Teachers and doctors are experts in their respective fields. You are the expert in knowing your child. Look to teachers and doctors to add their knowledge to yours. Early intervention is helpful and necessary for both the parents and the child. If you are like most parents when faced with your child being diagnosed as blind or visually impaired, and then perhaps subsequently with developmental disabilities, you may become overwhelmed. I believe it is important at this time of your adjustment to stop and take a breath.

Stop and just enjoy your child for a period of time: maybe an hour, maybe a week, or maybe a month. If possible, take a break from all the appointments and get to know your child again. Get on a schedule. Get up at the same time every day, feed your baby at the same times every day, bathe your baby at the same time every day. Setting routines allows your baby to understand how the day works; he or she learns to predict and look forward to certain times of the day, to feel comfortable, and begins to know “what comes next.” Routine and structure are important to children who are blind or visually impaired. Routine and structure provide security and offer a sense of control. But routine and structure do not mean rigid. It’s okay to break away, too.

Susan Singler
Mother of a 24-year-old son with retinopathy of prematurity and additional disabilities
Nashville, Tennessee