Site Map

Get Connected: Resources for Parents of Blind or Visually Impaired Children

About FamilyConnect: For Parents of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

FamilyConnect is a website created by AFB and NAPVI to give parents of visually impaired or blind children a place to support each other, share stories and concerns, and find resources on raising their children from birth to adulthood.

Welcome to FamilyConnect! (Featuring Emily Coleman) | AFB and NAPVI Announce Breakthrough Social Network for Parents of Visually Impaired Children | About American Foundation for the Blind | About the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments | Organizations Helping Blind Children and Their Families | Link to FamilyConnect for Families with Blind Children | Thanks to Those Who Help FamilyConnect Help Blind Children and their Families | Contributing Experts on Raising a Blind Child | Tools for the Child Who is Blind or Has Low Vision | FamilyConnect Video: A Voice for Families of Children Who Are Visually Impaired

Join the Community


Message Boards for Families of Blind Children


Blogs by Parents of Blind Children


Events for Parents of Visually Impaired Children


News for Parents with Blind Children


Find Local Services


Videos of Families Coping with a Child's Blindness


After the Diagnosis: For Parents of a Child Just Diagnosed with Blindness

Working with the Medical Professionals When Your Child Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Many parents want to learn as much as they can about their child's diagnosis and what the future will look like for their child. Developing an understanding of the different eye care professionals your child may be seen by, questions you can ask, and what you can expect at an appointment will empower you and your child to more clearly understand his visual impairment.

Dealing with the Diagnosis When Your Child Has a Visual Impairment | Advocating for Your Blind Child | What Can Your Child See? | Questions to Ask Your Child's Eye Care Specialist | Doctor's Orders: Following the Eye Doctor's Directions | Eye Care Professionals Who May Work with Your Child | Low Vision Devices: An Overview | Common Abbreviations Used by Eye Care Specialists | The Human Eye: A Diagram | Visual Impairment: An Overview | Low Vision Services: An Overview | What to Expect at the Eye Doctor's Office | Downloadable Toolkit on Working with Medical Professionals | "Profesionales del cuidado de la vista que pueden tratar a su hijo" herramienta | Common Questions Asked by Parents of Children Who Are Visually Impaired

Browse by Condition: Learn More About Your Child's Blindness or Visual Impairment

Learn more about your child's visual impairment, questions to ask the doctor, and sources of support

Achromatopsia | Albinism and Visual Impairment in Children | Amblyopia | Aniridia | Anophthalmia | Autism Spectrum Disorders or Asperger's Syndrome in Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | Bardet-Biedl Syndrome | Cataracts in Children | Coloboma | CHARGE Syndrome | Cone-Rod Dystrophy | Cortical Visual Impairment in Children | Deaf-Blindness | De Morsier's Syndrome | Diabetic Retinopathy | Glaucoma in Children | Laurence-Moon Syndrome | Leber Congenital Amaurosis | Low Vision in Children | Macular Degeneration in Children | Marfan Syndrome | Microphthalmia | Non-24 Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder in Children | Norrie Disease | Nystagmus | Optic Nerve Atrophy | Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH) in Children | Retinitis Pigmentosa | Retinoblastoma | Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) | Stargardt Disease | Strabismus | Sturge-Weber Syndrome | Trachoma | Usher Syndrome in Children

Emotional Impact of a Child's Blindness

If you've just learned that your child is blind or has low vision, this is probably a difficult time for you and your family. You may be unsure how to tell family members and friends about your child's visual impairment and where to go for support.

Meet Our Family: Monique Herrera | Meet Our Family: Mary Zabelski | Meet Our Family: Veronica Alvarez | Meet Our Family: Emily Coleman | Learning That Your Child Is Visually Impaired | Talking to Family and Friends about Your Child's Visual Impairment | Building Healthy Families When a Baby Is Blind or Visually Impaired | Parent's Perspective: Handling Your Child's Diagnosis of Blindness | Equal Time for All Your Children | When an Older Sibling is Visually Impaired | When People Stare at a Brother or Sister | Five Tips to Encourage Healthy Relationships Between Blind Children and Their Siblings

Adapting Your Home for a Child Who Is Blind or Has Low Vision

Many families of visually impaired children are concerned about the ability of their child to get around their home safely. There are many relatively simple things that can be done to help your child move safely through your home using her vision, if present, and other senses.

