Educating young blind children for a better future

 
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Hello I
Hello I'm Narin

Let me introduce you to Rin. Rin came to St. Nicholas Home in 2011 at the age of 2. When she came to us we discovered that she had Low Vision with Bilateral Congenital Nystagmus (involuntary eye movement). Rin is apart of our Early Intervention Programme and thanks to donations like yours we have been able to help her succeed in her early childhood years.

 

Rin has done great in our programs and has succeeded notably since she first came to us. In 2011, Rin was very slow in tactual stimulation, was able to converse her needs but with a lack of understanding in English, and was able to move around with support. Rin was very dependent on her family and we hoped to help her gain independence and be able to do much more on her own in her years to come with us.

 

Since Rin has been with us we have been able to see a whole new girl. With our many programs to increase cognitive, language and social skills she has shown great improvement. Rin has been able to follow instructions given to her and ask questions to improve her knowledge. She has also shown great skill in interacting with others, becoming more independent in social situations and also basic life skills. She can now do much more without the assistance of her mother. She can also ride her bike around with minimum guidance from others.

 

This was all accomplished by your generous donations. Please help us to continue changing Rin’s life and assisting her to be an independent girl. We have many goals for her this year that include learning the Braille Alphabet and boosting her self-confidence. With your help this will be possible.

 

You can already do this by making a donation on the upcoming Bonus Day on Wednesday, May 13th. On that day GlobalGiving is matching every donation!

 

Thank you so much for supporting these children. You are helping us to change lives at an early age and prevent blindness! We appreciate you. 

Learning together with my family
Learning together with my family

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The Early Intervention Programme (EIP) is running already for its 9th year and we are still amazed how many children are still in need of our help! Until now we were able to help 74 children with our Early Intervention Programme.

The EIP team consists of two staff who make at least two visits to each child every month to monitor their progress. We are very happy that from last year onwards one of them is a physiotherapist, which benefits the children a lot, because most of them don’t have the possibility to go to physiotherapy.

As I already mentioned there are still a lot of children who need the help of our EIP programme, but we only have limited resources. Therefore we need Your help! It’s our hope that with Your generous contribution we are able to expand our team and improve our equipment so that more children can benefit from our programme. 

Thank you!

Daniel Soon

Executive Director St. Nicholas' Home, Penang

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Since the day Hadi came into this world, he has not had it easy. He was born with dysmorphism, bilateral congenital microphthalmus, a small hole in the heart and with a left kidney failure. As an only child with both parents working, he is currently being looked after by his grandmother.

Hadi depends a lot on his family in the managing of his life as he still cannot do much due to his disabilities. He depends a lot on his grandmother in carrying out his daily living skills such as during bathing, toileting, eating and dressing.

Since being referred to our Early Intervention Programme, Hadi has shown much improvement. His parents and grandmother has noticed positive changes ever since we started providing training to little Hadi. He has started to learn how to make sounds to indicate his needs to his caretakers. Although he is still shy and interacts better with people who are familiar to him, he is beginning to open up and we are currently trying to focus on activities which involve other children to improve his social skills.

Initially, Hadi needed assistance to move around even in his own home but with constant guidance from our patient teachers, he is now able to walk independently! However, since he began learning to move independently, he moves around too freely and tends to explore on his own. Therefore, the teachers are now training him to listen and follow instructions.

Our plan for little Hadi is to continue training him particularly in the areas of social skills and daily living skills. We would love to see Hadi open up more to new people to enable him to make more friends. We are also focusing on teaching Hadi to communicate his needs more effectively.

We truly believe that with constant support and guidance, Hadi will grow up to be a remarkable boy and will be able to adapt to the society and community around him. We would like to thank each and every one of you for standing by us and for making it possible for us to help children like little Hadi! 

Terrence is a five-year-old boy who was born with Congenital Blindness and lives with his parents in Perak, North west Malaysia. During the day when both parents are at work, he spends time with the grandparents who have abundant love for their only grandson.

Terrence recognizes people by their voices and interacts with surroundings through touch, smell, and sound. He can speak three different Chinese languages and is able to communicate basics in Malay and English. However, from the beginning it was not this easy. Visual impairment comes with its own challenges; it takes ways of learning in which teachers and parents have to give so much of their support and the best reward is, of course, watching him grow to an independent capable child. Terrence’s friendliness catches hearts, he identifies people with the touch of their hands and asks, “Who is this?” if there is someone he is meeting for the first time.  He speaks gently with adults, especially elderly people.

