Jan Wulff DOBA
The University of Sydney
Aust Orthopt J 2000 Volume 35 42-45
Rehabilitation or assisting someone who is ill to lead a normal life has been the role of the Orthoptist for many decades. Reskilling fighter pilots was the first recorded involvement of orthoptists in active rehabilitation, during World War 11.
The real push for Orthoptists to assume a rehabilitation role began in 1973 with the involvement at the Spastic Centre of NSW with children with cerebral palsy. Other developments at this time included rehabilitation therapy for cerebro-vascular accident patients and the National Trachoma and Eye Health Programme in rural Australia. Orthoptic involvement in the Low Vision area began in 1977 with Orthoptists being employed at the Royal Blind Society of NSW in the Child Development Unit, Sensory Development program and the Low Vision Clinic, with a specialised Vision Training program. The Low Vision area has expanded with reading efficiency programs for the vision impaired student. Sports rehabilitation and the involvement of orthoptists in driving rehabilitation commence in 1990.