A world away from home 6 year old Osama and his family are happily settled in their house in Adelaide, Australia. Osama attends a specialist school; he can dress himself, feed himself and even use the toilet himself-but this wasn’t always the case.
Osama’s journey of hope begins the day he was born in the family’s home country of Syria. Osama’s mum Fatima says, “when he was born his eyes were different to those of her other children, they were cloudy.” Fatima was exposed to some terrible events during her pregnancy with Osama. It is unknown if this contributed to his blindness or the lack of medical treatment available in the early years of Osama’s life led to his current condition.
After the eruption of war on Syria in 2014 the family fled to Turkey, there were limited resources available for everyone and finding support for a blind child was completely out of reach. But their luck changed in 2016, when the family was able to migrate to Australia.
“Before coming to Australia, we had no support, we were doing it alone. Osama’s development was very delayed, he couldn’t use a toilet, couldn’t dress himself or feed himself independently. But that all changed soon after we met Can:Do 4Kids.” Says Fatima, through her interpreter.
Osama has recently been learning to use a long cane, and his Orientation and Mobility Therapist, Esther is so happy with his confidence and progress.
“The first time we gave Osama a long cane is a great story”, says Esther. “Osama had just moved house and was frequently bumping into obstacles. When I gave him the cane he explored the length of it. I modelled to him locating the coffee table with the tip and the sound that the cane made. Osama then grabbed the cane and ran up and down the hallway with it held in front of him, contacting the couch at one end and door at the other exclaiming, “oo the couch!”, “oo the door!”. Osama’s mum said that he never usually ran as he would bump into everything”.
Osama loves technology he is a fantastic problem solver. Assistive Technology will be a huge part of Osama’s life, learning and independence. Occupational therapist, Adriana, says, “our aim is to educate Osama and his family that his vision impairment shouldn’t be a limiting factor in what he can achieve, nor should he have altered expectations of what he is able to do.”
Osama’s parents are positive despite the challenges they have faced.
“Our family went through a really tough period of our lives, but our motivation throughout all our challenges was our son Osama. He lives every day in darkness, it is up to us as parents to fight to give our children the best quality of life.”
Osama’s future is bright – he will be supported to live his best life and is excited to show the world what he can do.