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Many parents and guardians of blind or visually impaired children are concerned about their child’s safety and ability to roam and carry out daily activities. You can help your child by adapting your home to your child’s visual impairment, allowing them to carry out certain activities independently and move around the house safely.
Controlling the amount of light in the house is important for your child or child with a visual impairment. However, keep in mind that too much light isn’t always a good thing. For some children with vitiligo, aniridia, or other conditions that cause photophobia, too much light can cause problems.  X Research Source Here are some lighting methods for your child to consider.
Eliminating risks prevents your child from getting injured when he or she goes around the house and makes it easier for him to carry out daily activities.  X Research source
Adaptation of a home for a blind or visually impaired child
Many families of children with visual impairments are concerned about their child’s ability to move around the house safely. There are several relatively simple things you can do to help your child navigate the home safely using sight, if any, and other senses.
Evaluation of a home for a visually impaired child
In addition to thinking about safety (see “Childproof when your child is blind or visually impaired”), it is important to consider how to organize the home so that your child develops skills by being able to learn and do things on their own. Talking to your child’s early intervention team about how to arrange your home to maximize your child’s independence and learning will be helpful.
As you look around your home to see what changes might be beneficial for your child, keep a few basic elements in mind:
- Lighting, color and contrast
- Texture and touch
- Labels and badges
- Organization and safety
If your child has useful eyesight, there are ways you can help him get the most out of his eyesight by controlling lighting, glare, color, contrast, and clutter.
Lighting: Most children with visual impairments prefer natural light, such as that coming in through windows. However, for some children, particularly those with albinism, aniridia, or other conditions that cause photophobia, too much light can cause problems. If you see your child squinting in light, consider purchasing adjustable window blinds – opaque or glare-reducing that can be lowered from above or raised from below, or curtains or blinds – so you can control the amount of light entering the room.
For some of your child’s activities, such as reading, additional light from a lamp may be helpful. It’s best to have a lamp with a flexible arm so the angle of the light can be adjusted; it should also be portable enough to be easily moved from one place to another.
Shine: Most people don’t like looking at a surface that has a lot of glare but reflected light from a shiny surface is particularly uncomfortable for some children who are visually impaired. Try to eliminate or minimize glare on the TV screen, table surface and book pages by experimenting with nearby lamps to find out where they can be placed with the least possible glare. Since the source of glare is light, adjustable window covers can also be useful during the day. Using a dark placemat or tablecloth on high gloss finished tables can reduce the glare on the table’s surface.
Color: You may find that your child has a color preference such as red or yellow. If so, he tries to use this color wherever you can to draw his attention to his things. When she’s old enough, have a toothbrush and cup for her in the bathroom that are her preferred color. You can also use color to keep the room tidy with different colored boxes or baskets for storing different types of toys.
Contrast: High contrast between the subject and the background against which it is viewed is often useful for visually impaired children. For example, black letters on a white background are more visible than light green letters on a medium green background. Look for ways to increase the contrast in your home. A bright red pillowcase will be easier to see against a white sheet on a bed than a pillowcase and sheet of the same color.
Also think about the contrast between cabinets and drawers. You can use shelf inserts and washers to increase the contrast. If you put your child’s food in a bowl or on a plate that contrasts sharply with the food, it will be easier for her to see what she’s eating. For example, beige petals in a dark bowl may be more prominent than in a beige bowl. Here are some examples from VisionAware that show how contrast can make your home safer and more accessible for your child:
I disturb: When objects on a shelf or counter top are crowded close together, it’s hard for anyone to pick out one specific item. This can be a difficult task for a visually impaired child. Avoid letting clutter accumulate on bathroom shelves, kitchen counters, the table next to your child’s bed, or the top of her dresser. Consider leaving space between items on the shelves to make them easier to see.
Try looking at objects from your child’s perspective. What’s easy to see from your height may be impossible to see from hers. Put the things he needs to see at eye level. While it’s not practical to reposition pictures, lamps, and objects throughout the house, in her room, place pictures, shelves, and anything else she needs to be able to reach at the appropriate height and depth.
