The Hugh Williamson Foundation Life Management Program

Hugh Williamson Foundation Life Management Program student working on a BrailleNote

The Life Management Program is a key part of what insight does. It was started in 2011-12 thanks to a generous grant by The Hugh Williamson Foundation, and has run as “The Hugh Williamson Foundation Life Management Program”. The Foundation provided the vital support necessary to get the LMP designed and going, and it achieved its objective, with participants overwhelmingly pleased with their experience. The Program was rolled out in 2012 at Insight’s temporary facilities at Nossal High School on the Monash University Campus in Berwick. The LMP is for both the young person and her family. It is open to all students in Victoria and is available at Insight’s main Berwick Site and as an outreach program through the InsightOut Mobile Classrooms, all Insight satellite mainstream specialist primary units (to be established) and all mainstream and independent partner schools in Victoria.

The LMP incorporates: Insight Support Skills, Parent Support and Early Learning (ages 0-6) and Life Transition. Programs are designed from Prep to Year 12.

The Insight Support Skills Program is delivered once a month/fortnight/week, depending on the students’ needs, to peer groups over the academic year. It offers students the opportunity to develop and refine their skills across the Expanded Core Curriculum with the assistance of expert staff, resources and facilities. At present, blind and vision impaired children who are integrated into mainstream schools are often not receiving the specialist educational support essential for their development. Insight Support Skills is dedicated to these children and offers an environment which complements their mainstream education and provides innovative and stimulating life experiences.

The Parent Support Program and Early Learning Program provide parents of young blind and vision impaired children with guidance, training and support, and children aged 0-6 with early learning experiences.

Three junior Life Management Program students during a cooking session

A weekly facilitated playgroup session is held at our Specialist Primary School facilities in Berwick. This session encourages families to come together to share knowledge of the life skills required of a blind or vision impaired young child. The session focuses on developing new learning experiences for the children and providing parents with support, advice and opportunities to observe and/or participate in their child’s education. The playgroup is an opportunity for families to network, share materials and resources and pass on firsthand knowledge. Playgroup parents will also have an opportunity to observe primary classes in action.

The Life Transition Program provides life/study/work transition assistance for students moving from Insight or mainstream primary to mainstream secondary, from secondary to work/tertiary studies and from tertiary studies to the workplace. Participant age range is from 5 to young adult (post tertiary). Change can be difficult and is challenging for everyone at the best of times. For blind and vision impaired children and young people, change can be a worrying experience, sometimes creating anxiety, loss of confidence, learning delays and generally impacting on development and socialization. The Life Transition Program is designed to smooth the way, instilling confidence and self-assurance, while building knowledge and experience of future environments well in advance of the expected changes.

This program is made possible through the generous support of  The Hugh Williamson Foundationhugh