A blind person is not the only one that needs O&M Training

A blind person is not the only one that needs O&M Training

GDA’s Orientation and Mobility Department and the Wits Medical School partnered for many years with an annual lecture on “The Visually Impaired Person in the Consultation Room”. This served as a practical demonstration and experience opportunity to the third and fourth year medical students. The aim was to prepare future doctors and other medical staff on how to receive and treat visually impaired clients in their consultation rooms and related medical facilities. Unfortunately this became redundant as a result of the pandemic, but happily, we were approached early in January to reinstate this extremely important sensitisation again.

Wits Medical students learning about O&M

On 30 January Willemien Kleijn and Pieter van Niekerk accompanied by O’Shea, enlightened this year’s students with our sensitisation lecture. Willemien, who is an expert on reading her student audience, kept their minds occupied with practical demonstrations on the following: Medication identification and marking/dosage, human guide into the practice and to a chair, guiding to and onto the examination bed, how to have a conversation with the visually impaired patient (and not his relative/friend), – to name a few ordinary challenges in this regard. This was well received by the students who participated eagerly as volunteers to be under blindfold and to be guided by fellow students.

The final element was when Pieter addressed the students on the 4 services offered by GDA, followed by a question and answer session. The opportunity was then afforded to those who wanted to meet the handsome O’Shea in person – and he was of course surrounded by several students.

A huge thank-you to lecturer Njabulo Ndaba from the Family Medicine department, who took the initiative to revive this extremely valuable experience as part of our future doctors’ experience.

We hope to continue with similar and more such events in the future.

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