Texture and touch
Regardless of your child’s amount of usable vision, encourage her to use her sense of touch to gather information about where things are in your home. In the bathroom, for example, you might put a rubber band around the handle of her toothbrush so she can be sure it’s hers and not someone else’s. The tactile label on the kitchen cupboard where her petals are stored will help her find them on her own. If your child learns Braille with age, item labels can be written in Braille; if she isn’t a braille user, a label could be a raised shape or texture that she can associate with the object she’s looking for.
Most visually impaired children are very familiar with the layout of their home. They typically don’t use a cane to get around at home but may use trailing once they have learned to walk and are past toddlerhood. As your baby follows him, he rests the back of his hand against the wall slightly in front of him as he walks, letting his hand warn her of any obstacles he might run into. È importante che i corridoi e i pavimenti siano tenuti sgombri se tuo figlio trae vantaggio dal trascinamento. Avoid hanging pictures on the wall at the height of your child’s hand.
Your child can use tips such as the difference in area between the living room carpet and the kitchen tiled floor to help them orient themselves around the house. He looks for tactile cues that you can add at home to increase his orientation at home and help her move. For example, you can place a small rug or textured mat near a window to help her find a toy box in the family room.
Organization and safety
When your child has a visual impairment, it is especially important to organize your home in a way that protects them from possible injury and also allows them to develop good basic skills.
- Tape the edges of small rugs so they don’t slip or suddenly slide down, which can cause you to fall over.
- Close the room and cabinet doors or place a heavy object on the door to fully support it.
- Remind all family members to store their toys, gadgets, tools, games, backpacks, briefcases, and anything else they can trip over.
- Keep your lockers safe from children. Keep household cleaners and medications of any kind in cabinets that can’t be opened by your child. You can get keyless locks that are easy to open but difficult for children to open.
Per ulteriori idee su come rendere la tua casa più sicura per i bambini e più facile da navigare, visita la sezione "Organizzazione e modifica della tua casa" in VisionAware ™.
Grades for blind or visually impaired students
Before your child begins to receive any kind of instruction, it’s important to find out what he needs to learn and the best way for him to learn it. In that sense, assessment—the formal process of finding out someone’s strengths and needs in a particular area—is at the heart of all instruction because it allows an appropriate educational program to be planned.
Importance of specialist assessment
Your child will undergo specialist examinations that relate specifically to his or her visual impairment. They are generally led by teachers of visually impaired pupils and are required by federal law governing special education. Becoming familiar with these assessments and the information that is gathered from each of them will help you to understand the particular recommendations made by members of your child’s educational team. Service recommendations for your child should be based on their needs identified during the assessment.
Your consent is required to evaluate your child. To determine if your child’s needs will be served by an assessment, it is important to ask questions of any professional who seeks your permission to test or observe your child. To learn:
- Purpose of the evaluation
- Who will perform the assessment and whether this person is qualified to work with visually impaired students
- How the information will be used
- Where you can learn more about the specific test and the procedure used
Once the assessment is complete, remember that you should obtain a copy of any reports and recommendations made and save this material in your files.
After reviewing the evaluation report, ask the person who conducted it any questions you may have. Assessment reports should include not only information gleaned from any tests, but also recommendations on how to meet the needs of the children, any required adaptations or equipment, and effective teaching strategies.
There are two key assessments the teacher of students with visual impairments conducts that help form the basis of your child’s educational program. These are Functional Vision Assessments (FVA) which investigate how your child is using any vision they may have and a Learning Media Assessment (LMA) which examines how your child uses their senses to obtain information and indicates the most effective ways to teach them. / her to read and learn other skills. In addition to these two pivotal assessments, key assessments that are unique to visually impaired children are the orientation and mobility (O&M) assessment to determine whether your child needs training in learning how to move through the environment, and the assistive technology assessment, used to identify what kinds of assistive technology may be most helpful for your child.
