Parents Guide

In the journey of one’s life, the role played by his or her parents is indispensable. Dealing with the truth of one’s son/daughter being visually impaired is not easy when it comes to accepting the same, and also in the subsequent stages in their respective lives.
Voice Vision’s effort in this endeavour, deals with providing the optimum guidance to the parents with regards to the different facilities available, different ways to deal with problems, and proven stories of success voiced by the people who have reached great heights in the ladder of ‘achievement’.
The different monthly sessions are not mere ‘knowledge sessions’, but a platform for the parents to interact with the parents of other students, and collectively learn and impart tips and tricks to shape the futures of many students at present, and many more to come and be a part of the Voice Vision family.

Please click on the links below to get a brief summary of the sessions held so far.

 


Mobility, 23rd May 2009

Conducted by: Ms. Sushmeetha B. Bubna

"Walk the Talk". It's very easy for a sighted person to ask his visually impaired counterpart to use a stick for being mobile and self-independent. In this session, we tried turning the tables and giving a lesson or two to the sighted ones on the tips and tricks. This meeting touched upon the importance of mobility for a VI person and using the white cane. The objective was to help the parents make their VI child self dependant. The parents were motivated to encourage their children to make practical use of the techniques which would help them to become self dependant and move around independently. Activity: The parents were blind folded and made to walk using the white cane. They were made to realize how difficult it is to walk without sight & experience the plight of their VI family members.

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Accessible Technology, 27th June 2009

Organized by: Voice Vision

For this session a trip to XRCVC was organized, where the various accessible technologies available for the VI were showcased. Products like Dolphin pen, Kurzweil software, Talking Typing Teacher, Speaking Spelling, JAWS Hindi, Prisma, Zoom-ex, Victor reader stream, KNFB reader, & Sara scanner were demonstrated. A hands on opportunity was also offered to interested members. The objective of this session was to make the parents aware of the technologies that are available for the VI today, so that they could in turn make use of these products for the betterment of their child’s future. Activity: Arranged a trip to the Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged, Churchgate.

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Personal life, 25th July 2009

Conducted by: Mr. Joquim Rapose & Mrs. Padma Rapose

The objective of this session was to break the common belief that a visually impaired couple cannot live a successful married life. For this session, a married VI couple, Mr. Joquim Rapose & Mrs. Padma Rapose, who have been happily married for the past 20 odd years or so, were invited to share their experiences with the parents & other married students. They discussed about how they met, the way they managed the day to day activities, and the challenges faced by them in bringing up a family. They not only shared their problems but also discussed the solutions that they together found to those problems. They also discussed the different ways in which they managed to overcome the hurdles of raising their children all by themselves. They helped encourage the parents & spouses of our students and showed them how even visually impaired persons can lead a very normal married life.

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Legal matters, 22nd August 2009

Conducted by: Ms. Kanchan Pamnani, advocate

At this session the Legal issues related with the right to live, or equal opportunity with others, and Counseling the parents with regards to school admissions were touched upon. A solicitor Ms. Kanchan Pamnani was invited to throw some light on these matters. She provided information regarding the various legal issues related to the VI, and provided the necessary information with regards to education, banking, finance, & the various concessions available for the VI. Everyone was made aware of the need for the VI to take advantage of the various banking facilities that are now available for them, like ATM’s, credit cards, internet banking, etc. It was also made clear that a VI person is entitled to take a medical insurance just like any other individual and will not be deprived of this right. In education, Ms. Pamnani spoke of the right of a VI to take extra time and to use the facilities of a scribe. This session made the parents and spouses of the students aware of the legalities related to the visually impaired which they were not aware of before. Activity: Circulars and laws related to the visually impaired for banking, education, social justice & welfare were distributed.

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Career planning, 26th September 2009

Conducted by: Mr. Nagraj More & Mrs. Vishaka More

At this meeting, Mr. Nagraj More, working as Deputy manager, HR, in BPCL, and his wife Mrs. Vishaka More, working as Assistant General manager, market regulation department, at SEBI, shared their experiences of how they got to the posts they hold today. They discussed the various problems that they faced in their career paths. They even spoke of how due to lack of technology in those days taking notes, preparing for examinations, etc was a challenge. And shared the solutions with which they resolved their problems. In this session the parents and students learnt about the various avenues that the VI’s can get into today. They also learnt the importance of educating their children in order to attain a bright future.

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Sighted Guide technique, 28th November 2009

Conducted by: Mobility instructors from NAB

While in an earlier session we tried to encourage the parents and spouses of our students to motivate their visually impaired family member to use the white cane and make themselves independent, this time it was the parents and spouses turn to learn a few things for themselves. Through this session we tried to provide a few tips and tricks to the family members and show them the right way of guiding their visually impaired counterpart. For this session we invited mobility instructors from NAB, who demonstrated the various techniques not only of walking with a stick, but also ways of seeking help from the sighted wherever necessary. They even gave a few tips to the sighted on the proper techniques of guiding the VI person when they are with them. For example, when climbing stairs, crossing the road, being seated on a chair, etc. They also provided a few tips to the students on things like, identifying currency, using proper techniques when walking with a sighted guide, proper way of looking for things that have fallen, etc. It was a very informative and knowledgeable session for all. Every member learnt something new from the demonstrations exhibited. Activity: Demonstration of proper sighted guide technique.

