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2012 Formerly St. Joseph s Centre for the Visually Impaired



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Annual Report 2012 Formerly St. Joseph s Centre for the Visually Impaired National Education Centre for Blind Children Contents Chairperson s Report 2 Chief Executive s Report 3 Our Centre of Excellence
Annual Report 2012 Formerly St. Joseph s Centre for the Visually Impaired National Education Centre for Blind Children Contents Chairperson s Report 2 Chief Executive s Report 3 Our Centre of Excellence 5 Mila 13 Rebranding Our Future 15 Residential - A Choice In Education 16 Daniel 19 Breaking Down Barriers - Social Enterprise And Engagement 20 Kieran 23 Six dots AND all combinations 24 The Role And Membership of Our Board 28 Independent Auditors Report 29 Accounts 31 Chairperson s Report As I have learned more about ChildVision and what the organisation achieved in 2012, I have been surprised in the best possible way. Not only has the organisation faced the economic challenges of a country in its fifth year of austerity with good humour and grace, it has triumphed over the obstacles in its way. But even more importantly, it has done so while keeping our children at the forefront of our thinking and our actions. Despite yet another cut to our funding ChildVision did not cut its services. In fact it added a whole new suite of supports built around equine therapy, with the generous support of the Baxter International Foundation. Equine Therapy has a remarkably therapeutic effect on the children who participate, helping them not only learn but to create bonds and build relationships. Our decision to open up our campus to our neighbours is very much based on the needs of the students here; the need to be integrated and included but also the need for the local community to grow more familiar with their abilities. Of course, it also generates some of our much needed funding but, as with everything we do, it is the children who come first. That too is at the core of our rebrand. Children with disabilities of whatever nature always benefit from early intervention. The reason we have chosen to establish a national brand is to ensure that parents know who we are and where to find us should their children be diagnosed with sight loss. Despite the fact that the new brand is less than a year old we are receiving plenty of feedback that indicates it is well on its way to achieving that. The last of the major developments in 2012 is a challenge, but one that we relish. The new regulations that are being introduced for charities will demand greater levels of reporting and transparency than before. We believe that this can only lead to more people becoming aware of the quality of what we do and the tremendous milestones our students reach here each day. For achieving all of this I have to thank the Chief Executive, management team, staff, volunteers, donors and my board. 2 Chief Executive s Report Sometimes someone else has to say it, if only to remind you that it is true. When the President, Michael D Higgins, visited here last September he said this is not just a school, it is also a real community. He was right for two reasons. The first is practical; we have far too many services, facilities and therapies being offered here to ever think of ChildVision as just a school. The second is much more emotional. For the third year in a row ChildVision s funding was cut. For the third year in a row we had to tell our people. And for the third year in a row our people responded magnificently. They responded as you would if you were part of a community, not as you would if you were just showing up for a job at a school. So, for the third year in a row, the thanks of myself and the Board go to everyone here for doing more with less. This is not just a piece of rhetoric over the year we managed to increase the numbers being assessed and maintained the numbers being cared for in our residences. Alongside that, there were some major tasks to undertake or to complete. We launched our new brand officially on March 1st. With the new name came a new advertising campaign, website, logo and signage. One of the jobs of the new brand is to raise our profile as a charity, and that has to be underpinned by ChildVision being transparent, accountable and in compliance with the new Charities Act, so we started preparing for that in Part of the roll out of the new brand was our first garden party. Our goal here was to let our neighbours and key people from across the country know about what we were doing. While it s always a worry when throwing a party that no-one will turn up we need not have worried guests attended. And while I am dealing with the fun with a serious agenda items Horse Sport Ireland, Tattersalls and Tracy Piggott helped us bring Rupert Isaacson to Ireland to train our equine therapy staff. He also put on a showing of his film Horseboy attended by most of the equine world. Our Multiple Disabilities and Visual Impairment (MDVI) steering group has examined how this group of children can