Tip #8: Live Your Life and Allow Your Child to do the Same

 With July upon us, I couldn’t resist squeezing this final tip into the series!
All of our tips are meant to be incorporated into your vibrant, rich lives.  They are not meant to be at the forefront of your mind or schedule at all times.  Focus on the approach you’d like to take and the advice that seems to make sense for your child, integrate it into your lives, and then move forward.

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Tip #7: Seek Out Mentors

My very first mentor was an attorney from Utah.  Mormon.  Married, with children and grandchildren.

I was a 24-year-old teacher from the Midwest, entering a Master’s program, newly married and just on the cusp of adult life.

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Tip #6: Give Your Child Age Appropriate Opportunities for Exploration

I’ve always loved magazine quizzes – anything from “take this quiz to find out if he really likes you” as a pre-teen to “learn which decorating style suits your home” in my housekeeping magazines.  When I was trying to think of an interesting way to present this week’s tip, I decided to design my own little quiz.  If quizzes make you nervous, calm down.  This is a self-graded quiz in which there are no “right” answers.  These questions are designed to help you constructively evaluate the boundaries you set for your child.  I tried to incorporate different age scenarios, so that there is something that applies to everyone’s current stage. Continue reading

Tip #5:  Talk About Blindness in Positive Ways in Everyday Conversation

Your child’s blindness doesn’t have to be the elephant in the room, even if your child struggles to talk about it.  I think it’s possible to help normalize a tough topic when you find ways to bring it into casual conversation.  While you don’t want your child’s eyes to be the thing you’re constantly talking about and obsessing over, you also don’t want it to be the thing you never bring up.

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Tip #4:  There’s No Such Thing As Over-Communication With Your Children’s Vision Itinerant

Growing up, my sister and I had a Vision Itinerant who was responsible for meeting with our teachers and parents to go over our IEPs and any necessary modifications. She came to meet with us monthly in elementary school and every so often in middle school and high school.  I always dreaded her visits, Continue reading

 

Tip #3: Provide Opportunities For Your Child To Play Sports

Sports may not be the first word that pops into your head when thinking of extra-curricular activities for a child with vision loss.  While some traditional childhood sports like baseball and soccer may not be options for children with low vision, that does not mean they want to sit on the sidelines. Continue reading

Tip #2: Make Braille a Priority

Young children are like sponges when it comes to languages and literacy, so  if your child has a degenerative eye condition such as RP, allow them to learn Braille early on, instead of waiting until their vision declines or until adulthood, when it will take far more time and effort. Continue reading

In honor of Mother’s and Father’s Day, during the months of May and June, we’d like to give all the moms and dads of children with RP and other eye conditions a gift:  some free advice from 2 people who grew up with low vision.  

Each week, we will be featuring a different tip.  We would LOVE your feedback, comments, and any questions you might have.


 

Tip #1 Find Comrades for Your Child

Spending countless hours researching adaptations and technology for your children is time well spent, but if you’re taking the time to do those things, then also take a few minutes to connect your child with peers they can relate to regarding their vision. Continue reading

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A friend recently gave me an article on 4 blind moms featured in “Real Simple” magazine.  I was immediately struck by the beauty and strength of each woman, and I was a bit jealous of them for having such close blind friends.  One of the women, Joy (great name!), talked about how they are each in awe of one another’s feats.  “It’s like each of us has mastered a skill or has a bravery that the others don’t.”  They all have guide dogs and are starting a national group called “Mommies With Guides”.
One of the things they discussed in the article was what they do differently as parents without sight.  This got me thinking about my own parenting, and while I do have some vision, there are definitely some skills I have had to develop as a mom with low vision in order to be a good mom.  Some of these are still works in progress, but they’re definitely the “muscles” that get the most use, and therefore the most strength.

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Winter funk first hit me a few weeks ago (no, not that scary, Australian super-virus though the threat of it definitely adds to the funk). Like many Midwesterners with cabin fever, I tried escaping it by going on a short girls’ getaway (though we couldn’t afford anywhere warm!). And that sufficed while I was away, but the day-to-day was still waiting for me when I returned.  Continue reading