Meet our experts
Dealing with a child’s sight loss can often be lonely and confusing. We think it’s important for you to have a single point of contact for your questions; someone you can trust and who can be there for you whenever you need them.
So when you access our Family Support Service, you will be matched with a dedicated expert who will work with you and your family on a one-to-one basis.
With a huge range of experience across several sectors, our experts can help you navigate any challenges you may face.
By offering you as much or as little support as you need, our experts will work with you in whatever way best suits your family.
Meet Family Engagement Worker, Dr Michelle Fontaine
Michelle works with families and vision impaired young people aged 0-25 years old in North and North East London, providing practical and emotional support.
Here Michelle writes about her role, her work with families, healthcare professionals and the Royal London Hospital, as well as sharing her passion for helping vision impaired young people:
“As Family Engagement Worker, my role is to help families understand and come to terms with their child’s visual impairment diagnosis, and think about the impact that diagnosis might have on the family.
This could range from the family’s relationships, the impact on other siblings, how it may affect the child’s cognitive and physical development or their ability to build friendships.
I help to come up with positive strategies
The support I offer is very much dependent on the individual needs of the family. As a Family Engagement Worker I offer two types of support:
- Light touch support; I check how families are doing over the phone or via email. I ask if families have any questions or difficulties in accessing any services I may suggest.
- Intensive support is for families that may need more dedicated practical and emotional support. This involves me doing home visits.
Meeting families for the first time
Typically one of the first things I’ll do in terms of getting in touch with a family is set up an initial home visit where I’ll meet everybody, including siblings, and take them through a guided interview with some specific questions to get to know them and what their experience is.
This will allow me to identify what support they’ll need, whether that’s emotional and practical support, access to external services or courses and workshops run by RSBC.
What does this support mean for families?
When receiving a sight loss diagnosis many parents are left with questions. Questions like; what does this diagnosis mean for my child’s future? How can I support my child with their development?
I am there to help parents navigate through the uncertainty and plan for their family’s future.
For older children if they are having problems at schools, such as teachers not understanding or making necessary reasonable adjustments for their visual impairment, I can communicate with the school to recommend and facilitate any additional support required."
If you'd like to find out more about what the Family Support Service could do for you, register your details below and a member of our team will be in touch.