won’t even fit in one locker!

 

Luckily for this generation of students technology offers them a solution; the books can be ordered in digital format and viewed on their lap top. This solves the locker problem, the volume problem, the logistic problem and the sore back problem from a massively overloaded school bag.

 

However it is important that this change over from large print books to digital books happen as early as possible, ideally in primary school. This ensures that student can learn the skills necessary to navigate a digital book, use the laptop effectively and become an independent learner, before they have the pressure of adjusting to senior school and all the extra challenges that transition involves. The following is a list of goals that should be incorporated into every visually impaired student’s syllabus in primary school. These goals can be worked on during the student’s Resource hours.*

 

  • Know how to use various computer packages on laptop such as zoom, jaws, Word, PowerPoint.
  • Know how to independently set up and pack away laptop and camera quickly and efficiently.
  • Understand how to read a time table and navigate around a school using a dummy timetable
  • Know how to focus the laptop camera on the board, take a photo of notes and store them and retrieve them when required.
  • Switch from large print books to digital books

 

These skills will equip them for learning in senior school, leaving them free to concentrate on adapting and adjusting to their new environment without having to worry about learning new technology.


Digital books are available from the National Braille Production Centre so talk to your visiting teacher about making the switch in primary school. Some educational publishers such as Folens will make their books available on digital format for visually impaired students. If you would like to apply for these please email us and we will send you out the relevant forms. If you wish to get some books scanned yourself there are some independent companies which will do this for a fee.

 

With technology changing it is important to change with it and to be prepared. In most other European countries visually impaired students would make the switch to digital books and use their laptop from a very early age, in Ireland there is still a huge reliance on large print books which in the long run is counter productive


*All Blind/Visually Impaired students are entitled to 2 hours 40 minutes resource teaching every week. 

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