Together, we may have been in the thick of COVID restrictions, but that didn’t stop a small group of NextSense clients safely getting together for a much-anticipated event—Braille Camp.
Braille Camp is usually held annually for clients and families of NextSense Connected Services (formerly Remote Services and Teleschool) and builds on the skills and learning developed in the regular, online sessions with NextSense experts.
Supported by Hyundai, NextSense staff facilitated the program which brought children who are blind or have low vision and their families together in Newcastle, north of Sydney, to learn new skills, build confidence and have fun.
Life’s a beach
With a ‘beach’ theme, the children spent time on the sand and in the water, and took part in fun activities, such as:
- Meal preparation. The children were given an opportunity to cut up some of the salad for sandwiches and encouraged to ask for their parents’ orders. The children were proud of what they achieved, and the parents equally proud of their children’s newfound skills. Order up!
- Paddle boarding. All the children were encouraged to give it a go, with one overcoming some initial anxiety to move quickly from the knees to feet—in no time.
- Maths. Yes, that’s right—maths. The children were introduced to using an abacus for maths. And for one young teenager, the abacus combined with working with an older mentor, was enough to dive in and enthusiastically complete maths problems.
And, above all—just hanging out with their new friends. The children played with each other, with their siblings, learnt to socialise and interact with each other, and to describe what they are doing for the benefit of others.
Continuing to achieve the best possible outcomes
Braille Camp is the perfect way for NextSense to continue working with children who are blind or have low vision, and their families, across several focus areas, such as:
- Orientation and mobility skills: the skills needed by a person who is blind or has low vision to safely navigate their environment.
- Braille and tactual perception: building on current skills through braille bingo, abacus exploration, shared braille reading.
- Social integration skills: expressing needs and sharing information regarding their vision.
- Gross motor activities: having fun with balance boards, sand walking (and running), and stand-up (and sometimes fall-over) paddle boarding.
- Parent education: how to navigate important life transition times; access to music through braille music; access to sports (techniques and opportunities); and assistive technology, including access to gaming with a screen reader.
From a parent who attended, ‘This camp was amazing, I would not do anything different. Everyone was fabulous.’
So, what’s next?
For NextSense, it was great to be able to try something outside of the traditional camps, which have been typically hosted at the NextSense centre in North Rocks. We hope to run more camps like this for children with hearing or vision loss, in different locations around Australia.
Events like Braille Camp are made possible for children and families thanks to the financial support of Hyundai. Our thanks to Hyundai for their continued support, and working with us to enhance futures, today.
Find out more about NextSense Connected Services for children with hearing or vision loss.