Your child is also likely to receive a number of assessments that don’t relate directly to his vision, such as developmental assessments (particularly for infants or young children), to see how your child is progressing in acquiring basic skills such as rolling over, sitting, talking, and so forth. Additionally, most school districts require some form of psychological or psychoeducational testing as part of the evaluation of special education services. Intelligence tests are usually included in the psychological assessment. These tests are routine and in no way imply that there is something wrong with your child’s thinking or mental stability. Rather, they are intended to provide a more complete description of your child’s learning abilities and needs to help his educational team determine what specialized services he requires. If your child has other disabilities, they may also receive other types of assessments, such as a hearing test or a speech and language test.
It should be noted that in most school systems, psychologists and others who conduct such assessments have little experience with visually impaired students. There are usually fewer of these students than students with other disabilities. In addition, many of the standard tests and assessment tools they use are not adapted to the needs of children with visual impairments – for example, they may require the child to respond to the images, or the expected results may be based on developmental models that are not. typical of visually impaired children. Therefore, it’s important for the teacher of students with visual impairments to be involved when these types of evaluations are conducted to provide suggestions about appropriate assessment procedures and help interpret the results. It’s also important for you to remember that as a parent, you too are part of your child’s educational team and can contribute information about your child if you have concerns about the assessment process.
Teaching sign language to a visually impaired child
Jennie writes about how she taught her son Max to sign. Max is completely blind and has few verbal words, but using signs to reinforce early communication really improved his language skills.
Switch Play: Use a switch to communicate and have fun!
For kids who don’t speak or have poor motor coordination, switches can be a great way to spice up their play. If you’re just getting started with the switch, you may be looking for ideas on how to use this device with your baby. Here are some things we tried with our switches.
Can you repeat! Echolalia in children with visual impairments
Find out why visually impaired children repeat what they hear and how parents can help minimize their repetitions constructively.
Character adaptation application for children with visual impairments
This app provides tips on how to customize signals for blind children, including videos and written information. It also allows you to create your own character dictionary.
ProxTalker communication card with real objects
ProxTalker is a communication device that gives a voice to non-verbal children. The tags can be adapted to the specific situation of the child and can be added and corrected as needed.
Sign to speak to text – another great thing for the deaf community
The new technology translates sign language into spoken and word into text, making communication between signers and non-signers much smoother, more fluid.
Talkitt® makes speech intelligible unintelligible
Talkitt translates incomprehensible speech from any language into intelligible speech using smartphone, tablet or computer. It works for people with a speech disorder, medical condition, or syndrome that affects speech.
STACS: Standard set of assistive tactile communication symbols
Tactile symbol systems are valuable tools that help students talk about people, places, events, and ideas.
Searching deeper to find the person inside
Lesley Potgieter writes of contacting a child who cannot speak. Our ability to communicate through speech is how the world accepts and interprets us, but Lesley says we need to be more open when interacting with non-verbal people.
LessonPix Online Materials: Symbols & Visuals
Large photos can be a great way to introduce concepts to children with visual impairments and can really help children who need help with communication.
American Sign Language (ASL) browser.
The American Sign Language Browser lets you select any word starting with any letter and watch a quick Quick Time video demonstration of the signed word.
Planning the day with object-oriented calendars
Creating a tangible communication plan and system is the best way to help your child cope with change. Using a calendar or item planner can ease your child’s discomfort and help you get through tough days (like summer vacations) when you have no routine.
Sign language for blind children
Can sign language work for blind children? The signs should be very visual, can blind children really perceive them? We are here to tell you firsthand YES! We will explain to you why you should teach your child the signs and give you some tips to make the lessons easy and fun.
Say it with symbols
Say it with symbols! is the first resource for families, carers and teachers looking for easy-to-use, functional and supportive means of communication that help people with severe speech impairments to actively participate in daily life by communicating through images and symbols.
Use tangible symbols to communicate with blind children
In this video, Elizabeth Torrey, a speech therapist at the Perkins School for the Blind Early Learning Center, talks about the use of tangible symbols to help children with multiple disabilities, including blindness and deafness, develop and achieve communication skills.