make the transition from primary to our new MDVI second level education unit in Pobalscoil Rosmini. Part of the research included a visit to the RNIB s Pears Centre for Specialist Learning. We subsequently updated and re-submitted our MDVI report to the Department of Education. It emphasised strongly the need to have the centre open in September We have also prepared ourselves for Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) inspections due to start in the next two years. As we cannot be certain how the Irish economy and the Irish Government will behave over the coming years we have taken steps to have greater control over our finances. On top of the renewed focus on fundraising that our ChildVision brand has helped create, we have started planning for how we will tackle the big changes that may be coming. MCO Projects presented, to our capital planning development group, a 5 year rolling infrastructural plan showing how we could continue to use our current buildings but at the same time upgrade and expand - focussing on the pre-school, library, assembly hall and pool. We have started talks with our closest neighbour, All Hallows, to explore cost-saving measures like sharing some of our resources. For example, accredited training with All Hallows has been developed so that both organisations can avoid the prohibitive cost of such training in the UK. ChildVision is a community. It is not a self-sufficient community but it is a much more self-reliant one courtesy of everyone s contribution in 4 Our Centre of Excellence 2012 was a significant milestone in the story of education for blind and visually impaired young people in Ireland. St. Joseph s Centre for the Visually Impaired became ChildVision, the National Education Centre for Blind Children thereby claiming its rightful place as a national centre of excellence in education. Assessment and Pre-school We experienced a 20% increase in demand for our assessment service; this increased exponentially following the roll out of the re-brand campaign and subsequent heightened awareness. These assessments also resulted in direct referrals to our pre-school, 42 children attended during 2012 with six children attending respite care one afternoon a week. Primary School The primary school had 41 children enrolled in They enjoyed many varied events throughout the year including a joint music project with The Royal Blind School and Jordanstown School, a day of library activities to mark World Book Day, and participation of the whole school in the Corfheile at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght. The Lord Mayor visited the school for sports day on the 13th June and presented the school with their second green flag for conservation of energy. During the year the school hosted a meeting of 7 different schools for the visually impaired from across Europe with a view to submitting an application for a Comenius Project. This is an Orientation and Mobility project entitled STEP UP. We also received the excellent news that 4 pupils received funding for assistive technology. The total grant was in the region of 8,000. This included laptops and distance view cameras. The technology will transfer with the pupils to post-primary and has been purchased to ensure that pupils are as independent with the equipment as possible prior to leaving the school. Secondary School Pobalscoil Rosmini appointed a new principal in 2012, Ms. Philomena Cherry. Phil was also appointed to the Senior Management Team of ChildVision facilitating improved communication and generating a campus approach to all shared projects. The VI students enjoyed great personal successes at second level in Zac won the Dublin City Enterprise Award with his school company Sun Beams, a bracelet that changes colour to indicate that you are getting too much sun. Zac received his award from Dublin s Lord Mayor Naoise O Muiri. The first Rosmini s Got Talent took place on 17th May It was a resounding success and the overall winner was Greta, a V.I. student who brought the house down with her engaging and polished performance of High Five delivered in English and in her native Lithuanian. James, also visually impaired, treated us to a dramatic rendition of Fagan s Reviewing the Situation from the musical Oliver, and Aoife O Dowd gave Imelda May a run for her money with her confident version of Johnny s got a Boom Boom. The Homework Club, run in conjunction with DCU and All Hallows College, was a great success and is particularly popular with some of our VI students who find the one to one assistance especially helpful. Vocational Education 11 Vocational students attended ChildVision last year. The majority of the students completed FETAC accredited modules Learning for Life. The work experience programme expanded to include on campus work in the garden centre, National Braille Production, accounts department, The Learning Tree Crèche & Montessori and off-campus with The Skylon Hotel and Drumcondra Credit Union. Extracurricular activities included horticulture, horse-riding, swimming, dance, music and art classes. 