Early Intervention Program is a program in which teachers are sent to the house of children in early ages to help them with their education and also to consult with parents and give them suggestions of how they can assist their children to learn specific skills that will benefit them in the future. In the beginning of this program, when the teachers met Terrence for the first time, they set up particular goals such as walking with the cane independently, holding it in the correct direction, and gaining the courage to go outside the house for outdoor activities and interact with people. He is now able to walk around by himself with minimum assistance and identify objects.  Another objective was to overcome the language barrier. In the beginning he could speak only Chinese and that made it hard to communicate with teachers or others outside the family. Through this programme, Terrence learned Malay and English word by word and now uses them regularly in conversations especially when the teachers ask him to.

Beauty exists where there is love.  It is in the words of the teacher who learned simple Chinese words to communicate with him, and the efforts of the parents who desire to see their son develop day by day. It was a journey, a very unique journey that only Terrence can feel and talk about perfectly. Maybe one day, when he grows to a young man, he can complete this writing knowing how precious he was, how everyone wanted him to be the best he could.

“20 years from now, Terrence might be a successful businessman, like his father, and I believe with his potential, he can do all that he wants.”

This was said by the teacher who travels 6 hours every two weeks to meet Terrence to give him new ways of learnings and record down the detailed improvements. For now the next steps are getting him prepared for school, starting to learn braille and be exposed to another world, a world of children where he gets opportunities to socialize with and experience new types of friendships.  

We are happy and proud of Terrence's good progress and with donations received through Global Giving; we can continue to help Terrence and other children in the programme towards improving their lives for a bigger and brighter future! Therefore, we would like to thank all our contributors form the bottom of our hearts for your support and donations.

Early intervention is a process, whereby babies and young children with visual impairment (both totally blind and low vision children who face considerable risk developmentally, are given help and support in learning skills, thus helping them to develop in the areas of psychomotor, cognitive and social to the most optimum level possible. Early intervention extends support and counseling to parents of children with visual impairments to help them cope with the trauma, emotions and challenges of caring for their children.

The Early Intervention Program is a home-based program whereby our full-time coordinators, makes frequent visits to the homes to give advice, support and help parents with strategies and approaches on how to raise their child with visual impairment. An interdisciplinary approach is adopted whereby the assistance of ophthalmologists, optometrists, social workers and other health care workers from various agencies and ministries are sought in the coordination of early intervention services to the family.

An Individualized Training Plan (IEP) is drawn up to meet the individual needs of every child every 6 months based on assessment profiles and priority goals of the parents.

In one of the visits, our team found out about Mirza. The child was born on 01/01/08 and was detected with “Retinopathy of Prematurity”. In layman’s terms, it is a disease that affects immature vasculature in the eyes of premature babies. It can be mild with no visual defects, or it may become aggressive with new blood vessel formation (neovascularization) and progress to retinal detachment and blindness. He was completely blind and our team took charge of him since 26/02/09.

The little one was the youngest of his five siblings. The parents were not equipped to deal with his incapacity . The task of the EIP was to make the child  improve in basic skills of living . The milestones which are easy for a normal child is a humungous task for the impaired and often the parents are incapable of understanding it.

Since then Mirza has been under the constant supervision and training and is expected to go out of the EIP programme and step up to the next level by end of 2014. Apart from being blind , he is affected with cerebral palsy . He has inability to stand on his own and all his cognitive skills are delayed. Soft diet is what he is able to have.

Continuous effort of the team has enabled him to reach milestones though in delay. He is now able to walk with help. His cognitive skills have improved from 12% to 69% . He is able to chew his food and grasp as well . He makes significant movements and is able to be happy in his surroundings . He recognizes his parents and also makes a sound for calling the mother as “ mamam” .

Mirza has shown great improvement and has graduated now to primary school at the age of 5. He is in the process of learning alphabets as well and is showing skills to lead a more independent life then what he was deemed for. His physiotherapy sessions are now being done by Program Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti (PDK) which is the “Community-Based Rehabilitation" (CBR).

Although Mirza may not be able to lead a perfectly normal life because of his multiple disabilities, yet with early intervention to tackle his disability, we are sure he would have much better compatibility with his surroundings. Most encouraging is the fact that his household is now equipped to deal with him with grace and accept him as a member with special needs.

Mirza would cease to be in EIP this year end and hopefully would graduate to the next level. We hope and pray for his success to cope well. 

We at St Nicholas Home are very proud of Mirza’s good progress and with donations received through Global Giving; we can continue to help Mirza and other children in the programme towards improving their lives for a bigger and brighter future! Therefore, we would like to thank all our contributors for your support and donations.

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Organization

St. Nicholas' Home, Penang

Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
http://snh.org.my

Project Leader

Daniel Aik Bin Soon

Mr
Bagan Jermal, Penang Malaysia

Where is this project located?

Map of Educating young blind children for a better future