Guide Dogs for the Blind provide technology solution for visually impaired children
Reading Time 4 mins
It’s rewarding to see the life changing impact Guide Dogs for the Blind can make to the lives of people with sight loss.
At Gobeyond Partners, we are currently on a mission to achieve our donation target for the year of £30,000 for our chosen charity partner - Guide Dogs for the Blind. By organising and taking part in various initiatives throughout 2021, we have raised £25,884 so far, with about £2,800 forecast for September and October.
Making a difference
It’s been wonderful to learn how Guide Dogs for the Blind offer support to those who need it most and the ways our donation is being used. In particular, through their new iPad initiative ‘Tech for All’, which aims to improve a child’s development through assistive technology. Children aged 3-18 in the UK with a vision impairment can receive an Apple iPad or iPhone free of charge, to use outside of school.
This opportunity provides a lifeline for families who cannot afford the technology and enables children to gain independence and improve learning.
Here, we share Kasmi’s story and the positive difference the initiative has made to her and her family’s life.
Kamsi’s mum, Eremina, was working with Guide Dogs for the Blind Education Support team when she first heard about the Guide Dogs grants scheme for assistive technology.
Kamsi is eight years old and has ocular albinism. She’s really into technology and we have a family laptop, but it’s quite functional. She could only really use it when I was sitting with her and she would have to ask me to do lots of the actions for her.
She really wanted an iPad but I couldn’t afford to get her one. We applied for a grant from Guide Dogs, with a supporting letter from her visual impairment teacher. It was quite an anxious wait to find out if we would qualify and I didn’t want Kamsi to get her hopes up in case we couldn’t get it.
We didn’t realise all the different ways an iPad could help her until we had it. She’s quickly learnt how to use the technology herself. The iPad is really user friendly and she can navigate between screens herself, she’s learnt to use passwords, and can enlarge text and images to a size that works for her.
There are the obvious education benefits, like reading e-books, but it’s mostly about her being able to play and have fun – which is really important for all children. She can use the iPad herself, which gives her independence and she can find out what activities she enjoys doing. She loves playing wordsearch apps, which have the added benefit of developing her reading and quizzing skills.
She now has her own access to the internet (with appropriate controls) and has been researching albinism, and looking up success stories. It was really important to me that she could search for information herself to learn about her condition. We talked about the research she found, and any questions she had we spoke about it together. This improved both our communication and knowledge.
Kamsi also uses FaceTime to keep in touch with her Grandma, Dad and Uncle. We have a cloud sharing service, so we can all keep in touch with text messages. Learning to use these tools on her own is so important for developing her communication skills.
Eremina also has a three-year-old daughter who shares the same condition as Kamsi. She was excited to hear about the new iPad initiative from Guide Dogs, which will mean Nnenna can also have access to an iPad device of her own soon.
“This new initiative from Guide Dogs sounds brilliant. As parents of children with a vision impairment there can be so many hurdles we have to jump through to get the equipment and support they need. To hear that we just need to provide Nnenna’s certificate of visual impairment removes a lot of the stress and anxiety. While she’s only three, having a device of her own to learn skills early in life will be really beneficial.”
Eremina, Kasmi’s mum
It is incredible to hear how technology can contribute to such positive outcomes for children like Kasmi with a vision impairment. ‘Tech for All’ is a truly amazing solution that will benefit many families across the UK.
“We knew that Guide Dogs would be an excellent charity to work with, because of their expertise in providing such amazing dogs to people who need them. It’s been great to learn about how they are now using technology as an alternative way to help children with visual impairments, and to read such a personal story about how our donation can make such a difference to a family”
Judith Coole, Managing Consultant at Gobeyond Partners
We look forward to sharing more of our fundraising adventures with you along the way as we take on more challenges in the next few months to support Guide Dogs for the Blind.
You can find out more about Guide Dogs for the Blind and the ‘Tech for All’ campaign here.