Recently, Oksana Potymko, head of the Resource Center for Educational Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities, Lviv Polytechnic National University, told in her interview with «Galinfo» that in Ukraine blind people aged 40–50+, who grew up in the Soviet era, are used more to the culture of consumerism than to independent living and autonomy.
According to the Ukrainian Association of the Blind, as of 2021 there were about 150,000 people with visual impairments living in Ukraine, about 40,000 of which were with severely visually impairments.
«We have about 3,000 visually impaired people in Lviv region, and 1,100–1,200 persons of which are from Lviv. Approximately 50 people of them walk with a cane. The rest stay at home or go only accompanied by others. When such psychology is instilled in children from a young age, they believe that it is unnecessary – it is simply making a cripple out of a disabled person», explained the head of the Center.
Oksana Potymko is convinced that in 10–15 years there will be much more independent blind young people in Ukraine. Modern children, born during the Independence of Ukraine, understand: in order to have freedom, you need to take a cane.
Since 2011, the Resource Center for Educational Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities has been organizing inclusive education for blind pupils and students from different parts of the country. In Ukraine, this is the only center that simultaneously prints books in Braille, reads audio books, makes movies with audio description (an additional audio track explaining the video sequence), makes 3D models of buildings, is engaged in inclusive education for the blind, as well as organizes permanent or visiting courses for school teachers who want to learn how to work with a blind child.
«We always repeat the phrase to the parents, teachers of such children, and the children themselves: if your child knows a computer, English and can use a cane, a whole world is open to him», says Oksana Potymko, director of the Center.
Read the story of a Resource Center student Marichka in the article See more: the story of 15-year-old Marichka, who will work for Google in the future (in Ukrainian) on the website of the Galinfo agency.