Sink Area With and Without Contrast | Bathtub Area With and Without Contrast | Low and High Contrast Kitchen

Overview of Services for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

When your child is born with a visual impairment, or acquires one through illness or injury, you may feel shocked, bewildered, and frightened. You may also find that your immediate family members, local doctors, and neighborhood schools are unfamiliar with the impact of visual impairment on a child's learning and education. But you're not alone.

Overview of the Service System for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | Applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if Your Child Is Legally Blind | Downloadable "Overview of the Service System for Visually Impaired Children" Toolkit | Obtaining Services for Your Visually Impaired Child in New York State | Obtaining Services for Your Visually Impaired Child in New Jersey | Obtaining Services for Your Visually Impaired Child in Connecticut | Fundraising: Finding the Funds to Attend Parent Conferences

Success Stories from CareerConnect

Can you imagine your children being able to do any job they want? Explore careers with them through AFB CareerConnect®'s Mentor Success Stories. These intriguing accounts can start your blind child on a journey you never thought possible. And then check out all of the other resources AFB CareerConnect has to offer.

Profile of Richard Donald Smith, Instrumental Music Teacher | Profile of Cathy Givens, Assistant Criminal District Attorney | Profile of Leora Heifetz, Labor and Delivery Nurse | Profile of Cheryl Wade, Journalist | Profile of Dionne Quan, Voice-Over Actress | Disability Access Consultant (Profile)

Helpful Products and Toys for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

Helpful Products, Technology, and Resources for Parents of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Valentine's Day Card, Craft, and Gift Ideas for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | Toys and Gift Ideas for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Browse by Age: Age-Related Resources for Families of Blind Children

Babies and Toddlers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Babies are wonderful, but they don't arrive with a set of instructions! Like all parents, parents of babies who are blind or visually impaired have a lot to learn. But there are many services and sources of help. Find out about them—and much more—here.

When Your Baby or Toddler Is Visually Impaired | Growth and Development for Babies and Toddlers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | Education | Social Life and Recreation: Playing with Your Blind Baby or Toddler | Transition to Independence: Milestones for Blind Babies and Toddlers

Preschoolers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

As the parent of a preschooler, you're facing a whole new set of questions: How can I help my child socialize? How can I prepare him for a classroom environment? Find the answers to your questions here, and connect with other parents of preschoolers who are blind or visually impaired.

Preschool: The First Big Transition | Growth and Development | Preschool Education for Children Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision | Social Life and Recreation for Preschoolers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | Transition to Independence

Grade Schoolers: When Your Blind Child Goes to School

It's an exciting time in your child's life. Your child is growing more independent, but she still relies on you. Learn how to advocate for your blind or visually impaired child as a student, a medical patient, and an individual.

Family Life with Your Visually Impaired Grade Schooler | Growth and Development | Education of Grade School Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | Social Life and Recreation | Transition to Independence

Parenting a Teenager Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

From dating to discipline to college preparation, the teenage years bring a whole new set of issues. Get tips and information about raising teens who are blind or visually impaired and preparing them for a full and independent future.

Parenting a Teenager with a Visual Impairment | Growth and Development | Education | Social Life and Recreation | Transition to Independence | Interviews with Blind Teenagers

Education of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

The Expanded Core Curriculum for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

In addition to the same basic academic subjects that sighted children learn, children who are visually impaired usually need to learn another set of skills known as the "expanded core curriculum." They are sometimes also referred to as "disability-specific skills" or "vision-related skills" because they are useful specifically for individuals who are visually impaired.

