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Assisting Blind Child

Definition

There are 4 levels of visual functions categorised by World Health Organisation (WHO) which are:

  1. Normal visual function
  2. Moderate visual impairment        (Low Vision/Visual Impaired Group)
  3. Severe visual impairment              (Low Vision/Visual Impaired Group)
  4. Blindness                                         (Visual Impaired Group)

WHO define people with the best corrected vision 3/60 or less, or a normal visual acuity with 10 degree of field in the better eye as legally blind. For those with best corrected vision 6/18 to 3/60 or field of 20 degree in the better eye are defined as low vision groups. This definition is also applied to children. Visual impairment can happen to anyone including young children. To assist this group of children, we should not wait until they become totally blind.

Details in statistic for global population and the causes for the visual impairment can be assess via web page Vision 2020: The Right To Sight. In Malaysia, the report for population of visual impairment details can be assessed through the National Eye Survey 1996.

There are several groups to assist visually impaired children in Malaysia. The groups below support and provide assistance in order for the children to become independent.

  • Optometrist and Ophthalmologist in eye clinic, government hospitals or private hospitals
  • Malaysia Association for the Blind (MAB) or any other blind society
  • Occupational Therapy (OT)
  • Special School for the Blind/ Integration school
  • Social Welfare Department

Optometrist/ Ophthalmologist

Those declared as low vision or legally blind were examined by Optometrist and Ophthalmologist. Optometrist will decide the best low vision aid (optical or non-optical) based on the child’s needs, either for near, distant or both. Optometrist will then teach them how to properly use these aids.

Special Schools for the Blind

In Malaysia, Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development provide 2 types of school for special child, which are Special School for the Blind and Integrated School with visually impaired students. There are 6 primary schools, 1 secondary school and 1 vocational school for blind children. Most of these children are using braille in their classes.

Whereas, in Integrated School, the children with moderate visual impairment will have separate classes from normal pupils. There are 11 primary schools and 13 secondary schools listed by the Ministry of Education. For more information about these schools, please refer to this website

Malaysia Association for the Blind (MAB)

MAB is a NGO that provides many programmes for blind/low vision child. Some of the programmes are careers, education/braille, sports and community programme to parents.

Occupational Therapist (OT)

Occupational Therapist is a person certified to provide exercises for the visually impaired children. Occupational Therapist is based in hospitals and runs orientation and mobility (ONM) programme which is similar to MAB ONM program.

This ONM programme helps the blind children to get familiar with their surrounding (house, school etc) by using white cane and clues around them. All of the new cases of blind children will be referred to OT or MAB for ONM programme.

Social Welfare Department

Social Welfare Department will register these children as People with Disabilities (PWD) and provide them PWD card. These children will have privileges for financial and educational support. Other benefits such as discount on public transport, hospital fees and income tax deduction are also applicable to them.

Conclusion

In assisting blind children, collaboration and support from the government agencies and private entities are important. This allows the children to learn, to explore and to provide them with opportunities to develop and to live like a normal child in this world.

Reference

  1. Visual impairment and blindness. World Health Organization. Retrieved 23 March 2015. www.who.org
  2. “Visual impairment and blindness Fact Sheet N°282”. August 2014. Retrieved 23 March2015.   http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/
  3. Blindness and Visual Impairment: Global Facts. . Retrieved 23 March 2015 www.iapd.org/vision-2020
  4. Mengenai Banci Mata Kebangsaan II. Retrieved 23 March 2015 www.crc.gov.my
  5. Senarai Kemudahan Dan Keistimewaan Bagi Orang Kurang Upaya. Retrieved on 23 March 2015. www.jkm.gov.my
  6. Maklumat bahagian/ Agensi. Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia. Retrieved 23 March 2015 http://www.moe.gov.my/v/BPKhas
  7. Portal MyHealth Kementerian Kesihatan Malysia. www.myhealth.gov.my
  8. Pertubuhan Kesihatan Sedunia (WHO). http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/
  9. Perbezaan Antara Buta Dan Penglihatan Terhad. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/index.php/en/general/optometri/perbezaan-antara-buta-dan-penglihatan-terhad
  10. Vision 2020: The Right To Sight. http://www.iapb.org/vision-2020/global-facts
  11. Bancian Penglihatan/Mata Kebangsaan 1996. http://www.crc.gov.my/nes2/aboutus_bm.php
  12. Harapan Untuk Melihat Bagi Penglihatan Terhad http://www.myhealth.gov.my/index.php/en/general/optometri/harapan-untuk-melihat-bagi-penglihatan-terhad
  13. Persatuan Orang-Orang Buta Malaysia. www.mab.org.my
  14. Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat http://www.jkm.gov.my/images/stories/pdf/kemudahanOKU26112012-Isnin.pdf

 

Last Reviewed : 22 Mac 2016
Writer : Pn. Azlina Binti Abdullah
Translator : Pn. Azlina Binti Abdullah
Accreditor : Pn. Nor Aini Binti Hanafi
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