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Scribe vs. student: Both sides of the story, 23rd January 2010

Conducted by: Mrs. Usha Iyer, Ms. Nikita Vaid, & Mr. Sameer Latey

"A tool, as vital as any one" Readers and writers have been, and will continue to be an integral part of one's life, when it comes to the vision-under-privileged. The aim of this session was to understand the plight of the scribes as well as that of the students, discuss the problems they face and provide solutions to them. The guests invited were Mrs. Usha Iyer, who works as a reader for the Visually Impaired, and two of Voice Vision’s ex students named, Ms. Nikita Vaid, MBA, working as HR manager with Bank of Baroda, & Mr. Sameer Latey, Chartered Accountant, Manager (Accounts & Finance) at Chowgule Koster pvt ltd. The session started with a talk by Mrs. Usha Iyer, who beautifully shared her experiences as a reader with us. She spoke about how she started off as a reader, the bonds that she built with her students and continues sharing that bond even today. She even spoke of how she learnt how to behave around Visually Impaired people, and get accustom to not using sign language to communicate with them and keep everything more on the verbal side. She further discussed the challenges faced by her and the way she overcame them. The next talk was by Mr. Sameer Latey, who threw light on the legalities related to readers/writers, the good and bad experiences that he encountered with his writers during examinations, and provided information on how one can go about looking for a scribe. Next came the last speaker for the day, Ms. Nikita Vaid, who shared in detail her good and bad experiences with both readers as well as writers. She also made a good point that we shouldn't exploit the knowledge and services of a writer for our own personal benefit during exams, and keep ourselves honest instead. At this session the speakers helped the parents & students understand the importance of bonding between a scribe and the student in order to avail better results.

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Soft skills (Individual & social) 26th June 2010

Conducted By: Mr. K. Ramkrishna.

This was a very informative session for both the visually impaired individuals as well as the sighted, where Mr. Ramkrishna, Acting Honorary Secretary-general, The National Association for the Blind, India, spoke of the importance of the development of personal & social skills for any individual.

He started off by focusing on personal skills, where he highlighted on the importance of enhancing language skills, learning Braille, being self dependent but not stretching it too far, brushing up on personal etiquettes, maintaining personal hygiene, learn cooking, helping out with household chores, etc. He also stressed upon how important a role the family members especially the parent’s play in instilling these skills in their visually impaired children.

Then he went onto the social skills, where he spoke of the importance of having the right dress code whether at a party, social gathering, temple, or official meeting. He also spoke of the proper ways of eating and adapting the right table manners, For example, when at a party eat only stuff which one would be comfortable eating with a spoon, or ask for roti’s instead, ask for ice-cream in a bowl instead of a plate, not create a mess & avoid making sounds while eating, etc. He said one should enhance his / her listening skills and maintain the concentration on the topic being discussed and not let the mind wander away. While opening a conversation with strangers, Mr. Ramkrishna says that one should avoid speaking on 3 topics, politics, sex, and religion, as these are very sensitive issues. He also stated that one should maintain the right body posture. One should not slouch while sitting or standing and always try to look at the person speaking when in the middle of a conversation.

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Soft Skills (Professional) 24th July 2010

Conducted by: Mr. Rajesh Mehta, Career Development program manager Growth Markets - HR IST Learning, IBM Global Services India pvt ltd.

At the session the following points were covered by Mr. Rajesh Mehta.

  • Time Management
  • Nuances of communication
  • Vitality of effective listening
  • Importance of Behavioral skills in daily endeavors
  • Power of positive thinking
  • Elements to be considered while preparing for an interview

He started off the session with sharing his experience during his college days, outlining the difficulties in choosing a career path in those days, especially in the situation where one used to get caught between abundance of job opportunities and an acute shortage of resources for visually impaired people. He went on to say that just being a graduate wouldn’t help any one to have a successful career, especially in today’s competitive world. He emphasized on the vitality of behavioral skills and how that is a prime requirement in an individual over and above his or her technical knowledge. It is the only thing that makes or breaks a person’s career.

Treading the path of communication and its criticality in getting any job accomplished, he dealt with the art of physical listening and the power of reflective listening. He briefed upon several tips to communicate effectively in a meeting, during one-to-one conversations and during social get-togethers. One needs to be well equipped with proper verbal and written communication, alongside delivering the message in a precise and concise manner, as ‘time’ tops the chart of scarcity.

He further went on to touch the topic of “networking”. He elaborated on the importance of networking, and why it’s essential in not only reaching out to many allied, but also be resourceful when helping others. This includes interacting and coordinating with people across the organizational structure and hierarchy.

Lastly he spoke on how one should present oneself when one is going for an interview. One needs to carry oneself well with regards to one’s body language, dressing style, attitude, gesture, facial expression in short one’s overall personality should be pleasant and positive. From an interviewer’s point of view, he stressed that he or she should make the candidate feel comfortable during the interview process.

He concluded the session by answering to questions on effective communication, professional behavior and need for qualification par excellence to survive. The audience was enthralled by the whole session, and posed questions to him post the session as well.

Comments by a few of the attendees:

"Got a lot of valuable information from this session like the importance of Developing professional relationship and social networking, and the proper way of presenting ourselves before an interview."

"This session has helped me to understand the importance of listening and developing communication skills."

"This session was very fruitful as it gave lot of input in helping us to develop our professional skills and we learnt how to interact with people in a healthy way."

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