The Montreal Association for the Blind (MAB) is one of the first establishments contacted when a child is born blind. In response to a request from its MUHC partners, the MAB assesses a young patient's visual abilities and overall functioning and provides training and support to a child, to parents and to the MUHC partners as appropriate. Many children benefit from the MAB's Early Intervention Program. This program provides parents with a better understanding of the role vision plays in the development of their child and seeks to maximize the child's abilities and global development to help that child function as normally as possible throughout his/her life.
Over the past year the MUHC has been trying to build its relationship with the MAB further within the framework of the RUIS (see "McGill RUIS," next page). It was recently agreed that the MUHC and the MAB would seek ways to sensitize and educate the professionals within the health centre about the services provided by the Montreal Association for the Blind and to seek ways to promote access to educational opportunities for the MAB staff.
"This is an excellent opportunity for us," says Jim Gates, acting director of the McGill Health Network Office. "With this relationship our blind and visually impaired patients - from newborns to elderly - will benefit."
"We are happy to be teaming up with the MUHC," says Gisèle Hall, director of Professional Services at the MAB and at Mackay Rehabilitation Centre. "I know our services can help a lot of people and we can certainly benefit from the wealth of knowledge the MUHC can provide us with in the many areas related to blindness and visual impairment."
Le Réseau universitaire intégré de santé McGill (McGill RUIS)
The Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services created four integrated university health networks (RUIS) across Quebec in 2003. The MUHC is the university hospital in the McGill hospital network. The affiliated regions include central and western Montreal, the western part of the Montérégie, Outaouais, Abitibi- Temiscamingue, the Cree territory, James Bay and Nunavik. These territories represent a population of 1.7 million people living across 953,000 square kilometres. The McGill RUIS coordinates tertiary healthcare services, teaching and research activities within this territory and provides specialized care and training activities to the regions.
The Montreal Association of the Blind (MAB) is a private, non-profit rehabilitation centre serving blind and visually impaired people of all ages. It serves chiefly the English-speaking community of all cultures who reside in the Montreal, Laval, and Montérégie regions as well as English-speaking blind and visually impaired people from other regions of Quebec as needed in collaboration with their local rehabilitation centres. Its main office is in Montreal with two satellite offices, one in the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital in Laval and the other at the CLSC Lac-Saint-Louis in the West Island.
Some of the programs and services offered include:
- Social Services
- Low Vision (specialized evaluation which includes the evaluation of the use of functional vision in tasks of daily living)
- Activities of Daily Living and Communication (selfcare skills, food preparation and cooking skills, home care skills, basic budgeting and banking skills and environmental modifications in the home such as the labeling of appliances as needed, etc.)
- Orientation and Mobility (safe travel skills and techniques such as traveling in one's neighbourhood, using the bus, metro, train, etc.)
- Adapted Computer Service (use of adapted technology and software enabling visually impaired people to access e-mail, to surf the net, etc., by using large print, voice and /or Braille systems)
- Early Intervention Program
- Specialized summer camp with adapted educational and recreational activities
- Visually impaired employment program in collaboration with Emploi-Quebec
- Day Centre for blind and visually impaired seniors living in the community
- Technical Aids Program
- Braille Production Service