Families of children with visual impairments and additional disabilities have all the concerns other parents do, but they face a host of other challenges and issues as well. Like other parents, the parents of children with visual impairments have certain overriding concerns: How will my child succeed in school? Make friends? Have a happy and successful life? If you are a parent of a child who is visually impaired and has additional disabilities, you in all likelihood have questions, and possibly a range of powerful emotions, in addition to those experienced daily by most families.

The often-complex needs of children with multiple disabilities can have a big impact on their families, and there is no one system of care in this country that automatically identifies what families need and immediately provides the services that fit the bill. For this reason, many families can experience a great variety of pressures. As important as it is to provide for your child who has multiple disabilities, you also need to take good care of yourself and the rest of your family too.

Support from family, friends, doctors, religious counselors, and other families of children who are visually impaired with additional disabilities is invaluable. Agencies serving people who are visually impaired, organizations serving individuals with disabilities, physicians or pediatricians, early interventionists, and local librarians can help families in finding support groups related to their children’s disabilities. Because it can often seem as though the only person who really understands what you are experiencing is someone who has been there too, another parent, especially one who has a child older than yours and who has already been through what you are now living, may seem like a lifeline of sorts. Lifelines are important for all of us.

As you and your child make your way through life, you may find that you and the rest of your family constantly need to adjust to new circumstances and events, as we all do. With time, persistence, and the awareness that sources of support, information, and advice are available to you, you may find that you have arrived at a promising future.

This section provides information to help you balance the needs of your visually impaired child with multiple disabilities and family life.