A Vision of Hope
The room on the first floor of the Children's Seashore House at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia buzzes and flashes with high technology and equipment. For most of the children who use the Little Rock Foundation Family Resource Room, there is no light or sound.
Opened in 2005, the Little Rock Resource Room is dedicated to providing blind, visually impaired, deaf and hard-of-hearing children with important technology and resources. It offers high-tech amenities such as a computer that scans books and reads them aloud and a printer that produces Braille documents.
The room was made possible by a generous donation from the Little Rock Foundation, a Voorhees, N.J.-based nonprofit founded by Rocco and Tina Fiorentino. Their son, Rocco, was born more than four months premature and is blind as a result. Rocco, now 10, was a patient at Children's Hospital after his birth.
Other features of the resource room include Voice Carry Over and TTY phones for the deaf and hard of hearing, a Braille keyboard, software to help blind children navigate the Internet and other computer programs. The room also includes a closed-circuit TV and scanner: a book is placed on the scanner and the TV magnifies its type.
In addition to the latest technology, the room also offers literature and information about community resources. Two family resource coordinators, one of whom is legally blind, help children and their families learn to use the equipment and find the information they need.
"There are so many technologies that can make a difference today," says Stewart Hughes, one of the coordinators. "I would like to see the Little Rock Foundation Family Resource Room be a model for hospitals all over."