Blind Derbyshire schoolboy overcomes rare condition to inspire other children

A blind Derbyshire schoolboy has overcome a rare visual impairment to inspire other pupils to learn even though English is not his first language. Dawid Roguszewski, from Ilkeston, was diagnosed at birth with congenital toxoplasmosis, leaving him completely blind in his right eye and significantly reduced vision in his left eye, meaning he cannot see further than two metres.

But the 9th grader, originally from Poland, says he is unaffected by the condition and is regularly seen helping fellow special needs students at Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy, where he studies. Outside of school he is an avid soccer player and regularly attends training sessions after school.

Although English is his second language, Dawid has been described by his Headmaster as an “inspirational learner” and was recently awarded the Ormiston Academy Trust Inspirational Learner Award, beating out competition from 33,000 other Trust students at more than 40 schools.

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Dawid said: “To prepare for a new school I had many visits to practice walking around the school with confidence, finding buildings and classrooms and making sure I knew where the toilets, medical room and were the focal point in case I needed them .

“I’ve learned the school’s floor plan very well, I can now go into any room I’m sent to. In class I use a ‘Connect 12’ tablet that connects to the teacher’s screen so I can take close-ups of the screen and see everything they’re doing.

“My teachers zoom in on any work that isn’t on the screen so I can see it. I have a teaching assistant in my classes who makes sure I can see the work and record everything well.”

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by one of the world’s most prevalent parasites. People can often become infected by eating raw meat and cause feverish symptoms, but for many the condition is harmless.

However, congenital toxoplasmosis occurs when the condition affects an unborn child and is passed from mother to child. It can then cause vision problems in newborns, but it’s thought to affect just one in about 10,000 babies in the UK, according to the NHS.

Newborns can often appear healthy when they are born before their vision deteriorates. It can also cause other problems in babies, like hearing problems, seizures, or developmental delays.

But for Dawid, the condition is one he’s learned to live with, and he doesn’t let it interfere with his learning or enjoyment of school. During the lockdown, he did all his distance learning assignments and participated in competitions and activities with classmates.

Although he still doesn’t know what he wants to do in the future, Dawid dreams of becoming a professional footballer and supports Spanish club Real Madrid and Polish team Legia Warszawa. He said he was “very proud” of winning the award, which was presented at a dinner at the Royal Institute for British Architects in London in front of his family and other laureates.

He said: “I am very happy when I help the other children at school. I don’t like it when others fight when I could help them. Especially when someone is sad, I want to make sure adults know and can help.” You.

“I love all my classes, I especially like sports. I do bankball, badminton, rugby, soccer and athletics. I really like soccer, I used to be a goalkeeper but now I’m a striker and I love scoring goals for myself shoot I like to spend time with my friends during break and lunch break.

“I was very proud to win the Inspirational Learner Award, I was happy and excited when I found out about this award. I couldn’t wait to tell my mom about it and we called her right away. It was very special that my family and I were sent to London for a special ceremony to receive my award.”

Nia Salt, Principal of Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy said: “Dawid is truly the epitome of an inspirational learner, always determined to do his best and bring joy to others. All of his teachers and colleagues really enjoy having him in their classroom as his happiness and enthusiasm are contagious. We couldn’t be more proud of Dawid for this wonderful achievement.”

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