Resources for Families & CBR Workers in Developing Countries

Because most children with disabilities in the developing world have no access to formal education, parents and families are critically important to their learning and development. The information in this section helps families understand the needs of their children with blindness, visual impairment, or deafblindness. Included are activities, strategies, and advice for encouraging their development and mobility.
Below are the topics you'll find in this section. Click on a title to jump to a specific topic.

Activities to Foster Development 

Hesperian Foundation
Chapter 5 of this downloadable text, Helping Children Who Are Blind, ("Activities for the Young Baby") focuses on helping babies to trust people and their surroundings, respond to sounds, and develop motor skills. Numerous line drawings; in English and Spanish. (India)
Suggestions for helping children develop the organizational skills necessary for success, both at school and in later life.
Hesperian Foundation
"Early Stimulation and Development Activities" is Chapter 35 of David Werner’s book, Disabled Village Children, and focuses on ways to stimulate the development of young children. Clear line drawings illustrate each point; in English and Spanish
Blind People’s Association (India)
A 152-page book about skill-building activities in every developmental area for children with visual impairments and additional disabilities (PDF file).
International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)
A Peruvian mother who is blind tells of specific activities and techniques that aided her son with retinoblastoma; color photographs included (PDF file).
World Health Organization (WHO)
Addresses early detection, assessment, mobility, self-help, and communication; includes a short section on children with CP and visual impairments. PDF version (illustrated; not accessible to screen readers).
Important contributions parents can make in the early development of a child with visual impairments.
International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)
The importance of toys and play in the development of children with visual impairment, and the need for family-school collaboration.
Hesperian Foundation
This section from Helping Children Who Are Blind includes ideas for making toys that encourage development; in English and Spanish.

Advocating for Educational Rights 

International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)
The author’s son has a visual impairment and additional disabilities, and she had difficulty finding services in the Philippines. She shares her experiences and recommendations with other parents (PDF file).

Community Organization 

Enabling Education Network
A 122-page guide for family members searching for a support group or advocacy organization. Includes the inspirational stories of seven such organizations in southern Africa, South Asia, Europe and Australia (PDF file).
This chapter from CBR: A Participatory Strategy in Africa features the Uganda Deaf/Blind Parents Association, and shows the importance of parents in community-based rehabilitation (PDF file).
Hesperian Foundation
"Starting Village-Based Rehabilitation Activities" is chapter 45 of David Werner’s book, Disabled Village Children, which describes two models of rehabilitation and offers suggestions to help community members organize themselves; also in Spanish.
World Health Organization (WHO)
A planning and training guide for community-based rehabilitation. The material aimed at family members has information about rehabilitation procedures that will maximize independence; also in French.

Daily Living Skills 

International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)
Professor S.M. Chadi de Paula Arruda studies activities of daily living, focusing on hand washing and the importance of introducing  objects involved in the activity. (India)
Advice for parents in teaching self-care skills, such as hygiene, grooming, selection of clothing, eating, and managing money.

Orientation and Mobility 

Orientation and Mobility
The League of Friends of the Blind (South Africa)
This introduction to Orientation and Mobility is written for families and friends of people who are blind.

Understanding Needs of Adults Who are Blind 

Blind People’s Association (India)
This 479-page handbook is a comprehensive guide to visual impairment: causes, prevention, orientation and mobility, activities of daily living, braille, assistive devices, education, employment, community-based rehabilitation, and more.

Understanding Needs of Children Who Are Blind 

Hesperian Foundation
This online book for parents and teachers is full of information about vision, development, learning activities, communication, safety, movement, and much more; also in Spanish
A checklist to help parents and others determine whether or not a child may have a visual impairment.
World Health Organization (WHO)
This 48-page training package helps community rehabilitation workers and families understand low vision. Explains intervention strategies, mobility, and independent living skills; also in French
PDF version (illustrated; not accessible to screen readers)

Understanding Needs of Children who are Deafblind 

Sense International (India)
This 10-page booklet describes diseases, syndromes, and genetic conditions that cause deafblindness; information for teachers about affected students’ prognoses, vision, hearing, and overall health. This and other titles are available for download, but must be ordered online. 
Institucion Fatima (Argentina)
This recorded webinar explores how a siblings support network was established for families of individuals who are deafblind. This presentation is in Spanish with English subtitles.