Compensatory Skills and the Expanded Core Curriculum | Orientation and Mobility for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | Assistive Technology and the Expanded Core Curriculum | Braille Literacy and the Expanded Core Curriculum | Age-Appropriate Career Education and the Expanded Core Curriculum | Independent Living Skills and the Expanded Core Curriculum | Recreation, Fitness, and Leisure and the Expanded Core Curriculum | Self-Determination and the Expanded Core Curriculum | Sensory Efficiency and the Expanded Core Curriculum | Social Interaction Skills and the Expanded Core Curriculum | Phil Hatlen's Advice on the Expanded Core Curriculum | Bringing the Expanded Core Curriculum Into Your Holidays with Your Blind or Visually Impaired Child

Know Your Rights As the Parent of a Blind or Visually Impaired Child

If you live in the United States, your child is entitled to a variety of educational services under the federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

IDEA: What Parents of Blind Children Need to Know About the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act | Accommodations and Modifications at a Glance: Educational Accommodations for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | When You Have Concerns: Problem-Solving with Your Blind Child's School | What If My Child Has Not Been Assigned a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments? | Related Services | Being an Advocate for Your Child | Early Intervention Services for Children with Visual Impairments

Your Blind Child's Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Learn more about how the formal plan for your child's education is created, and how it changes over time.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP): Early Intervention Services for Families Raising a Blind Child | Individualized Education Program (IEP) Advice for Parents of Blind Children | IEP and 504 Plan: What's the Difference, and Which Is Most Appropriate for My Visually Impaired Child? | Checklist: What to Do Before an IEP Meeting | Checklist: What to Do at an IEP Meeting | Checklist: What to Do After an IEP Meeting | A Checklist of Key Points about IEPs | Checklist: Keeping Educational Records for Your Blind or Visually Impaired Child

Your Child's Educational Team: Understanding and Working with Your Blind Child's Teachers, Specialists, and Aides

Who are the professionals on your child's educational team, and how can you work with them to help your child succeed in school?

Strategies for Success with Your Blind Child's Educational Team | What Teaching Assistants and Paraeducators Do for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | The Central Role of the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments | What Does a Blind Student's Educational Team Do? | Working as a Team: How to Resolve Differences of Opinion | Working with Your Child's Orientation and Mobility Specialist: 8 Questions to Ask | Your Child's Educational Team: Understanding and Working with Your Blind Child's Teachers, Specialists, and Aides | What Is the Most Appropriate Placement for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired? | Exploring the Options for Your Blind Child's Education | ¿Cuál es la colocación más apropiada para los niños invidentes o con deficiencias visuales?

Assessments for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Before your child can begin to receive any kind of instruction, it's important to find out what she needs to learn and the best way for her to learn it. Your child will undergo some specialized assessments that relate specifically to her visual impairment.

Functional Vision Assessment (FVA) | Learning Media Assessment (LMA) | Assistive Technology Assessment for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | Orientation and Mobility Assessment

Literacy Resources: Teaching Children Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision to Read and Write

FamilyConnect has tips for every stage of development, to help parents of children who are blind or visually impaired develop critical literacy skills.

Braille: An Overview | Beyond Braillewriter Mechanics: Guidelines for Teaching Writing | Overview of Alternate Media | Fun Activities for Teaching Magnifier Use | Choosing the Right iPad App for Teaching Braille Literacy | Touch and Read: Early Tools of Literacy for Your Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired | How Dads (and Others) Can Help Blind Children Make Mother's Day Cards that Are Meaningful for Mom

Tips for Families of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Parents and family members are the first and most important teachers of their children. So many life experiences are perfect "teachable moments" but the impact of visual impairment may present a challenge on how to use that moment. The articles here will provide you with tips on the importance of seizing the moment and ideas for how you can adapt to meet your child's needs. Regardless of the age of your child, your role as parent and teacher remains constant throughout their life.

