Child at Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre

We fund specialist counselling services for children and young people being treated at Moorfields. These services, led by Esi Noonoo, provide young people and their families with much-needed emotional and practical support as they navigate the effects of sight loss.

Meet the children’s counsellor at Moorfields

Esi Noonoo is a counsellor for children and young people. She joined Moorfields in 2016.

Esi Noonoo childrens counsellor portrait photograph

Esi Noonoo, Counsellor for children and young people at Moorfields

Esi provides therapeutic services to children and adolescents being treated at Moorfields – and sometimes the whole family – to help them come to terms with their condition.

Much of Esi’s work involves supporting young people with building confidence and making connections following their diagnosis.

Child looking at computer with help of teacher

Working closely with parents is key, and each child is very much shaped by the way their family communicates and copes with their diagnosis.

Through her work, Esi has learned that sight loss is not always the main focus of children’s anxieties. Instead, the focus tends to be on how they see themselves and how they think they are perceived by those around them.

Tailored counselling for children of all ages

Child at Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre Moorfields

Esi offers up to 24 sessions for each child, to allow time to build a therapeutic alliance. These sessions can be face-to-face, online video consultations and even over the phone. 

She approaches counselling differently depending on the child’s age.

Pie charts showing percentages of children receiving counselling at Moorfields by age group. 13% 0-6, 32% 7-11, 54% 12-18, 1% 18+

Patients seen by age group

For younger children, she uses play therapy, stories and creative activities.

This allows young children to express themselves without relying on words, which can be difficult at a very young age. 

Child playing with colourful blocks

During virtual appointments, she ensures that the children have play materials and art supplies. They love to share their creations with her.

Many of the teenagers that access these counselling services experience anxiety around exams. Some also struggle with their identities.

Teenagers at desk looking at computers

These young people often feel isolated and disconnected from peers. It’s also common for them to feel self-conscious about needing extra help in school.

To support them with these difficult emotions, Esi helps them carve out steps to deal with their anxieties. She focuses on what their hopes are and supports them with building self-esteem and making connections with others. 

Parent and child sit opposite woman

Esi also works with schools and other institutions to shift discourses around disability and support. She wants to encourage positive conversations that can lead to more inclusive environments.

A vital impact

Esi has received excellent feedback from patients, their families, colleagues and professionals outside of the trust who also work with the children she sees. 

Awareness of her work is growing: she is now receiving referrals for Moorfields’ patients across the UK

Child at Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre, Moorfields in school uniform

It is hugely rewarding to recognise a moment in which a child has taken a step forward in their therapy or realises that they no longer need to speak to me.

Esi Noonoo, counsellor for children and young people

We would like to thank the Masonic Charitable Foundation for generously funding the expansion of this service.