A LITTLE girl from Basingstoke who has a vision impairment took part in an event with a world-famous palaeontologist organised by a charity which supports blind people.

Five-year-old Larissa enjoyed listening to dinosaur expert Jack Horner live from California at an online event hosted by RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People).

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The palaeontologist, who has worked as an advisor and consultant for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films, took time out from his busy schedule on Saturday to talk to 50 children from across the UK with vision impairments to offer them a sensory dinosaur lesson with a difference.

Larissa, who has the eye conditions bilateral congenital cataracts and nystagmus, was joined by her mother, Charlotte von Wielligh, and seven-year-old brother Henley, for the event.

Charlotte said: “The children absolutely loved the Dinosaur Discovery event and have gone into school telling all their friends about it.

“Larissa and Henley were able to research before and prepare questions to ask; it was lovely to see their confidence when asking the questions and the expert was able to explain it very well.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to RNIB as there aren’t many family experiences that are fully accessible for children with a vision impairment. Inclusivity is so important and both Larissa and Henley had an incredible time.”

The event saw the children entertained by a puppet show where they met various dinosaur characters.

It was held as part of RNIB’s Shape and Share events for children and young people with vision impairments and their families.

Jack said he enjoyed meeting all the families who took part in the session, and said: “I love talking about dinosaurs with children because they are often as interested in dinosaurs as I am, and children ask better questions than my university students.

“When I asked a child how he thought a T. rex got his meat, he answered ‘he was a scavenger’. I was so impressed that I told him he could come and be my graduate student.”

Craig Brown, RNIB children, young people and families specialist lead, added: “Our online Shape and Share events, part of our activity programme, bring children, young people and their families together for peer support, to share experiences and take part in fun activities like Dinosaur Discovery.

“We are thrilled that Jack was able to join us and lead on an engaging and fascinating session. RNIB Shape and Share events are open to families throughout the UK so we would encourage anyone interested to get involved in future activities.”

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