Incidental Learning: What Is It? | Experiencing the World Firsthand: Creating Learning Opportunities for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired | What's Different About the Way Visually Impaired Children Learn? | Being Organized Helps Parents of Blind or Visually Impaired Children | Taking Your Child Who Is Blind Someplace New? Here Are 5 Tips to Help Them and You! | Six Ways to Help the School "Own" Your Child Who Is Blind | Where Do Cookies Come From? Making Cookies With Children Who Are Blind

Multiple Disabilities: When a Blind Child Has Other Disabilities

Common Types of Disabilities

Many conditions tend to occur together with visual impairment, even though they may not have been the cause of the visual impairment itself—physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, deaf-blindness, emotional or behavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and others.

Does My Child Have Additional Disabilities? | Deaf-Blindness | Physical Disabilities | Cognitive Disabilities | Learning Disabilities | Emotional or Behavioral Disorders | Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) | Traumatic Brain Injury

Family and Social Life

Family time is important, but it's also a balancing act that can be challenging at times—to make sure you and your family get the time everyone needs and that each person feels included and valued in the family.

Family Life When Your Child Has Multiple Disabilities | Working with Professionals | Parent's Perspective: Free Time Activities for Children Who Are Blind and Have Additional Disabilities | Parent's Perspective: Becoming Part of the Community | Mysterious Myat: On Having a Child with No Diagnosis | A Parent's Perspective: Man I Can Be

Learning

We're all life-long learners, but for your child who has a visual impairment and additional disabilities, the ways in which she learns and the amount of time it takes her to learn may be different from other children her age. In this section you'll find articles about ways in which you can support your child's learning, use routines as learning tools, and encourage the development of her literacy skills.

Supporting Learning and Development | Using the Senses

Independent Living Skills

Learning independent living skills can be a challenge for many children who have multiple disabilities including a visual impairment. Your child's educational team will have important information and suggestions for how you can work together on specific goals, but this area should help you support your child in learning how to eat independently, potty train, bathe, dress, and develop orientation and mobility skills.

Supporting the Development of Eating Skills | Teaching Bathing and Dressing Skills | Toilet Training When Your Child Has Multiple Disabilities | Helping Your Child Develop Orientation and Mobility Skills

The Future Starts Now: Discovering the Possibilities for Your Multiply Disabled Child

Parents in general have mixed feelings when they think about their children growing up and becoming adults. But when their children have multiple disabilities, those feelings can frequently include very serious concerns about the future. This section provides some help and guidance.

Future Living Arrangements for Your Child Who Has a Visual Impairment and Multiple Disabilities | What Is Personal Futures Planning? | Future Employment Options for Your Child Who Has a Visual Impairment and Multiple Disabilities | Planning for the Financial Future: Steps 1 Through 12 | Life Planning Checklist for a Child With Special Needs | What Parents Need to Know About Supported Employment

Communication

Communication, being able to express oneself and participating in the give and take of conversation, is an important area of development for children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities. All children are communicators from the moment they make a face, smile, utter their first cry, or gurgle with pleasure. It is never too early to begin exploring ways in which you can support your child's development of communication.

Delayed Communication Development in Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide for Parents | Alternative Methods of Communication: An Overview | Symbol Systems | Augmentative and Alternative Communication | Using A Schedule with Your Child | Routines Promote Communication and Understanding | Should My Child Learn Sign Language?

Assistive Technology for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Overview of Assistive Technology for Families with a Visually Impaired Child


Tools for Accessing Printed Information for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired


Tools for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired to Access Electronic Information


Tools for Writing for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired


Taking Care of Assistive Devices


Students Using Technology

Students who are blind or low vision discuss the technology they use.

Reading, Writing, and Connecting | A Plugged-In Music Major | Learning the Law | Young Technology Expert | A Self-Proclaimed Gadget Lover

Kitchen Appliance Accessibility for Families with Children Who Are Blind


Join Our Mission

Help us expand our resources for people with vision loss.