Ensuring that the welfare of visually impaired persons is taken care of, in every way possible, has been the one of the primary goals of The National Association for the Blind, Karnataka since its inception in 1977. In our quest to make certain that timely aid and assistance is provided to the visually impaired in rural parts of the state and otherwise, we constantly strive to increase our areas of functioning. By collaborating and joining hands with other organizations sharing similar interests, we believe a wider impact is made. One such organization is The Association of People with Disability (APD), India that works for the upliftment of disabled persons.
NAB-K conducted a training session called ‘Pedagogy for Children with Visual Impairment’ for the staff of APD on 16th October, 2023 for a more complete and in-depth understanding of the world of visually impaired (VI) persons. The session began at 10am at the main office of NAB-K, Jeevan Bhima Nagar and saw the participation of over 45 attendees. Throughout the day, various segments of the rehabilitation process of VI persons were described by our staff. This included the initial process of identifying VI persons in various taluks, assessing their needs and requirements, providing help through Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) and enrolling them at our campus for our training programs. Mr. Mallikarjun, Director of APD and Mr. Nagraj V (member of APD staff) conducted a session on the various kinds of eye diseases that may afflict people and the importance of visual health, with inputs from Ms. Shobha, one of NAB-K’s seniormost trainers and other NAB-K trainers.
Basic techniques and strategies that are taught during NAB-K’s mobility training program like usage of canes, upper and lower hand techniques, basic conversation skills and also Braille, Taylor-framing, abacus, touch and feel, playing games like Ludo, etc., were also discussed. Ms. Pramila, an NAB-K mobility trainer, conducted a sensitization program during which the attendees of the session were blindfolded and given an opportunity to experience the aforementioned techniques and strategies as a visually impaired person would. She expressed, “The blindfold allows us to imagine and experience the world of the blind and how they go through their daily tasks, which is like second nature to us. It is imperative for us to empathize thus, if we are to make the world more accessible to the visually impaired.”
Our staff also provided insights about screen reader software such as NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) and JAWS (Job Access With Speech) and accessibility devices like UReader, Our Vision, Mobile Apps etc., that make technology and physical documents more accessible to the visually impaired. Ms. Mitra, who conducted the session on VI-friendly devices and software remarked thus, “Screen readers and accessibility devices are very useful to the visually impaired as it allows them to be updated with the digital world. Scanning and capturing the documents, identifying currency notes, reading the newspaper, etc., all become viable for VI persons.”
Discussions during and after the day-long session which ended at 5pm, gave way to invaluable inputs from the staff of NAB and APD that helped both our organizations gauge a deeper understanding of each other’s work and our rehabilitation techniques. Mr. Mallikarjun, Director of APD remarked, “The session had a strong impact on our understanding of the VI-world and the facilities and opportunities available to the visually impaired.” NAB-K is delighted to have aided APD in learning to counsel and adapt to the world of VI and extend their own rehabilitation services to visually impaired persons as well.