To Grow Big and Strong

Rehabilitation services for Children by the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired.

Children’s Rehab Services support the parents of visually impaired children and all those professionals working with the child in the different phases of life.

Information and peer support from family courses

The rehabilitation activities for children organized by Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired, supplement the rehabilitation services for visually impaired children provided by the central hospitals. Children’s Rehab is a section of the Federation’s Rehab-Iiris.

Children’s Rehab organizes adaptation training courses for under school-aged children from infants to pre-school aged. The courses for school-age children are organized in cooperation with the Jyväskylä School for the Visually Impaired. The parents and siblings of the children are welcome to participate in these courses.

The Children’s Rehab also organizes rehabilitation for children with multiple disabilities in addition to visual impairment and to children and youth suffering from rare conditions, such as NCL (Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis).

Courses for relatives and other family members, such as godparents, are also organized.

On the courses, the families are given information on their child’s vision, on how the child can better learn to use his/her vision, how to support the child’s comprehensive development, and on social security and other services available. The group discussions give the parents an opportunity to share their experiences, and during the free time the families can get to know each other.

An ophthalmologist, an optometrist and a low vision teacher examine the child’s vision and assess if the child would benefit from low vision aids.

Both the parents and the local care workers receive a report which also includes suggestions for the advancement of the child’s overall development.

Rehabilitation courses tailored to individual needs

A child can learn to use even low sight to his/her benefit, when given suitable low vision aids and tuition in using them.

An individual low vision rehabilitation programme takes two years during which time the child is given low vision training exercises to be done with parents and local care workers. The child’s vision is checked regularly during this programme.

If the family for some reason cannot take part in a group course, they can apply for a one-to-one course, which usually lasts three to five days. Around 100 visually impaired children are born in Finland every year. Out of these children, a few are blind and the rest partially sighted with varying level of impairment. In addition, a few children get disabled during childhood. Three out of four visually disabled children have multiple disabilities.

Children’s regional counsellor for children with V.I.

The Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired has a regional counsellor at each central hospital district. In addition to this, a specialist NCL consultant serving the needs of the whole country is located in Helsinki. These regional counsellors support both the families with visually impaired children, the rehabilitation staff of the central hospitals, and other actors. The cooperation continues until the child reaches adulthood.

The Children’s Regional Counsellor gives information on the rights of and services for the visually impaired child and gives guidance obtaining these rights and services. If necessary, the counsellor helps in writing complaints and appeals. In addition, the counsellors give advice to the families and those around the child helping them recognise the child’s special needs, and instruct them in using guidance methods that support the child’s development.

The counsellors organize regional training for professionals and camps and happenings for the families of visually impaired children.

LA-KU guidebook helps support child upbringing

LA-KU, the early intervention programme for the visually impaired child, based on The Oregon Project for Visually Impaired and Blind Preschool Children, is a method for the guidance and assessment of the development of the under school age child. The guidebook contains forms for the mapping of and assessment of the child’s skills, and related teaching tips. The book is intended as a tool for the day care and therapy personnel working with the child, and to parents as a support for parenting.

Contact information

Rehab Services for Children
PL 41
FI-00030 IIRIS
Finland
TEL +358 9 396041
nkl@nkl.fi

Street address:
Marjaniementie 74
00930 Helsinki (Itäkeskus)