As the new Family Engagement Worker for RSBC in South and South East London, Astrid has been working with children and young people with a vision impairment aged 0-25 and their families.
Her role has involved providing free, individual, tailored support to families with a range of needs, through home visits and regular email and phone contact. For some parents and carers, looking after a child with a vision impairment and helping them to develop and make sense of the world can seem like a monumental task. Astrid shares some useful tips for supporting vision impaired children.
1. You are the expert
Your child’s development will be unique, regardless of their level of vision impairment. As a parent/carer, you are the expert on your child and you will have a unique and valid perspective on him/her as an individual, regardless of how many professionals are involved.
2. Let your child explore and learn
Focus on the skills your child has now and encourage his/her enthusiasm for learning new things. Encourage their efforts toward independence – children learn by doing and making mistakes, so let them have a go.
3. Get your child’s attention by calling their name first
To gain your child’s attention, always address them by their name, so that they know you are speaking directly to them. This will ensure they won’t miss a description, comment or request from you, or respond to a communication that was meant for someone else.
4. Describe to your child what’s around them
Describe people, objects and events simply and clearly, so that your child can understand what is happening around them and anticipate what will happen next. Make sure to balance providing enough description to help your child, with allowing quiet spaces for thinking, asking questions, becoming aware of other sounds around them, or just resting their ears.
5. Take your time
Daily routines, learning experiences and play activities are likely to take more time if you have a child with a vision impairment. Vision helps us to make sense of other sensory input, such as the origin of a loud noise, so your child may need extra time to make sense of what is going on around them, or to work out what a particular object is for. Try to allow the time your child needs, and work together on the best way for them to do a task, such as getting dressed – they will speed up with practice. Be realistic when estimating time and try to build in a big enough margin for your child to do things at their own pace.
Our Family Support Service can help you
You can find out more about how our Family Engagement Workers can help your family by going to our Family Support Service page, or, you can make an enquiry now by filling in your details below, and we’ll be in touch.