How state school tests discriminate against students with special needs
Should students always be tested, even those with severe disabilities? Can standardized tests be considered discriminatory even if alternative testing options are offered to students with special needs?
How to Work with Difficult Doctors & Therapists
As a parent of a disabled child, you will likely need to see numerous doctors and therapists. What can you do if you don’t agree with their techniques?
Family and skill: what I learned from the mother of a disabled child
Is it more important to worry about how you present yourself and your family to the outside world and the wider community of people with disabilities, or to focus on the needs of your own family and children?
Make your own white reed pin for a white reed day
Celebrate White Cane Day with your white pin! Show your pride with the white cane with this handmade beaded brooch.
Mindful bears support disabled children
Find out more about Conscious Bears and Endless Stories. They aim to change the perception of what people with disabilities are capable of.
I raise my special needs child with dignity, right?
Children with special needs deserve respect and respect. As parents, we need to preserve their dignity and help them look their best in public.
Advocate of science for when you have poor eyesight
L. Penny Rosenblum is TVI, advocate for parents and students, has vision problems. She writes about what it was like to learn to talk about yourself as a child and how to teach these skills to your own children.
5 tips for becoming a juvenile special needs lawyer
Penny discusses how to become more proactive in advocating for your child through the legal system. When you have a disabled child, you need to be heard and your opinion matters!
This blind boy can! How to teach a child to be independent and start moving
Sarah chronicles her family’s journey, teaching her blind son Lucas to be as independent as possible. And she now she wants to start moving! #blind scan
An open letter from a special mother to the protesters
I support your right to be heard, but I have a request: keep your protest on the sidewalk.
#ToyLikeMe brings disability awareness into the toy box
#ToyLikeMe is revolutionizing the toy box by encouraging major toy companies to incorporate the representation of disability into their product lines.
5 TED lectures by blind speakers
Here are five TED talks from blind presenters. Not only are they fun and informative, but each speech is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of seriousness and wit to make you look – and laugh – more and more!
A volte non ho proprio voglia di "insegnare" alle persone la cecità
As members of the blind community, we have the opportunity to continually teach others about blindness. But do you just want to skip the learning moments?
The day I realized my child with special needs deserves an enviable life
All children with special needs deserve an enviable life! Do you agree? And do you know what it really means?
Learning advocacy and self-advocacy
Marianne Haas, TVI spokesperson, disability attorney and employment counselor, provides strategies and tips for defending your blind child.
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) understands that information is power. We are committed to connecting parents and guardians of blind or visually impaired children with information, resources, community services and a vibrant, supportive community that can change lives.
That’s why AFB has launched FamilyConnect – which will be run by the American Printing House for the Blind on July 1 – a complete and free source of information and support for parents of blind or visually impaired children.
Links recommended by FamilyConnect
- FamilyConnect is a website designed to offer parents of children with visual impairments a place to support each other, share stories and concerns, and find resources on how to raise children from birth to adulthood.
- The Post Diagnosis section addresses many of the common concerns of people who have recently been diagnosed with eye disease. It provides eye condition-specific information as well as general guidance such as instructing parents on successfully working with a child’s medical professionals, adapting the family home, and obtaining helpful products and toys. This section also introduces parents to the success stories of people living well with vision loss.
- Browse by age contains articles on age-specific information about educating a visually impaired child: family relationships and socialization, growth and development, important educational issues, assistive technologies, and more.
- The section on multiple disabilities provides information to support the learning, communication and independence of children with visual impairments and additional disabilities.
Know your rights as a parent of a visually impaired child
La sezione “Conosci i tuoi diritti” sul sito web dell’American Blind Foundation fornisce informazioni sulla legge statunitense sull’istruzione speciale e delinea le valutazioni e i servizi per i quali sono idonei i bambini non vedenti e non vedenti. Additionally, you can find information on early intervention services, the adjustments and modifications your child is entitled to, and how to be an effective advocate for your child.
