Plans For The Future
We realized recently that the LOL ministry needs qualitative changes. The ministry has become much better known. The number of families we are working with has grown by 20 within last 12 months. Having just one training specialist is not sufficient for the project. The need for some growth is obvious. So, within the next few years we plan to:
- Continue the search for new children around the country. So far we have been able to completely cover just the Kiev city area. The most effective way of delivering information about us to parents has been through the local district ophthalmologists, whose offices we visited personally. Today we seek a supportive letter from the Chief Pediatric Ophthalmologist of Ukraine to arrange a direct mail shipment to all pediatric ophthalmologists in the country. There are also plans to get some church unions in regions outside Kiev involved in the ministry.
- Expand staff training. In the near future the LOL Center will need to prepare at least 2 specialists (one from Kiev and at least one from another big city) to provide training sessions for blind children and their parents. We plan to organize a training session for 2-3 persons at similar centers in the US (i.e., the Blind Children's Center in Los Angeles, CA)
- 3Develop a program for elementary school. The existing schools for the blind in Ukraine offer very old-fashioned programs, which have remained practically unchanged from Soviet times. They lack not only the widely adopted integrating approach, but sometimes even common sense. Example: school students do not use white canes for independent travel because they are ashamed to do so in public! Also, the white cane technique is introduced to them at age 13 (in the US — at age 2), when they have already become accustomed to living without it. There is great need for elementary school preparation and for appropriate preschool education.
- Continue the meetings of parents' support groups (currently held biweekly), with more focus on parent’s encouragement and the progress they make in achieving special skills.
- Start publishing a newsletter with the latest updates, useful facts, and materials (partially based on translations of NFB periodicals "Future Reflections" and "Braille Monitor").
- Develop a web site of the project. We plan to make it work more as a community portal with a variety of services including an online purchase of special equipment/products for the visually impaired.
- Continue and develop the other activities the LOL Center is currently involved in.
Download the 2001-2004 Progress Report (PDF, 250kB)