5 Outreach In 2012 National Braille Production had its highest ever overall transcription output of 3,455 orders and the highest ever proportion of new titles transcribed into braille. The library also experienced an increase in members, 91 people joined during last year. An in-depth look at National Braille Production and the library appears in this report. Six dots AND all combinations appears on page 24 of this report. Our families were given a choice of 65 events in 2012 from Family Resource, including two Irish-based summer camps. Excellent collaborations happened with Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind who hosted a visit to their Cork branch and a presentation at the NCBI family day in Galway. There was a 15% increase on participation levels last year and over 500 families benefitted from the service also saw a successful expansion of our Cork Outreach and assessment service. The Parent & Toddler Group is an integrated group for children of all abilities and their Parents / Carers to meet up. The group, consisting currently of 20 families, has a mixture of children with Visual Impairment, Developmental Delay and mainstream children without any additional needs. We had guest speakers attend the Parent & Toddler group including Diane Canny Play Therapist, Danielle from Gymboree and Rachel Lynch who gave a demonstration on Baby Massage. We also have regular visits from our 4 legged neighbours and friends in The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. There are about 20 families who attend this group on a regular basis. We also conduct a vision assessment service in Cork each Monday which gives us an opportunity to offer further advice and support to parents. Support Services Our support services consist of Residential service, Nursing, Low Vision Clinic, Eye Clinic and therapies. 45 students availed of places in our 5 residential houses while attending education programmes at ChildVision, 35 social care workers formed the teams. You can read more about Residential care on page 13 of this report. Our occupational therapists looked after the needs of 170 children, carrying out home visits for particularly complex children nationally. Speech and Language therapists had 120 young people attend and provided an outreach service for a further 100 external children. The S&L therapists delivered training to parents / carers, health and social care workers and professionals. They also taught on under-graduate and post-graduate programmes at UL and TCD. Our Physiotherapist had 45 users to the service in 2012 and introduced a Rebound trampoline therapy for therapeutic use. The growing medical needs of our student base from pre-school through to vocational education meant 150 children were cared for by our nurses this year. As a result further training was undertaken by the department in providing care for children with tracheotomies. Performance through our People ChildVision works with partners from the higher education sector in England and Ireland to develop and teach a portfolio of academic courses associated with the wider field of visual impairment and to provide opportunities for study at postgraduate level. ChildVision understand how important it is to encourage our staff to partake in further study and equally important to support them in the upskilling necessary to cope with the changing demands of our students. University of Worcester During seven students completed the Certificate in Higher Education: Working with People with a Visual Impairment. This is an undergraduate programme equivalent to the first year of a degree. Uniquely, this course is simultaneously taught to a cohort of students from our partner organisation in England, namely the Royal National College for the Blind, Hereford. Four of the Dublin-based students are employed at ChildVision and the remainder were adults working in disability related occupations and a parent of a child with multiple disabilities/visual impairment. A third cohort of students will commence their studies in October, Tutors on the course are employed by ChildVision in other capacities (e.g. therapists, pre-school teacher, members of the care team), each having been awarded Accredited Tutor status by the University of Worcester. Two members of the ChildVision staff will be awarded an MA (Education) under the auspices of the University of Worcester, graduating at Worcester Cathedral in November. All Hallows College (DCU) During the past 12 months we have been working with colleagues at All Hallows College to develop an academic framework at Level 8 (second year equivalent of an undergraduate degree) to accommodate academic courses in disability-related fields. In July, 2013, the Dublin City University Academic Board gave validation 6 approval for a Professional Diploma: Mobility and Independence which we anticipate will commence in the autumn term, This represents a breakthrough in the development of part time academic awards within the Irish university sector. Tutors on this 12 module programme will be drawn from ChildVision and All Hallows College. It is envisaged that further courses will be validated using this academic framework as ChildVision positions itself as a credible higher education provider working in partnership with DCU. One member of the staff is presently studying for an MA with All Hallows College (DCU). TCD, NUI Galway and University of Ulster Three staff members have also obtained masters degrees in the past year; MSc in Child Protection and Welfare at Trinity College, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Ulster and a BA (Hons) in Training and Education from NUI Galway. 