The visually impaired (VI) have passed through various stages – of being treated as rejected section of the society to being recognized as talented persons who were no inferior to their counterparts. The blind person is usually self – taught, often being given appropriate assistance from institutions or schools. They are taught not to pity for their blindness but be self- reliant. Education of Visually Impaired child was not easy but received a further boost in 1834 with the successful adaptation & development of the embossed dot code by Louis Braille, a French man who himself was blind. Braille was developed for an easier communication among the blind, opening the doors for the acquisition of information & knowledge through the sense of touch.
In India, Miss Annie Sharp, a Christian missionary from England founded the 1st school for the blind at Amritsar in 1887. There were just 4 schools for the blind at the turn of the century but by 1944, when the report on blindness in India was submitted, there were 32 schools in undivided India.The significant landmark in the history of education of the visually challenged in India has been through state level decision to establish a Braille press to produce books in Braille. In 1923, submission of the reports on blindness leads to most of the services for the blinds today. Ministry of Education set up a cell in 1946 to promote education, training & rehabilitation for the blind, development and acceptance of “Bharati Braille”, a common Braille code for Indian language which was finalized in November 1950, replacing the earlier codes in the light of certain recommendations made by UNESCO. Establishment of National Association for the blind in 1952 marked the beginning of concerted voluntary action in this field. Further, the first vocational training center was established for the adult blind women in 1957 at Dehradun.
For the upbringing of a Visually Impaired Child, there are social and community development programs that promote health care through changes in behavior and the environment. For the upbringing of the Visually Impaired child, strengthening community, family, recognition and appropriate care of individuals and immunization is very important. Communities also play an important role in the implementation of appropriate intervention such as early childhood intervention programs, education, awareness, medical/surgical and therapeutic intervention, services for parents/caretakers, proper guidance and counseling. Further, good psychosocial assessment is needed which will lead to a good psychosocial intervention to reduce complaints and improve functioning related to mental disorders and/or social problems.
Here, education for parents and family is very much needed. Also, for the upbringing of the Visually Impaired child, appropriate training to parents on blindness and its management is of utmost urgency. National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), a non-profit organization working as an interface between the Government, Industry, International Agencies, and the Voluntary Sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities.
There are various technologies in support of persons with blindness like screen reading software, text- to- speech converter (TTS), refreshable Braille display, note- takers, talking calculator, talking watch, talking thermometer, Daisy Player and much more. The Saksham school for the visually impaired and the disabled people aims to provide education, rehabilitation, training, empowering individuals with the assistive technologies making them self-sustainable, self-independent and enhance their dignity. Saksham strongly believes in inclusive education, a dream turning into reality. There are many events that take place in Saksham Resource Center (School) such as Intra-school art competition, clay modeling, and painting, which is organized within the school itself. This initiative is certainly worthy of appreciation.