How a Sighted Child Learns From Their Blind Parent

Two boys play with toys
Two boys play with toys. Glow Image/Getty Images

A calm and confident mother learns by taking each day at a time. As a visually-impaired mom, you may feel more ‘in the dark’ than sighted mothers while you develop other sensory skills to be alert to your child’s needs.

Let me assure you from personal experience that a visually-impaired or blind mom trains her family in a way that benefits them all. Raising healthy and well-adjusted children when you have a visual impairment makes you even more determined and creative by problem-solving visual tasks together.

There can be days when that task you wish you could do on your own for your child’s sake, like being able to read a book at bedtime, can be disheartening for the adult attempting to provide a visual experience for their child. At this point, you learn to do things differently.

Listening to The Advice of a Young Boy

On one memorable occasion, while I was reading my 4-year-old son’s favorite book at bedtime, he gave me the best advice ever. I had been peering through a magnifying glass at the print while my son patiently waited for each word to be read to him. But after a long and slow struggle, I put the book down and sighed, “I’m so sorry, sweetheart, this is too difficult for mommy to read.”

Then my little boy jumped up from under the blanket, threw his arms around my neck in a loving bear hug and comforted me with words I have never forgotten. With his blue eyes alight, he said, “Mommy, don’t ever give up!” As we cuddled, he encouraged me by adding, “Please tell me one of your stories instead.”

In that moment my son taught me that the most important thing to remember is that our children don’t mind if we are blind or visually-impaired. As long as their needs are met and they know they have a loving parent who can nurture them every day, our tasks can be done by adjusting to a different approach to parenting.

5 Easy Ways to Share Visual Tasks

Young children are naturally curious – so why not put their inquisitive nature to work for both of you. Like cooperative detectives, you can work things out together. They love being mommy’s eyes!

Your child learns to adapt with you by:

  • Listening closely & describing objects in detail
  • Bypassing sight by bringing shapes up close to feel them
  • Stopping play briefly to give you a running commentary
  • Finding misplaced items
  • Turning everything into a random game

There are so many ways you can turn playtime into an education where your child learns by feeling as well as seeing the world around them. Having low vision can put you at a sensory advantage.

12 Fun Ways to use a multi-sensory approach to Education

  1. Planting seedlings in the garden together
  2. Using large 3D jigsaw puzzles
  3. Modelling with clay and Playdoh
  4. Baking shapes into yummy cookies
  5. Building with wooden blocks and plastic shapes
  6. Creating scrapbooks from cut out cards and tactile stickers
  7. Drawing with puffy-paint
  8. Playing with puppets to create stories
  9. Singing songs and making up fun rhymes
  10. Using braille cards, large dice & tactile board games
  11. Kicking balls with bells inside
  12. Making up your own bedtime stories!

As you share the experience of learning through all the senses, your child discovers the fun way to interact with you, not from sight, but through playful insights – where both of you will  constantly keep on finding fabulous ways to learn while you play!

You can begin right now and get your hands on these tactile board games and other fun stuff.

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