7 Staff Training and Development January to December 2012 No. of Participants Course Title Internal External Total January Safer Manual and Patient Handling 9 9 Induction February Safer Manual Handling 4 4 Safer Manual Handling 4 4 March Sight and Sound Technology Information / Training Day 9 9 Safer Manual and Patient Handling FETAC Level 5 Occupational First Aid 8 8 SNA Group Conference Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviour April FETAC Level 5 Occupational First Aid Introduction to Impact of Visual Impairment and Sighted Guide 6 6 May Use of Apple ipad for Persons with Disabilities: Enabling Participation and Socialisation Negotiating Mealtime Safer Patient Handling Pool Area June Introduction to Impact of Visual Impairment and Sighted Guide 4 4 Supporting Social Skills Positive Eye July Fire Warden Fire Safety and Evacuation Training 6 6 August Induction Programme 6 6 Safer Manual and Patient Handling 6 6 8 Staff Training and Development January to December 2012 Staff Training and Development January to December 2012 No. of Participants Course Title Internal External Total Safer Manual and Patient Handling 9 9 Safer Manual and Patient Handling 3 3 Safer Manual Handling 3 3 Seizure Management Training Seizure Management Training, Paediatric CPR and Choking 8 8 Seizure Management Training 6 6 September Seizure Management Training Blood Sugar Monitoring and SC Injection Training 3 3 Zomajet Needles Injection Training 3 3 EVEIL Conference 1 1 Seizure Management Training 6 6 Induction to Working with Vocational Education Students 6 6 Supporting Social Skills Positive Eye October Safer Patient Handling Pool Area 5 5 FETAC Level 5 Occupational First Aid Refresher Sighted Guide Revision Rebound Therapy Training Safer Manual Handling November Lámh Module One Lámh Module One 4 4 December Driver CPC Module Health and Safety of the Professional Driver 1 1 9 Fundraising ChildVision has experienced devastating cuts to core funding in the last few years. The fiscal situation has brought with it an uncertainty that makes planning for development of services impossible. Our state funding is now not sufficient for the services we are expected to deliver. We now must fundraise for sustainability, development of programmes and maintenance of buildings. In 2012 to coincide with our new brand awareness campaign we also ran a donor recruitment campaign and donor engagement events. We diversified our appeals into community, corporate and trust & foundation sources. We had a surge in connectivity with new people as a result of our activity and many people organised fundraising events around the country. We would like to thank everybody for the time, effort and care they put into raising money for the education of blind children in Ireland. Aidan O Brien, Cian O Connor, Rupert Isaacson and Helen Kearney at Tattersalls 10 11 12 Mila Our journey with ChildVision started in spring 2010, six months after we watched our firstborn, a three month old daughter Mila being resuscitated. She had suffered a brain haemorrhage, endured endless near fatal seizures in ICU, had dozens of MRIs and CAT scans, two brain shunt surgeries and multiple touch-and-goes. When Mila was discharged from the hospital, after two months, we were left with no diagnosis except for confirmed brain damage, and at the time, lack of any reaction to light, i.e. blindness. While she had an occasional content smile and was the sweetest thing we ve ever held, Mila s state of health or mind was unknown - she was not responsive to much of her surroundings. For us, the parents, two professionals in their late 30s used to planned lives, the reality felt like a life sentence. Scary. Painful. Isolating. First time we came through the front doors of then St Joseph s, a man introduced himself as the CEO, Brian. He shook our hands, relaying warmth and efficiency. Audrey brought us into early services room, showed us amazing toys and equipment and introduced us to the kids - small ones (like ours), doing the same motions and making the same noises (as ours), having a giggle following a joke or a tease made by Fran or Catriona. We had not mastered much laughter in our household by that point. Mila was offered two hours of group play / therapy twice a week and we left ChildVision with a perspective on Mila and our family s future being just that little bit less desolate. Even optimistic, at last. It is now three years on and the impact that ChildVision has made on Mila has been immeas
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