A Letter to Parents of Teenagers Who are Newly Blind or Visually Impaired

You say your child is acting different now, angrier and perhaps aggressive. He wasn’t like that before.

You say your child is shutting others out now, avoiding anxiety by dismissing the diagnosis. You’ve never seen her like this before.

It’s grief.

The grief feels like a mountain to your teen, impossible to climb. You know because you are grieving too.

A diagnosis of a visual impairment is a big deal. Identify your emotions; help your teen identify his or her emotions; don’t dismiss them.

Let me tell you, however, there is hope. This grief is not the end of the story. I believe your teen’s vision loss will not stay a big deal, the center of attention. It will become a part of your beloved teen, one of the many, many parts of your child.

When you’re ready, I think you should connect with local families who have teens with vision loss. I also think it would be helpful for your son or daughter to meet or learn about an adult who is visually impaired and very comfortable in his or her skin. Let your child see that he’s not alone and that there are others with vision loss enjoying their lives, their families, and their jobs.

FamilyConnect is the perfect place to begin connecting with other families who are going through very similar situations. It’s also a good place to learn how your teen can cope and how she can access her world with vision loss.

Here are FamilyConnect resources I think would be very helpful:

  1. The Emotional Impact of a Child’s Blindness
  2. The Love Your Child Who is Blind or Visually Impaired Needs; read the comments! http://www.familyconnect.org/blog/familyconnect-a-parents-voice/to-my-son-with-love/12 To My Son With Love
  3. How We Felt Learning Our Child Would be Blind
  4. Success Stories of Adults Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
  5. Parenting a Teen Who is Blind or Visually Impaired
  6. Calendar of Events (to connect with local families)
  7. Our message board, a great place to talk with other family members or get advice:
  8. CareerConnect, the section of American Foundation for the Blind that is geared to teens
  9. Lastly, your child can read this letter I wrote for him or her: This One Goes Out to the Ones I love; This One Goes Out to the Ones [Feeling] Left Behind: A letter to Middle and High School Teens who are Blind or Visually Impaired.

You are not in this alone. Please, please get connected with FamilyConnect or any organization where you can learn and meet others walking beside you.