Helping Visually Impaired  Children Cope With Low Vision

Visually impaired children have a different experience in life than adults with low vision. Most adults with low vision have had experience seeing, while children may have never had their full vision to begin with. Children who have vision loss need special assistance and unfortunately, a lot of children with low vision are not diagnosed early enough. In fact, according to one study, the US Department of Education may be underreporting cases of low vision by over 80 percent.

Children who have low vision are held back from learning, don’t function properly and can even be labeled as learning disabled. For children to properly thrive, they need a proper diagnosis as well as treatment.

Helping Children Cope with Low Vision

A child with vision loss, even minor, needs the support of their parents and community. They need to be able to mentally accept that they are different from other kids in their class, and learn how to view that as a positive experience. These children must also learn how to cope with their low vision and overcome the challenges associated with it. 

Through proper education, visually impaired children can learn to cope with low vision and not fear that they are different or that they won’t be able to function the same as everyone else.

Visually Impaired Children Have Different Needs

While you don’t want to treat a child different or make them feel different, the fact is that a visually impaired child has different needs that a child that is not visually impaired. Some special changes they need include, but are not limited to:

  • Mobility – They need to learn how to use mobile tools so that they can navigate.
  • Social Skills – Learning how to socialize, make the right facial expressions, etc. so that they are not alienated by their peers.
  • Literacy Skills – A visually impaired child still needs to learn how to read, whether using optical devices, Braille or other assistive technology.
  • Living Skills – Visually impaired children must be prepared for their adult life, learn how to manage money, do chores and even cook with their low vision.

How Technology Helps Visually Impaired Children

Technology can really assist with visual impairment of all ages, but especially in children. There are numbers assistive technology devices that help children learn, read and even watch television like normal kids. While a lot of technology is expensive, there are also inexpensive alternatives, like apps for low vision children. For example, Color ID Free is an app available on the Apple Store that helps children identify colors around them. Because colors are important, especially when navigating and learning their environment, this app can help a child keep up with their peers. You can get Color ID Free today as well as other assistive technology apps for children with low vision.

visually impaired girl in school

Mental Aspect to Low Vision

A child with any amount of vision loss, from minor loss to complete blindness, is going to need support from parents and teachers when it comes to mentally accepting how they’re different from their peers, as well as how to live an empowering existence.

These children must be taught that they can overcome their challenges and be shown how much they have to offer the world.

Through proper education, they can overcome any feelings of frustration, fear or anger in order to focus their attention not on what they’ve lost, but on their unique gifts and how to live a positive and rewarding life.

When we consider that many blind and visually impaired children are attending regular, local schools, and that most of these schools are ill-equipped with materials or teachers, it’s vital that all of us seek the best way to help these kids.

What We All Can Do

  • Become active in funding – For those able to, helping to supplement the funding of teacher training, visually impaired specialty schools, as well as programs in regular local schools, is vital.

  • Help parents of visually impaired or blind kids understand the resources available.

  • Help parents, teachers and schools understand what’s available in terms of modern technology.

Technology Can Help Visually Impaired Children

This is an area I’m especially passionate about. Our children can use a vast array of technological advancements to absolutely thrive in life. Learn more here.

There are screen readers for computers, magnifers for reading, GPS systems for location and travel, and hand-held video magnifiers for reading everything from medication bottles to food labels.

While much of this technology is expensive, there are also resources we can expose parents and children to that will help with grants and funding.

If you’d like to read about many of these technological options, I invite you to fill out the form below and I’ll send it to you.

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