Jan 5, 2021

On the World Braille Day, corresponding to January 4 of each year, the Visual Disability Department of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services organized this morning, Monday, January 4, 2021 a virtual lecture entitled (63 letters a path for hope). The city aims at educating the community about the importance of Braille for blind and visually impaired people.

Ms. Dalia Abdel Moneim El-Sheikh, Head of the Department of Visual Disability, spoke in the lecture about visual disability and its types in terms of education and medicine. Then, she discussed the goals of the World Braille Language Day. The most prominent are encouraging blind and visually impaired people to read in Braille to enhance their role in society and allow them to identify the challenges that face them, motivate organizations to make efforts, provide solutions, and provide means of support that contribute to their integration into society.

After that, Ms. Dalia introduced the French inventor Louis Braille, who was born on this day in 1824. He invented this method, which enabled blind and visually impaired people to read and write and contributed to opening the fields for them to work.

The department opened by the city at the beginning of the academic year 1995-1996 at the Early Intervention Center provides its services to blind and partially sighted people of all ages, in addition to children with visual impairment suffering from other disabilities.

Among the most prominent services provided by the department are training and educational sessions, individual training sessions, in addition to training in movement skills and orientation (orientation and mobility independently), training sessions on employing visual remnants in the educational process by using supportive tools and techniques, improving education outcomes, and training sessions for people with multiple disabilities.

As for the families' sessions, they include family support sessions, because they are counseling sessions directed at the families of beneficiaries of the department, and specialized advisory sessions directed at people with visual impairment or their families who are not members in the department.

The department also provides educational and training services introduced during the last academic year 2019-2020, through which children from 3 to 5 years old come to department. This is the partial system stage in training through groups within the visual disability department at a rate of two training hours for a period of three days a week. In it, the child has developmental skills development services through routine and support services such as physical and occupational therapy, speech and language, psychologists, and educational and recreational activities.

Among the services provided by the Department of Visual Disability is the follow-up of students with visual impairment integrated in regular schools on a regular basis. The department provides specialized instructions to the faculty and administration in the school and raise-awareness of peers about the concept of visual disability and its classifications and appropriate methods of dealing with people with visual impairment.

The department works to provide a visual scanning service and early detection of visual problems, which is a service provided to children from the age of 6 months and above using the advanced device (SPOT Vision). The city was the first to acquire this device, which can detect the presence of visual problems early.

The external and internal screening and early intervention carried out by the center from the academic year 2017-2018 until the last academic year 2019-2020 included (1335) people (1081) of whom did not need medical follow-up, while (254) people did.

Dalia mentioned another group of achievements such as developing the department of visual disability work by providing extra lessons in mathematics and computer courses for children and adding new tools for evaluation and diagnosis in each of the psychological departments, the speech department, and the visual impairment department.

Among the achievements is the provision of the VISA program for early intervention for people with visual impairment. The models for both functional evaluation of vision and functional scanning of vision, and the application of the VISA program for early intervention for children with visual impairment (blind and visually impaired children) in the Department of Visual Impairment is for blind and partially sighted children.

Also among the achievements are training families and students on using the Proidigi Connect 12 device, and exchanging experiences on the latest technologies for blind and partially sighted people between specialized companies and the visual impairment department, as well as between the department and human services employees, in addition to manufacturing educational aids.

In the year 2015, the Early Intervention Center of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services won the Children's Book Award for the Visually Impaired, entitled (Arnoub and His Sharp Teeth).