An Autobiography: Helping Your Child Write and Share Their Story
We all have a story to tell. Your heritage and culture, family and friends, home and school and work environments, interests, habits, and choices, and your experiences shape your character—the character of your story, that is. The same is true for your child who is blind or low vision.
Crafting the story
Wouldn’t it be helpful if your child considered and combed through his story thus far?
You could tell your child about their birth, early life, and what you recognize, love, and appreciate about them.
Remind your child of when they worked hard to overcome obstacles. Remind your child of when they were silly, adventurous, brave, dependable, and kind. Identify, together, several experiences that have shaped them, as well as what makes them unique, including their blindness or low vision.
But don’t stop there. Provide opportunities to ask questions. Give your child opportunities to share their experiences and interests with you.
[This is also a perfect opportunity to let your child know they will continue to be brave, fun, dependable, adventurous, and kind. Children need to hear we believe in them, and they thrive with our love and high expectations.]
Next, whittle down the story and write it together. Your child could narrate to you as you type or print it; your child could type it; or record it orally; or braille it; or print it.
Consider creating an accessible book and adding tactile mementos and photographs.
Here’s what may be gained:
- They can hear or learn the basics of their blindness or low vision.
- Your child may come to understand that their blindness or low vision is merely one aspect of them. It doesn’t define them.
- Your child may understand their story is unique to them. You can share parts of your story and they can begin to understand that others have their own unique stories.
- They can become more self-aware, including an awareness of their personality, positive character traits, family culture, strengths, experiences, and interests.
- Your child can recognize the choices they make do shape them.
Sharing the story
Consider asking your child’s teacher if they can share their story with classmates. Maybe, too, your child can share it with those in the neighborhood, place of worship, or extra-curricular activities.
If your child’s peers are able to hear their story, they may realize they are more like them than different. They’ll also hear a bit about their blindness or low vision—perhaps it’s something about which they’ve been quietly wondering.
So, take time, perhaps with each of your children, and help them recognize and own their stories.
Maybe your children, too, will hang onto their new books for a lifetime.