When Your Child Is Blind or Has Low Vision

This content is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Discovering that your child is blind or has low vision, whether it’s a gradual development or a sudden change due to an accident or illness, can stir a complex mix of emotions. Here’s some guidance to help you navigate this journey:

Your approach to discussing your child’s blindness or low vision will often set the tone for how others perceive and interact with your child. It’s important to consider the message you wish to convey.

Understanding Your Child Beyond Their Vision

Firstly, it’s crucial to remember that your child, despite their visual impairment, is a child first. Blindness or low vision should not define their entire existence or yours. It’s natural for both you and your child to experience a range of emotions – fear, anger, sadness, or hope. These feelings are part of the process, and acknowledging them is the first step towards managing them.

Seeking Emotional Balance

If you find these emotions overwhelming and impacting other areas of your life – be it your relationships, patience with your family, or work performance – consider seeking support. Talking to a counselor, joining a support group, or connecting with families in similar situations can be incredibly beneficial. Remember, maintaining your hobbies and routines, like morning jogs or weekly lunches with a sibling, is essential for your well-being.

Family Dynamics

Your other children and your partner also need your attention. It’s important to balance your concern for your child’s vision with the needs of the rest of your family. Open communication and shared experiences can strengthen your family bond and provide mutual support.

Handling Negative Thoughts

It’s normal for certain situations, like a visit to the eye doctor, to intensify your focus on your child’s visual impairment. Allow yourself to experience these emotions, but also try to find ways to turn challenges into opportunities. For instance, if your child struggles with reading, consider setting aside time to practice braille together. Engage with your child’s educational team, including the orientation and mobility instructor, for advice on maximizing your child’s remaining vision.

Open Communication

As your child grows, they become more attuned to the emotions of those around them. Engage in honest conversations about how they feel about their blindness or low vision and share your feelings too. This approach should extend to other family members who might also be grappling with complex emotions.

Dealing with Public Misunderstanding

Educating others about your child’s condition is part of the journey, but it can be exhausting. It’s okay to take breaks from being an advocate or educator. Acknowledge that there will always be stressful aspects of raising a child with blindness or low vision. For instance, dealing with insensitive comments can be upsetting. Remember, all parents occasionally wish things may be different for their child. Focusing on your love for your child and seeking support from friends can be a source of comfort during challenging times.

In summary, navigating life with a child who is blind or has low vision is a journey filled with unique challenges and emotions. Balancing your child’s needs with those of your family, seeking support, and maintaining open communication are key to managing this journey effectively. Remember, your child’s vision is just one part of who they are, and with love, support, and understanding, you can guide them towards a fulfilling life.