North Antrim MP Ian Paisley learned about the challenges facing children with sight loss at a special event in Parliament. The MP visited an exhibition in the House of Commons, hosted by the charity Blind Children UK, which promoted the importance of training in mobility and independent living skills for children with sight loss.
The exhibition also featured an Easter-themed art competition for children with sight loss.
Staff from the charity who work directly with children told MPs that early intervention was crucial in enabling young people with a vision impairment to fulfil their potential as adults. But the provision of habilitation in Northern Ireland is in its infancy, having been introduced by Blind Children UK in 2013 in the absence of statutory provision.
Senior Campaigns Manager James White said: “Children with sight loss need to learn certain key skills as early as possible to help them get around, orientate themselves in the world and eventually live independently as adults. We were delighted to meet with Ian Paisley and give them an opportunity to find out more and ask us questions on this important issue.”
Speaking after the event, Mr Paisley said “it was an honour and a privilege to attend such a special event and see the wonderful work done by the charity. Many of us take our sight for granted, and this really puts things into perspective, it made me realise just how blessed I was to have my sight. In saying that, these children are truly inspirational, and do not let their disability stop them. I was fortunate to view the fantastic artwork that the children have produced, and it’s truly humbling to see what can be achieved with help and support from a charity like Blind Children UK. This is something that I intend to do more work on in Parliament.”