The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act has been introduced in the House of Representatives as H. R. 1120 and in the Senate as S. 2087. AFB and organizations across the blind, deafblind, and deaf communities are working hard to drum up support for these bills so that this legislation can become a reality. Cogswell-Macy law would ensure specialized instruction, increase the availability of services and resources, enhance accountability, and increase research into best practices for teaching and evaluating students with visual impairments.
Learn more about the Cogswell-Macy Act by visiting the links below on AFB. org.
For more information on blinded Americans of all ages, visit the American Foundation for the Blind Statistical Snapshots.
Not everyone needs help, but for those who can, here are some ways to do it.
During a recent Zoom meeting with our team, a colleague joked that her biggest concern in the current crisis was that she was having difficulty delivering wine. As we all laughed at his comical cry for help, the main message for me was a wake-up call.
This colleague, like many of our Perkins colleagues, is blind. If anyone should have known what she and other members of our community might need help with during this crisis, then it should be me. Yet I was sitting here listening and realizing that I missed the opportunity to support, to be kind, to be a good teammate.
This post is an attempt to help all of us be better teammates. Not all blind people need or need help. It doesn’t want to be a rallying cry to suddenly drop wine on the doorstep of every blind person you know (even if any of them have complained? Probably not!). To, co ma to zrobić, to sprawić, abyśmy myśleli o wszystkich w naszych zespołach i o tym, jak możemy ich wspierać w sposób, o którym być może jeszcze nie myślimy.
Here are 10 things you can do today to help those who want it. And if they don’t want it, that’s fine, too.
1. Contact and ask
Your blind colleagues may be reluctant to ask for help. In the workplace, we know that our blind colleagues are like everyone else – they are valued members of our team who are fully capable of doing their jobs. It’s still true. It is also true that in these uncertain times of constant change, they may need help with things none of us could have planned. They may not feel comfortable reaching it.
Don’t assume they need help. Ask. Don’t assume you know what they need. Ask. Don’t be afraid of overstepping. Reach out your hand.
2. Have specific offers
It’s nice to say, “What can I do?”. Many people will be too polite to tell you. If your colleague declines a general offer of help, he looks at the specific suggestions:
- Collect things from their office and have them delivered to their home.
- Shopping / delivery of food.
- Providing rides.
- Production and delivery of masks.
- Drop or deliver prepared meals
3. Set the connection time
They all feel isolated, and it’s no different with visually impaired people, in fact they probably feel it even more. Set up regular phone calls or video chats – A personal connection is much better than a check-in email.
4. Make sure your team’s remote workspace is available
As we all translate quickly into remote work, make sure what you create is accessible to everyone on your team. Be sure to think about any new project management software, meeting platforms, online content, etc. If you aren’t sure how to do this, just ask your visually impaired colleague for help or advice – she will have some.
5. Explore the new world of videoconferencing
If your team, like the rest of humanity, has moved on to video meetings, ask your teammate if they would like help preparing your shot. We don’t need to get fancy; you can talk to them about what you see, ask them to remove background elements, let them know if their lighting is okay and so on.
While we are talking about video meetings (and let’s include conference calls here), use everyone’s names. When you start talking, say who you are. If you have a question for a team, say the question is for the whole team. If you are directing your question or comment to a specific person, say their name. Notify the team when you leave the interview / meeting.
6. Give verbal space
Whether you’re talking on the phone or in virtual conference rooms, leave a verbal space. When we’re all in the same room, it’s easier for the team to know when someone has something to say. Now that we don’t have that option, we need to leave room for people to contribute. In a group conversation or virtual meeting, select a moderator to “transform” the speakers. Encourage panel discussions where each person has the opportunity to comment on (or decline) any topic / question.
7. Consider everyone’s workload
We are all facing new ways to work, and new tasks we didn’t have before. Are there things that are more difficult for your co-worker now than before? Can these activities be turned into something you or another team member are doing? If you think this would be helpful, ask.
8. Be flexible
Everyone has to adjust now. If a blind colleague asks you to do something different than before, know that there must be a reason. For all of us, working from home can present a technical or physical challenge that may require an alternative solution. Be prepared to change your results and accept requests for changes in the way you’ve done things.
