• Learn as much as you can about your child’s specific visual impairment. The more you know, the more you can help yourself and your child.

  • Understand that your child is receiving small bits of information at a time, not all at once through vision. Help your child explore new things with his or her senses and build up a concept of the “whole.” For example, your child might need to be shown a banana, help you peel it, feel the banana without its skin, have a bite of it, and then help you mash it in her bowl to understand the qualities of bananas and that bananas can be eaten in different ways.

  • Encourage curiosity and explore new things and places often with your child. Give lots of opportunity to touch and investigate objects, ask questions, and hear explanations of what something is, where it comes from, and so on.

  • Learn how to adapt your home, given the range and degree of your child’s visual impairment. Help your son or daughter explore the house and learn to navigate it safely.

  • Encourage your child’s independence by letting him or her do things, rather than you doing them. Teach how to do a chore by using hands-on guidance, give lots of practice opportunities with feedback. Now, your child knows the skill, too.

  • Work with the early interventionists or school staff (depending on your child’s age) to build a solid individualized plan of services and supports that address your child’s unique developmental and educational needs.

  • Talk to other parents of children who have visual impairments similar to your child’s. They can be a great source of support and insight in the challenges and joys of raising a child with vision problems. Many of the organizations we’ve listed in the Resources section have state or local chapters you can contact. You can also visit Parent to Parent, which specializes in teaming new parents up with veteran parents of children with similar disabilities. P2P is online at: http://www.p2pusa.org/p2pusa/sitepages/p2p-home.aspx

  • Keep in touch with the professionals working with your child. Offer support. Demonstrate any assistive technology your child uses and provide any information teachers will need. Find out how you can augment your child’s learning at home.