Tackling High School alone can be hard enough, but when you add in declining vision the whole experience can become a whole lot more stressful. Just ask our younger clients that attended the year’s 7-8 kid’s camp this school holidays.
Chatting to our staff here at Guide Dogs Queensland, the kids got an opportunity to discuss coping mechanisms for stressful situations like when being bullied and made homemade stress balls.
They also had an opportunity to learn how to play Swish with some of the best players at Guide Dogs Queensland. Although it takes a little while to get the hang of, they picked up on the rules quickly and before long were swishing the ball back and forth with ease.
13 year old Cooper, who suffers from oculocutaneous albinism, flew from Cairns to attend the camp this school holidays and said that learning to play Swish was one of his favourite parts.
“I love how competitive Swish is,” said Cooper.
“I avoid getting involved in a lot of competitive sports because of my eye sight so it’s a lot of fun to feel like I’m on an even playing field and to be able to be competitive.”
Other activities included visits to exciting destinations like Gold Coast theme parks and Brisbane CBD to help them learn more orientation and mobility techniques to allow them to gain more independence in everyday life.
Client Services Team Leader Vickie Anderson said that it’s important to provide a good support network for kids their age.
“At the age of 13, most teenagers don’t really want to talk about their feelings, but vision loss can seriously effect one’s mental health,” said Vickie.
“It’s important that during these camps we continue to give them opportunities to open up and express any concerns or insecurities that they may have so we can help them through it. All of the activities run during the camps are designed to teach them strategies for gaining independence and happiness through O&M classes, but also through building self-confidence. ”
We hope that all the kids who attended a camp this school holiday had an amazing experience. If you would like to find out more about any of our upcoming camps or the programs we offer for children, please call us on 1800 810 122.