Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Centre to support both blind and deaf (+video)

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A new $1.02 million Sensory Resource Centre is being built for students with vision or hearing impairments.

The Ministry of Education funded centre would bring together two sensory centres.

Jim Casey, regional co-ordinator for the Kelston Deaf Education Centre (KDEC) said the partnership with Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ) would be beneficial.

"It's a real unique opportunity for those resource teachers in the sensory sector to collaborate across the area," he said. "We're really excited to have this new building."

The new building would provide space for 17 specialist teachers and staff , as well as a shared conference room and a teaching space to host education programmes and parent and professional meetings.

BLENNZ senior resource teacher for vision Fritha Millington said the joint venture would provide support and resources for its blind and low vision students.

The specialist teachers worked alongside teachers to help students with sensory difficulties achieve and progress at school.

The Blue Lagoon Hearing Trust contributed $3000 to the project. Treasurer Brian Marshall said the trust provided grants for those who were hard of hearing.

"The path we're assisting is the hearing part of it, and that is important with the younger people - that they can get the help while they are able and before they get too old."

TECT operations and grants manager Paula Hudson said trustees were impressed by the project and what it would offer to the hard of hearing and blind communities in Tauranga.

TECT was approached 12 months ago about the project and provided $70,000 that went towards the building and furniture.

There were 45 children who received direct teaching support and 70 who received advice and guidance from KDEC.

KDEC chief executive David Foster said the partnership would provide teachers with purpose-built resources which would assist in delivering high-quality services to children.

"Working so closely with our partners in vision education makes it easier for us to identify those children with unique learning needs and link them with the appropriate expertise and supports," Mr Foster said.

Online:

* For more information about the Kelston Deaf Education Centre, go to: www.kdec.school.nz

* For more information on Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand, go to: blennzonline.edublogs.org/

- Bay of Plenty Times

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