Rabbitte announces supports for children with visual and hearing impairments

Galway Daily news Children wait 15 months for eye care in Galway

Galway TD and Minister of State for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte has announced details of two new specialist support programmes that will be directly targeted at children with visual and hearing impairments.

The new programmes follow the €700,000 announced by Minister Rabbitte, and they will be rolled out by ChildVision – the National Education Centre for Blind Children – and Chime – the National Charity for Deafness and Hearing Loss.

The ChildVision programme will provide training and support to Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDNTs) nationally, with ChildVision’s clinical team engaging with each of the 91 CDNTs over an eight-month period.

The programme will also provide an extended National Assessment Service to include holistic and specialized intervention along with outreach services.

ChildVision aims to create key ‘visionaries’ within each of the CDNTs, who will be responsible for encouraging and promoting visual information (VI) skills within the CDNT.

The Chime programme will see the development of a Specialist Multi-Disciplinary Team to support children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Specialist supports will take the form of both direct and indirect/universal services.

Confirming the launch of the two new specialist support programmes, the Galway East TD and Minister of State for Disabilities said she looks forward to seeing the positive impacts that the programmes will have.

“The funding that I have secured will ensure that both organisations can have a real impact on the lives of children with disabilities and their families,” said Minister Rabbitte.

“ChildVision’s campus is dedicated to the education, therapeutic intervention and term-time living needs of low vision, blind, children and young people, and I welcome their involvement in this initiative in collaboration with the HSE.

“I also welcome their proposed satellite centre in Oranmore in Galway that is expected to be operational by 2026, and will be of great benefit to children with disabilities throughout the west of Ireland.”

Minister Rabbitte said the involvement of Chime is equally important, given their experience over the last six decades in assisting and supporting individuals with deafness and hearing loss.

“As we implement the Progressing Disability Services plan, I look forward to seeing the impact that Chime will have on children with hearing impairments, and the supports that they will provide for our Children’s Disability Network Teams nationwide.”