You’re child has a vision impairment, now what???

The Pediatric Ophthalmologist is great for explaining why and how to treat our little ones eye conditions, but I found it wasn’t enough information. I wanted, no wait, I needed more information, more support, more advice. There are various things you can do, but these are some that I, as a mom, would recommend.

1. Research your child’s condition, but don’t panic. The internet is a great resource, but the things you read will not take your child and their specific condition into consideration. You pediatrician, Ophthalmologist, and Optometrist, may recommended or give you specific papers, pamphlets or websites. Google or other search engines may also have research and articles. U-Tube even has videos for most conditions. The research page at Little Four Eyes also has great links.

2. Find a support group, online or in-person. Our kids are amazing and just like every other kid, but sometimes it is helpful, reassuring, and uplifting to talk to other parents who may be going through similar situations (dr visits, getting glasses, surgery ect.).

3. Call your Early Learning Coalition. If you can’t find their number, call your local school board and ask to be connected to the department that works with children from birth – 5. There are numerous services that your child may or may not qualify for depending on the severity of their vision. The programs in our state are called “special education services,” these include a multitude of services such as speech, OT, PT, vision, and more. Warning!!! Public school systems are hard to navigate, if you have questions, I am not an expert, but have worked in them for 5 years and can try help.

4. Call the nearest School for the Deaf and Blind. This is our states website http://www.fsdb.k12.fl.us/ They often have outreach programs with support programs that do training, information, referral services, and assessments. At this time Elly does not qualify for their programs because she has full vision in her left eye (even though the treatment takes this vision away). Most programs vary by state. They did, however, come to our home and do an initial visit. She gave us valuable safety suggestions, information about little things to do to help Elly see better and answered lots of questions. We are on a consultation plan with the vision specialist and I can call or e-mail her with any questions. Stay tuned for my post on the most recent reason I called her!

5. If you child is in a childcare or school setting, schedule a time to talk with your child’s care givers. Make sure they are sitting your child close for story time, using bold markers to write, keeping the lights on at consistent levels, using high contrast colors when teaching concepts; like white chalk on black board, including multi-sensory activities and other adaptations to your child’s learning environment to make sure that your child is getting the best education possible.

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2 responses to “You’re child has a vision impairment, now what???

  1. Thank you! This is fantastic information. Especially the information about the vision specialist that came to visit. Can’t wait to read more…

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  2. Amomofelly, we too have navigated the available resources for children with vision problems, and here are a couple of things that we have learned. I had to do this with my oldest daughter first because she has a hearing loss and is in a special preschool program sponsored by our county, so the second time around, it was easier to find out what’s out there for vision impaired kids. We have a lady that comes out to our house once a week from Georgia P.I.N.E.S. (parent infant network for educational services). She works one on one with Ellie, does functional vision tests as well as developmental tests once a year, and then she has a lot of information on things that I can do to help Ellie function on a day to day basis. I have information from her that has listings of nationwide agencies sponsored by each state, I’ll be glad to share. Also, I am currently in the process of filling out paperwork to get Ellie tested to see if she, too, would qualify for a special needs preschool program since Georgia PINES only works with kids until they turn 3. Since Ellie turns three in July, I want to see if she will qualify. You can check with your County School to see if they offer a special needs preschool program. You also may want to see if your PO will write a statement that your Elly may have good vision in her one eye, yet it has to be patched or dropped causing her vision to be significantly reduced, so she may qualify for services regardless. You can ask the vision person that came to your house if that may be a possibility. Also, I would ask her if they have any special events where children with vision problems can attend. For example, we recently were at a special circus performance at Stone Mountain. It was a special one hour show called “Circus of the Senses” which was free for us to attend and was especially geared to children with hearing and vision problems. The coolest thing about it was that at the end of the show, we got to go into the circus arena to touch the animals and the circus performers and see everything up close to make it more real. I don’t know where you live, but I know that this circus travels all over the nation and has these kind of performances in different cities. If you are anywhere near Georgia, I can let you know when they come next year and I can reserve tickets for you to come and see it with your Elly! 🙂 That’s all I can think of for now, but more might come to mind later. 🙂

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