Bullied and cornered but afloat by resolve

Pradeep Rahane (name changed) is a 15 years old teenager living in Hingoli city of Maharashtra along with his parents and an elder sister. He is visually impaired since his childhood. He heard Eyeway promos on radio and instantly got in touch with National Eyeway Helpdesk in Mumbai in May 2017. He was looking for a blind school in Pune.

We provided him contact details of Koregoan Park School, Pune for blind and Victoria Memorial School for Blind, Mumbai. Eyeway counselor helped him understand the practical challenges and realities of studying in a
new school in metro cities. He was also informed that he can get new exposure in metro cities schools because of better technology and assistance he could encounter. This was conveyed as a possibility for enhancing his ability as a visually impaired student.

On probing further we found out that  Pradeep had studied in blind school till 7th standard and he moved to Z.P. School which is a mainstream school due to lack of a blind school in his area for class 8th. The school lacks the availability of special educators and he experienced non-cooperative teachers. The teachers seemed unskilled to teach visually impaired students. Pradeep could not gain any study material in accessible formats like braille script or audio formats from the school. He solely depended on listening to the teachers in the class. In addition to the challenges in studying, sighted classmates also bullied him due to his blindness.

Pradeep has been a bright student since childhood but he faced many problems in the mainstream school. He also faced problems in availing scribe facility. This even led to one of his teachers advising him to change schools. But he was persistent on continuing in the same school ignoring all the antagonisms. He was dogged and brave to think much longer into his own future. His acceptance of his condition was there on the forefront when he decided that he is continuing in the mainstream school. He reasoned himself that he will be doing his college and that will be with the sighted world. He tutored himself that he would rather continue in the mainstream school and prepare for a future with the sighted than shift to a blind school.

Eyeway appreciated and reinforced his zeal to continue his studies in a mainstream school. As additional support, Eyeway counselor put him in touch with NAB, Mumbai to get study material in accessible formats. Our counselor motivated him to learn computer with the help of screen readers and gave him a soft copy of computer tutorial. Eyeway counselor also apprised him of the importance of assistive technology in how it could help in achieving all his goals.  On a follow-up, it was understood that Pradeep has started learning to use an Android phone with the help of talkback. He has learned to adjust with sighted students as he is focused on the bigger goal in his life.