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Collaborative Childrens Services

Children with a vision loss might have certain conditions that can be improved with effective intervention. For example:

  • sensory processing disorders
  • ideation and motor planning delay
  • affected postural control
  • fine motor skill delay
  • delay in exploratory behaviours

Hammock hanging from ceiling

To address such conditions, a collaborative approach between early intervention services and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has been shown to improve children’s overall confidence, motor development and co-ordination. Guide Dogs NSW/ACT provides orientation and mobility services for young children with vision loss. This includes encouraging children to move around independently, develop concepts about their position in space, and use other senses such as hearing to learn about their surroundings. Recently, a young client receiving services from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT accessed The Sensory Gym, a unique paediatric occupational therapy clinic.

“The nervous system is plastic and changes are possible throughout life, however, early intervention has been empirically proven to net the best outcomes” Lynette Burke, occupational therapist

The Sensory Gym, located in Hobartville, NSW, is guided by principles of sensory processing and developmental frames of reference to improve attachment, spatial organisation, sensory modulation, regulation, postural control, motor planning, and fine motor skills. The Sensory Gym is available to families throughout Australia.

Children with a vision loss who have accessed the gym “have shown significant changes in their abilities to modulate sensation, move confidently in space across environments, and independently perform activities of daily living” stated Lynette Burke.

Case Study

Young Zeke benefits from collaborative services.

zeke and lynette

For the past four years, 10-year old Zeke, who has significant vision loss resulting from left retinal detachment, microphthalmia and coloboma, has been benefiting from a program of services developed by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and The Sensory Gym. Zeke is currently learning to use a long cane, cross roads safely, and develop independent travel skills with Ryan Jones, an Orientation & Mobility Instructor with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. He is also receiving intensive training from the occupational therapy team at The Sensory Gym to improve his sensory processing, motor development, co-ordination & balance.

The Sensory Gym and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT strongly promote early intervention. For more information, please go to www.sensorygym.com.au or visit www.guidedogs.com.au