Welcome Message from Carl Augusto Video

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Narrator 1: A welcome message from AFB President and CEO Carl R. Augusto.

Various children with visual impairments playing with their family members at the park, at the aquarium, and at home.

Narrator 2: When your child has a visual impairment, as a parent, you may feel overwhelmed, all alone. You probably have lots of questions like “What can I expect for my child’s future?” and “How do I best advocate for his or her needs?” And you may have a strong desire to connect with other parents of visually impaired children…but don’t know how. The American Foundation for the Blind and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments understand these concerns.

Narrator 1: A web page showing a man and woman smiling with a toddler boy.

Narrator 2: That’s why we’ve created the FamilyConnect web site. It’s designed to give parents of visually impaired children a place to support each other, share their stories and concerns, and find resources on raising their children from birth to adulthood.

AFB President and CEO Carl Augusto welcomes you.

Carl Augusto: So what we’re trying to do on the web site is make that connection—create a community so that parents of blind kids can interact with each other.

A lot of mainstream settings like Social Service agencies don’t deal with kids who are blind or visually impaired, so these parents feel so alone, that no one understands, and they’re desperate for hope.

Narrator 2: On the FamilyConnect web site, you can access age-specific information for infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers, grade schoolers, and teenagers. And through a large selection of message boards, you can connect with other parents whose children have the same visual impairment as your child. You’ll also be able to find important information on education and locating services and events in your community.

There’s an entire section on technology where you can explore the latest advances in assistive technologies. And FamilyConnect features videos of families just like yours sharing their experiences and wisdom. There are also inspirational interviews with children who have visual impairments.

Narrator 1: Carl Augusto

Carl Augusto: It’s important for parents to have high expectations for their kids. Don’t over protect them. Expect that they’ll go out and work. Expect that they’ll achieve to their maximum potential. That’s also very important. Normalizing a child’s environment, making sure that your child engages in the same activities as sighted kids, and plays with the toys that sighted kids play, and interacts with the sighted kids. That’s also very important.

Narrator 1: A photo of a teenage girl playing beep ball.

Carl Augusto: There are three characteristics I talk to parents about; patience—very, very important. Things don’t happen overnight. Perseverance: never giving up. You’ve got to keep on plugging away. And then finally, love. You know, my parents didn’t do the right things in many instances, but their love for me overshadowed any of their shortcomings, and that’s probably the most important gift you can give your child.

Copyright 2008 by American Foundation for the Blind familyconnect.org