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FamilyConnect®

For parents of children with visual impairments

American Foundation for the Blind® | National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

Blogs

FamilyConnect hosts a variety of blogs written by parents who are raising children who are blind or visually impaired. Names on some blogs may have been changed to protect individuals' privacy.


FamilyConnect: A Parent's Voice

Featuring Susan LaVenture, NAPVI president, this blog is for you—parents of children with visual impairments. Susan talks about what it's like to be a parent, how to advocate for your child, what new resources she's found, and much more. FamilyConnect also periodically invites experts in all different aspects of raising a visually impaired child to make themselves available to answer your questions.

  • Finding the Funds to Attend the NAPVI Family Conference
    by Susan LaVenture on 5/26/2015

    Dear NAPVI Friends and Fellow Parents, When my son was 10 months old, he was diagnosed with a rare infant eye cancer, retinoblastoma. I was devastated, and desperate to meet other parents who were having this experience. I wanted to learn more about my child’s eye condition and how his visual impairment was going to affect his learning and I also wanted to learn what I could do to encourage his development. I learned about

  • Register Now for the International Family Conference!
    by Susan LaVenture on 4/1/2015

    We are organizing a phenomenal conference program for you and your family. The conference welcomes parents of children of all ages with visual impairments, blindness, and additional disabilities including siblings and extended family and friends. Early registration is now open! The conference location is at The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, close to the conference hotel. The

  • A Sense of Community
    by Susan Harper on 3/23/2015

    My sister invited me to her granddaughter’s (she’s 2) birthday party. I love to go because there are always lots of kids and it is outdoors. She bought a bouncy house and said I could use it for my boys’ birthday parties if I wanted to. Oh, major downer for me. I thanked her and said, “I guess you don’t understand that because my children are special needs, their social circle of age appropriate friends is smaller. We usually have family parties.” Actually, I’m glad she didn’t understand because she always includes our children in family gatherings. I make sure we have the means to deal with the need for a hasty exit if needed. We home school and our twins, age 8 are both special needs. Vinnie is blind. Brandon has hydrocephalus and a seizure


Raising a Child Who is Blind and...

I am the mother of three and my middle child, Eddie, is officially the "Special Needs Child." Here is my blog to share the joy and pain of having such a unique child.

  • Mother-Son Night 2015
    by Emily Coleman on 5/13/2015

    Eddie’s school has parent/ kid nights twice a year, switching up which parents attend with which kids. Based on the rotation, mother-son night arrives every other spring, and the last time I wrote about it was in 2013. It’s an event that I feel Eddie and I simply can’t miss. Just like last time, Eddie and I dressed up for the official photo that gets taken and headed out the door. What was different from last time, was that I wasn’t nervous or afraid to attend. After a few years, the staff, students, and school families are well aware of Mr. Eddie and the unique perspective he brings to any event. There is always a risk of a meltdown, or unease due to his autistic nature…but

  • A Trip to NYC Meant a Moment with Helen Keller
    by Emily Coleman on 4/26/2015

    I was excited to visit the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) office in New York City last week. I knew that I would get to speak with many AFB employees and find out about their current projects and future endeavors within the field of blindness. What I didn’t realize, was that I would get to have a moment with Helen Keller. What may not be well known, is that AFB is home to the Helen Keller Archives. There is a very enthusiastic archivist also by the name of Helen (seen in this photo with me) who takes care of all

  • Eddie Turns 10
    by Emily Coleman on 4/20/2015

    Today was a big milestone for Edward…he jumped into the double digits. Having him be a decade old is kind of a shock and has me reflecting on the years that have past so quickly, which is why I had to post this baby picture of him. Along with reflection, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the next ten years, and where Eddie will be then. Even a year ago, I wasn’t prepared to discuss the big scary future. Eddie’s future gets my heart racing because the path isn’t clear. For my oldest daughter, she’s constantly trying out theories for adulthood. She wants to attend Oxford…maybe Stanford…or now she is considering the Air Force. All of


Raising James: Multiply Disabled, Low-Vision, Adorable

My name is Anne and this is my blog. I am a mother of elementary-age boy-girl twins and wife to Daniel. The main reason I am writing this blog is that my son is legally blind, in addition to having other disabilities, and I want other parents and members of NAPVI and FamilyConnect to know they're not alone.

  • The Real Thing
    by Anne McCarthy on 3/12/2015

    Today’s blog entry is a poem. May the sweet thaw of winter ice melt your troubles. Peace to all. Anne The Real Thing On the train to Harlem, I peer out the glass The Hudson River is like i've never seen it Solid, shore to shore, covered in piles of snow Like the sugary top of crumb cake, belying Arctic-cold waters below That no human could survive It is silent with these twelve strangers Lurching along the track with me, Most of us suckling At the petroleum teats of plastic lids on cardboard cups, Finding comfort in the elixir of leaf or bean In the absence of the real thing. In my head, I am One hour previous, at home, Screaming in my

  • Green Screen
    by Anne McCarthy on 2/2/2015

    Every time we go back to Daniel’s hometown of Cleveland, I am struck by how loving my husband’s family is with James. It shouldn’t be a surprisethey are, after all, loving with all the young kids. Maybe I am surprised because I know he is painfully different and I see how he gets different treatment by people in the world in general. That part of me expects these lovely people, who are only human, to forget to take the extra time it requires to interact with him. But his aunts and uncles (and cousins and Grandma and everyone else) go out of their way to talk to him, to listen carefully and decipher what he is saying, to rough-house with him the way you would with any ten-year-old, leg braces and all. One of those relatives is an uncle whom James sometimes refers to as

  • Kids R Kool
    by Anne McCarthy on 12/9/2014

    James goes to Kids R Kool every Monday afternoon. Our beloved family therapist Dawn runs the group, bringing together a handful of kids who may not have much in common except that they are all broken in a variety of cruel ways. Whether they suffer from physical disabilities like James, brain chemistry that floods them with rage, or a parent in prison, each child brings a facet of brokenness that, together, breaks the light apart and bathes the children in rainbow light. We tell James it's an art class because they do arts and craftsusually something simple like coloring a dollar store picture frame or smashing some lumps of play-doh into the shape of a car. Typically, if I want James to color a picture frame, it's about the logistics. Make sure you have thick markers


Other Blogs From the American Foundation for the Blind


AFB Blog

The American Foundation for the Blind is a national organization expanding possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB experts can be found on Capitol Hill ensuring children have the educational materials they need to learn; in board rooms working with technology companies to ensure that their products are fully accessible; and at conferences ensuring professionals who work with people with vision loss have access to the latest research and information. Through our online resources and information center we communicate directly with people experiencing vision loss, and their families, to give them the resources they need to maintain an independent lifestyle. Follow AFB's blog to learn more about our activities.


CareerConnect Blog

AFB CareerConnect® is an employment information resource developed by the American Foundation for the Blind for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired. The CareerConnect Blog focuses on employment issues for people who are blind or visually impaired, as well as sharing stories from mentors and other blind people who have found career success.


VisionAware Blog

Timely news and interviews relating to vision loss, including the latest updates in medical research.


Visually Impaired: Now What?

Formerly known as the "Peer Perspectives Blog," we have renamed the blog to reflect the purpose more accurately. The posts are written by our team of peer advisors, many of whom are professionals in the field who are blind or visually impaired. The blog features solutions for living with visual impairment resulting from eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa. It includes posts about living independently, getting around, low vision, technology, cooking, and helpful products.