Key facts

People talking and smiling

RSBC has worked with vision impaired children and young people for 180 years. As experts in the field of childhood sight loss we have first hand experience of the challenges that they face, and the potential they have. The statistics and statements we mention on our website can be quite shocking and present a picture of the current situation for many, but not all. 

The impact of childhood sight loss on life chances is not well-known to the general public.

As an organisation we strongly believe that these outcomes are not a foregone conclusion, and everything we do is to try and change this.

We know first-hand that there are many vision impaired children and young people with positive experiences and successes, but we do see significant numbers who experience both limited social opportunities, isolation and exclusion from the workplace.

Therefore we work daily with vision impaired children, young people and their parents through our family support service, college, and range of employability, health and wellbeing programmes to offer support and opportunities to help build a brighter future.

To understand the sources of the statements we make in our marketing and communications, please see below.

Isolation and depression

RSBC Statement

“Nearly four out of 10 blind children don’t have friends close to where they live and go to school.”

Research Evidence

37% of blind and partially sighted children and young people (aged 11-22years) disagree with the statement ‘I have good friends in my local neighbourhood’. (Survey of Young People Parents Educators and Mobility Specialists, Nzegwu and Dooley 2008 p69)

23% of parents say that their son or daughter with Vision Impairment finds it very difficult or impossible to make friends. (Survey of Young People Parents Educators and Mobility Specialists, Nzegwu and Dooley 2008 p93)

27% of parents said that forming friendships had been impacted by their son or daughter’s eye condition, making this very difficult or impossible (Survey of Young People Parents Educators and Mobility Specialists, Nzegwu and Dooley 2008 p93)

RSBC Statements

“Visually impaired children under 12 suffer from depression”

“Around a quarter of all blind children are unhappy with their life because of their sight loss and half of all parents are worried about their ability to learn at school.”

Research Evidence

One in every four parents felt that their child was unhappy because of their eye condition and often worry about the condition. (Survey of Young People Parents Educators and Mobility Specialists, Nzegwu and Dooley 2008 p116)

One in every two parents felt that their child had problems concentrating at school because of their condition (Survey of Young People Parents Educators and Mobility Specialists, Nzegwu and Dooley 2008 p116)

RSBC Statement

“60% of visually impaired children will be bullied”

“Nearly two thirds of parents feel that their blind and partially sighted children are more likely to be bullied at school and in the local community.”

Research Evidence

62% of parents agree that blind and partially sighted children are more likely to be bullied than other children (Survey of Young People Parents Educators and Mobility Specialists, Nzegwu and Dooley 2008 p127)


Looking to the future

RSBC Statement

“More than 8 out of 10 parents are resigned to the fact that their child’s life chances are limited by their eye condition and over half of blind children feel the same.”

Research Evidence

One in every 2 parents felt that their child was seldom or never confident about their future (Survey of Young People Parents Educators and Mobility Specialists, Nzegwu and Dooley 2008 p116)

83% of parents agree with the statement: I am concerned that my child’s career prospects may be limited by his or her eye condition (Survey of Young People Parents Educators and Mobility Specialists, Nzegwu and Dooley 2008 p126)

RSBC statement

“90% of those who have lost their sight in youth won’t work for more than six months in the lives.”

Research Evidence

Compound statistic made up of:

‘Functionality and the Needs of Blind and Partially Sighted Young People in the UK: A Survey of Young People, Parents, Educators and Mobility Specialists’ (Nzegwu and Dooley 2008) and;

‘Investigation of data relating to blind and partially sighted people in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey: October 2009 – September 2012’ (Hewett 2013)


Living on the poverty line

RSBC Statement

“50% of seven year olds with Vision Impairment live in households with a weekly income of less than £300.”

Research Evidence

Sight loss at Seven Report 2012, Nat Cen, RNIB, RLSB

RSBC statement

Most will never have someone to share their life with

Research Evidence

Research found that the majority will never form a positive, nurturing relationship with a significant other human being outside their immediate family. The source is again ‘The Functionality and Needs of Blind and Partially Sighted People in The UK’ referenced above. It is an unpublished extrapolation of the data but is supported by research also carried out in Canada and The US. The latter being done by The Lighthouse for The Blind NY.

References

Harris ,J., Keil, S., Macmanus, S and Lord, C. (2012) Sight Impaired at Age Seven: Secondary  Analysis of the Millennium Cohort Survey, RLSB/RNIB.

Nzegwu, F. and Dooley,G  (2008) Functionality and the Needs of Blind and Partially Sighted Young People in the UK: A Survey of Young People, Parents, Educators and Mobility Specialists. Guide Dogs

 

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