9. Establish social moments for the team
Do you remember dinner with your colleagues? Those were good times. Port them online. Find time with your team to catch up and talk about life outside of work. Virtual lunches, happy hours (people can swap recipes for apps and drinks in advance), group challenges (ask team members to prepare a presentation of a fun, non-work related thing they love or ask them to come prepared to show their talent)) – anything that makes your team talk and laugh together.
10. Be understanding. Be patient. Be there.
We are all trying to adapt to the new standard. Each day is filled with new challenges that require a lot of our energy to overcome. The longer it goes on, the more we run the risk of getting closer to the point of no return. Remember that your blind colleagues are highly trained to adapt and adapt every day. For some, it may seem like just another day of world conquest. For others, all of these additional adjustments may seem like too much to bear. Ask, listen, help where you can, repeat.
And provide wine if needed.
Deana Criess is the Associate Director of Recruitment & Admissions for Career Launch @ Perkins, a training and career services program that helps blind and visually impaired adults, ages 18 to 35, land career-track jobs. This post originally appeared on Blind New World.
Simple and inexpensive changes can make your home safer for loved ones living with visual impairments.
Rebuilding a home for a loved one with a visual impairment doesn’t have to break the bank.
Of course, there are many high-tech products that can help make your home visually impaired. The latest products hitting the market, such as personal home assistants, can greatly simplify daily tasks. Voice-activated timers, alarms and lighting systems can also help, if it’s within your budget.
But there are also many inexpensive and even free ways to better furnish your home for people living with mild to severe vision loss. Let’s break it down room by room with some tips for making your home safe and suitable.
Kitchen can be the scariest room in the house for someone with vision loss. It’s intimidating. Kitchenre o anche semplici attività come bere un bicchiere d’acqua possono sembrare scoraggianti, a seconda della gravità della tua disabilità visiva.
When it comes to cooking, there’s no reason to make it hard on yourself. Kitchenre a fuoco vivo può essere troppo difficile, quindi scegli metodi di cottura più semplici, come la cottura lenta. Products like Instant Pot take a lot of work to prepare meals. You can use it as a pressure cooker, traditional slow cooker, pressure cooker, or steamer. You can also fry it inside. The amount of cooking you’ll do in it will make the price tag worth it over time.
Organization is key when it comes to clothing, jewelry and accessories. It’s important to make sure you group items and store them in ways that utilize tactile clues. Some suggestions include storing different clothing items in different-sized boxes, so you’ll always know where your socks are, or where your shirts are, based on feel. You can also use regular household items like egg cartons to organize your jewelry. Color coordination with high contrast colors can help identify garments in low light conditions.
Let’s face it: the bathroom is the one place you’re most likely to visit in the middle of the night. Vision loss is even worse in dim light, so it’s very important to have reliable sources of illumination. An inexpensive way to make sure there is always light wherever you are is to install several motion sensor lamps. That way, when you first walk into the room, you’ll have at least some light immediately. Stick-on-anywhere battery-powered models are inexpensive, and LED lights reduce glare.
When it comes to the main living area, a little color makes a big difference. Simply applying a little paint to the selected areas will help the visually impaired person navigate and avoid tripping and bumping. Any way you can provide contrast, like painting the door with colors that contrast with the walls or painting the door handles instead of the door, will be of enormous help. If you’re looking for a cheap product that could end up preventing injury, a non-slip floor mat is the best $10 you can spend.
Corridors and stairs
With just a few dollars, you can help a loved one with a visual impairment navigate corridors and stairways more easily. A few textured, brightly colored ribbons on the edge of stairs, door frames, and wall edges can provide enough contrast to show where one thing ends and another begins, dramatically reducing the risk of a bad fall.
When modifying your home for someone with vision loss, it’s best to imagine yourself navigating in low-light conditions. What would you like to be more clearly defined? It doesn’t always have to cost a fortune – many small changes can provide a world of good.