Key facts

There are an estimated 36,000 blind and partially sighted children and young people in England and Wales. Every day, four more children will be diagnosed with sight loss.

These blind and partially sighted children and young people frequently live wonderful and fulfilling lives. However, statistically they are at a disadvantage.

We do not list the facts below to be insensitive, but we feel it is important we understand the social and economic difficulties too many blind and partially sighted young people and their families wrongly face due to their condition.

This then can demonstrate how RSBC can offer help to reverse these hardships by providing children, young people, and families with a combination of support, learning and development opportunities to help them build the resilience, and help with the skills they will need to navigate their own futures.

The stats

Mental health and social impact

“Nearly four out of 10 blind and partially sighted children don’t have friends close to where they live and go to school.” (1)(2)(3)

“Blind and partially sighted children under 12 suffer from depression”

“Around a quarter of all blind and partially sighted 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.” (4)(5)

“60% of blind and partially sighted 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.” (6)

 

Impact on future life chances

“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 and partially sighted children feel the same.” (7)(8)

“90% of those who have lost their sight in youth won’t work for more than six months in their lives.” (9)(10)

“Most will never have someone to share their life with.” (11)

 

Economic circumstances

“50% of seven-year olds with sight loss live in households with a weekly income of less than £300.” (12)

 

References

[1]37% of blind and partially sighted children and young people (aged 11-22 years) 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)

[2]23% of parents say that their son or daughter with sight loss finds it very difficult or impossible to make friends. (Survey of Young People Parents Educators and Mobility Specialists, Nzegwu and Dooley 2008 p93)

[3]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)

[4]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)

[5]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)

[6]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)

[7] 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)

[8] One in every two 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)

[9] 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)

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

[11] 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

[12]Sight loss at Seven Report 2012, Nat Cen, RNIB, RLSB