If you’ve just learned that your child is blind or has low vision, this is undoubtedly a difficult time for you and your family. You may be unsure of how to tell family members and friends about your child’s eye condition and unsure of where to go for support. You may be wondering how your child’s eye condition is going to impact your family and your child’s future.

Your Child, Your Message

Most people will follow your example of how to treat your child and the topic of blindness or low vision, so think about the message you want to give them about your baby.

  • Give the facts: Tell people the name of your baby’s eye condition and how it affects how your child sees. Depending on your relationship and how much information you want to share, you can also tell them what you’ve learned about raising a child who has blindness or low vision. You might want to share the FamilyConnect website address with them so that they learn more about visual impairment.
  • Let people know what you want from them. Tell them what your baby needs. If you want them to treat your child the same as they treat other children, tell them. If you want them to understand how to interact with a child with blindness or low vision, ask them to talk to your child and explain what they’re doing.
  • Share what you need: If you want a friend to just listen, tell the person you’re not asking for advice, just a sympathetic ear. If you want some time to yourself to work through difficult feelings, let family and friends know that having them watch your kids for an occasional afternoon would be a big help. No one is a mind reader, so it’s important to communicate clearly about what you and your baby need.
  • Share what you don’t need: If you don’t need advice or don’t want to hear stories about medical miracles that happened to other families, let others know.

Some people may think that when you tell them about your baby’s blindness or low vision, you’re asking them to help fix the problem. Explain that your baby’s blindness or low vision probably can’t be “fixed” with eyeglasses or surgery. But your baby can learn to use whatever vision they have, plus other senses, and become just about anything they want to be.

Though it may be difficult at times to maintain, a positive attitude can help make life better for you and your baby. Don’t focus on what your child can’t do; instead, concentrate on what your child can do. You can help others do the same by sharing your baby’s successes with them.

These are natural concerns, and so, we’ve gathered some information here to help you begin to process your child’s recent diagnosis.

Building Family Relationships with a Visually Impaired Child