Sydney’s emergency services have visited leading blindness and low vision service provider Vision Australia this week to give young children living with vision loss an important and enjoyable lesson about safety and emergency procedures.
Members from Fire & Rescue NSW dropped into Vision Australia’s monthly Enfield playgroup this week to give children aged five and under an insight into their work and what to do in case of an emergency.
Vision Australia Paediatric Counsellor Hannah Starkey said the playgroup visit was a valuable experience for the participating children.
“Emergency services play such an important role in society and it’s important that all children have an understanding of what they do and how they can assist people,” Mrs Starkey said.
“By visiting the playgroup it means we can introduce our children services clients to them in an environment they are familiar with. Because of that they’ll be more comfortable and be able to take more away from the experience,” she said.
The participating children were taught about when to call 000, how to react to a smoke alarm and what to do if they find themselves in or near a fire.
While education about emergency services is an important part of the visit, Mrs Starkey said the playgroup participants are looking forward to the day for other reasons as well.
“Being able to climb on a fire truck or have a go on the fire hose is something I think just about every child we enjoy and our children services clients are no different in that respect.
“Children who are blind or have low vision deserve the opportunity to experience in and participate the same things that all other children enjoy and it’s great that we can provide our clients with this opportunity.”
The Vision Australia playgroup meets once a month at its Enfield centre and is important service for both children who are blind or have low vision and their families.
“For the children the playgroup is a great opportunity for them to socialise and develop things like their communication skills. It also gives them the opportunity to realise they aren’t alone in living with blindness and low vision and there are other children who are experiencing the same things as them,” Mrs Starkey said.
“For the parents and carers, playgroup gives them an opportunity to also meet people who also have similar lived experiences and receive some social and emotional support.”
Click here for more information on how Vision Australia supports children who are blind or have low vision.