We understand that in order for the VIPs to be proactive and productive members of society, we must work on providing special training for their surrounding communities. We have classified three main target groups for our training programs: parents, school teachers, and health professionals. We provide specific know-how skills for each target group. These training programs are essential as there is a lack of knowledge on the needs of VIPs and how different their disability is from other disabilities.
Accredited Post-Graduate Visual Impairment program
One of the main problems we have in Egypt is the lack of education programs that train people to become specialists in the field of visual impairment. Some programs in Egypt deal with all disabilities rather than specializing in visual impairment. We aim to establish an accredited post-graduate program in visual impairment, which provides the proper knowledge and training to work with Visual impairment.
Students in this program should:
- Learn how to assess and evaluate learners with visual impairment and decide their learning capabilities and needs.
- Be trained on how to teach orientation & mobility, communication skills, social skills, and self-help to people with visual impairment.
- Know all different types of technologies used by people with VI.
Furthermore, In Egypt, no health professionals specialize in low vision and can assess and characterize the needs of people with low vision. Internationally, once a person has been diagnosed with low vision by a primary eye care provider, they should be referred to a clinical low vision evaluation. This is a part of the overall multidisciplinary rehabilitation services to review what optical, and non-optical devices would be beneficial. The role of the clinical low vision specialist is to maximize a person’s functional vision capabilities.
In-Classes, Courses will be established with collaboration between Baseera, International Universities, and at least three universities in Egypt. The curriculum will be provided by an international university, taught at Egyptian universities, and the practical training will be conducted at Baseera. The accreditation should be provided by both the International and Egyptian Universities.
- Health professionals in this program should be trained in conducting a personalized assessment of the living and social skills of the VIPs and deciding their needs and capabilities.
- Learn the Medical, Educational, and Rehabilitative implications of visual impairment.
- Learn about the psychological needs of the VIPs (while specialized psychiatrists work in providing this type of support, educators must be able to determine when professional assistance is needed). Our initial idea for implementing this program is through Online Courses. This will be provided through online interactive courses and lectures from an accredited international university which will provide the accreditation, and the practical training will be conducted at Baseera.
Our goal is to reassure parents who are blessed with a child with visual impairment. We do this by introducing them to a support group that helps them address their child’s needs, utilize their child’s abilities, and help them reach their greatest potential to be socially and emotionally stable.
Parents are often either too protective of their visually impaired child or they don’t realize their child’s capabilities. Both ways are harmful for their child’s development and independence. Due to the high level of ignorance in Egypt regarding disabilities, parents avoid telling their children about their disabilities. We work on changing this mentality through a comprehensive approach that:
- Provides basic knowledge on what to do when you find out your child has a visual impairment (the medical, social, and educational support you should seek out).
- Builds a network of parents of children with visual impairment to support one another.
- Provides knowledge on the abilities of VIPs and success stories that help the parents clearly envision their children’s various opportunities.
- Highlights the significant bad habits parents should avoid, mainly over helping their children in their daily activities and treating them as incapable.
- Trains parents on how to assist in their child’s early development, ideally once they discover their child is VI. The caregiver is a direct partner in the early intervention stage when the child learns orientation & mobility skills, self-help, and social skills.
- Trains parents on how to provide psychological support to their VI child, when to tell them about their disability, and comfort them when needed.
- Provides essential medical knowledge on VIPs, how to address them, and when/how to seek help.
- Trains parents on how to assist their children’s education process through modified methods using other senses.
- Trains parents on how to demand their children’s rights and how to negotiate themselves for these rights instead of depending on us (often this is needed, especially with schools, healthcare, and transportation, among other services).
To achieve our goal of inclusive education, teachers are one of our main target groups. While inclusive education today is required by law, we realize that often school teachers resist welcoming VIPs into their classrooms. This is due to their lack of knowledge on assisting these children rather than being discriminatory against them. Thus, we have created a special program for teachers which focuses on:
- Learning abilities of the VI children. It is important to stress that VI children are capable of learning but need different learning methods.
- Engaging a VI child in the classroom, for example, through utilizing their sense of hearing, touch, and smell.
- Modifying teaching tools and methods.
- Keeping the children with VI aware of what is happening in the classroom.
- Teaching the importance of not giving them more attention than their peers, as it hinders their sense of independence.
- Creating a welcoming environment for a child with VI among his peers.
- Problem-solving, what to do in case other children tease/bully the child with VI.
- Teaching the importance of not isolating them but supporting them in making friends.
One of the main problems we face in Egypt is that prime healthcare does not include eye examinations. A large percentage of a child’s sight could be saved if tested at an early stage and surgical intervention is conducted.
Among our target groups in our training programs are public health units, school health units, and public health insurance offices. The training covers:
- The importance of conducting eye examinations and how to conduct them.
- Performing a proper assessment of a child’s vision and reporting it.
- Providing them with manuals to assist people with low vision in seeking the correct type of support.
- What to tell a person who is identified as low vision or blind.
- Providing comfort to a low-vision or blind child and their parents.