Family Resources

Having a family member who is blind or visually impaired can affect many areas of family life. Parents and relatives face a variety of challenges when making decisions about education, rehabilitation and other services. Older adults may want information on resources, tools, or ways to learn new skills they need to live independently. These websites for families include information on workshops, services, education, and many other resources.

Christine Faltz, who is herself blind and the mother of two children who are blind, offers numerous specific suggestions to help young children learn about the world.

Source: National Foundation of the Blind (NFB)

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.

Source: Hesperian Foundation

This article explains how learning about communication and language differs for a baby who is visually impaired, and offers suggestions for helping your child learn to communicate.

Source: FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

This article has practical suggestions for parents of preschoolers for developing social skills.

Source: FamilyConnect

This article provides suggestions for making experiences in the community more meaningful for children with visual impairments.

Source: FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

Starting with the home and expanding to the neighborhood, this article tells parents how to help preschoolers know where they are, how they got there, and how they can find the way back.

Source: FamilyConnect

This article offers practical tips for helping a child to be more independent in the bathroom, including how to use unfamiliar bathrooms.

Source: FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

O&M skills begin when a baby learns to balance and walk. Advice for enhancing confidence and development.

Source: FamilyConnect

Highbrook Lodge is a traditional residential summer camp experience for adults, children and families who are blind or visually impaired.

Source: Cleveland Sight Center

Find out more about the history of teaching science at Perkins School for the Blind, including a tactile museum featuring objects from the natural world and science disciplines.

Source: Perkins History Museum—Perkins School for the Blind

Authored by Kay L. Clarke of the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education, this downloadable booklet includes detailed instructions for creating structures for safe and independent play.

Source: Ohio Center for Deafblind Education

A survey for identifying safety issues with many ideas for solutions and adaptations.

Source: VisionAware

This page offers information to help parents understand how their baby experiences the world and includes activities for encouraging exploration.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

This 20-page guidebook helps parents and early intervention professionals encourage play in the lives of children with disabilities.  Included are descriptions of six types of emerging play, advice on play materials, positioning options, and adaptations (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

The reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on Dec. 3, 2004 and ensures “services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.” 

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Future Reflections, 18(1) (1999).

Barbara Ebenstein lists ten strategies for parents regarding the development and monitoring of the IEP; reprinted from Exceptional Parent Magazine.

Source: National Organization of Parents of Blind Children

This article by DeAnn Hyatt-Foley offers a brief overview of the three components of the IEP: evaluation, curriculum, and placement. It includes a checklist for parents of information that should be written in the IEP document; available in Spanish.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

This webpage offers NCDB products, links to articles and other publications, and Internet resources.

Source: National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

In this two-page fact sheet, parents learn what they can do before, during, and after the IEP team meeting, with real life examples. Available in Spanish, Hmong, Somali.

Source: Center for Parent Information and Resources

This document contains a two page checklist for families to use to prepare for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, to keep track of items discussed during the meeting and to monitor items requiring follow up. A form to list resources is included. This material references the original Deafblindness: Educational Service Guidelines publication.

A Spanish version is also available. Spanish (PDF)

Source: Perkins School for the Blind