Skip to main content

Supporting people with vision loss

RIDBC supports children who are blind or have low vision.
A collage of clients supported by NextSense
  • Vision

From a specialist preschool and school; supporting children in their mainstream schools; offering critical early intervention therapy; conducting vision assessments; providing support with assistive technology; delivering remote services via telepractice; and providing complementary allied health services, RIDBC is here to help.

Where it all started

In 1869, nine years after RIDBC was established, the first children who were blind enrolled to receive specialist services. Ever since RIDBC has supported children who are blind or have low vision.

Making history

The name Alice Betteridge carries an incredible legacy at RIDBC. Here’s why.

At 4-years-old she was deemed too young and refused enrolment at the school – what is now known as RIDBC. But, she returned years later as a 7-year-old with her parents. This time she was accepted. The year was 1908 and Alice would become the first girl, who was deafblind, to be educated in Australia.

Influential in her education was her teacher Roberta Reid, who has an RIDBC preschool named in her honour. She taught Alice to fingerspell, achieved through associating objects to the words she was spelling. It ultimately proved successful.

Twelve years later Alice graduated from RIDBC, only to return later to serve as a school teacher for just shy of a decade, teaching students with vision loss.

Another momentous occasion in the life of Alice Betteridge, and RIDBC, came when world renowned American writer and activist, Helen Keller, who was deafblind, visited Australia in 1948. The two would meet in a well-known exchange, captured on film. Watch the story of Helen Keller visiting Australia and meeting Alice Betteridge on YouTube.

The influence of Alice Betteridge at RIDBC continues. In 1990 the school Alice attended, as a student and teacher, was renamed in her honour.

Today, the RIDBC Alice Betteridge School at North Rocks educates 21 students who are deafblind or have vision loss, as well as a level of intellectual impairment.

Our clients – Sora

“We’ll say something in Japanese, and she’ll respond in English. We’re so amazed by Sora!” said proud dad, Eric.

Supporting Benj from his first day at school to his last

Our clients – Benj

Benj has started his HSC and thanks to RIDBC’s school support, he’s ready!

Read Benji’s full story.

The biggest ever Braille Camp

For the children of RIDBC Remote Services, therapy is provided remotely via telepractice. In a normal year this included attending a much-anticipated annual event – a Hyundai Residential Camp. In 2018, Braille Camp was the biggest to date.

The future of vision services at RIDBC

Today, the expert team at RIDBC delivers services designed to meet the individual needs of children who are blind or have low vision. Services include everything from addressing concerns about your child’s vision development to assisting your child to build literacy, mobility, and independence in self-care.

At RIDBC, you’re supported every step of the way. And we will continue to support people who are blind or have low vision by uniting under one brand. For now, access more information about vision services at RIDBC..

This news article was created prior to 22 March 2021 when NextSense was Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC).

Also in this section

Learn more about NextSense

Back to News and stories