|Tips#1: Read Together Every Day|
|Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close together. Bedtime is an especially great time for reading together.|
|Tips#2: Give Everything A Name|
|You can build comprehension skills early, even with the littlest child. Play games that involve naming or pointing to objects. Say things like, "Where's your nose?" and then, "Where's Mommy's nose?" Or touch your child's nose and say, "What's this?"|
1. Locate a Pediatric Ophthalmologist specializing in your child's specific eye condition.
2. Research low vision specialist in your area. This provider evaluates visual acuities, visual fields, functional vision skills and the potential need for prescriptive glasses or sunglasses. The low vision specialist will also evaluate the need for low vision devices (magnifiers or closed circuit television) once your child reaches school age.
3. Contact your county/local Early Intervention provider to initiate developmental evaluations to determine the need for, or establish the type of Early Intervention services available or recommended for your child. These professionals are primarily there to provide you with information, techniques and sometimes materials that will assist you with your baby's overall developmental skills.
4. Contact parent support groups (specifically addressing blindness and visual impairment) in your state. These groups provide advocacy, family support, social activities, educational and informational materials. Many families make long lasting friendships between parents and children.
5. Be sure that you are in contact with a Teacher of the Blind & Visually Impaired through your state, county or local Commission or Early Intervention program. A Teacher of the Blind should be able to provide you with an evaluation of your child's functional vision skills within the home setting. This functional vision evaluation should include: functional vision information (observations on how your child uses his/her vision in their home setting), environmental considerations and modifications, functional vision stimulation activities and suggestions of appropriate materials to maximize functional vision use.
|Tips#3: Say How Much You Enjoy Reading Together|
|Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Look forward to this time you spend together. Talk about "story time" as the favorite part of your day.|
|Tips#4: Be Interactive|
|Engage your child so he or she will actively listen to a story. Discuss what's happening, point out things on the page, and answer your child's questions. Ask questions of your own and listen to your child's responses.|
6. Consider joining one of the following: National Federation of the Blind or the American Foundation for the Blind/Family Connect. These organizations keep members informed of general information, resources and current issues and technology updates in the field of blindness and visual impairment. There are often message boards and forums for specific eye conditions.
7. Become familiar with companies that provide daily living and educational products specifically related to blindness and visual impairment. These companies, their websites and catalogues are resources that demonstrate the most up-to-date educational, daily life and vocational products for this population including daily living, low vision, Braille materials, educational and technology. American Printing House for the Blind (APH), Maxi Aids, Seedlings Braille Books for Children and Independent Living Aids (ILA) are a few of the companies with such products. Request to be placed on a free catalogue mailing list.
8. Check out free Braille book resources through Seedling's Braille books for children and the Braille Institute. These companies offer tactile, Braille and twin vision (print and Braille) books in un-contracted and contracted format. There are a variety of Braille book companies in addition to several that offer free Braille books with completion of an application process. Request to be placed on a free Braille book catalogue mailing list.
9. Become familiar with companies offering great sensory- tactile and auditory toys for blind and visually impaired children.
10. It's never too early to contact your local school district to explore available pre-school and school age services and programs available to your child. Talk with families and friends about local school aged options.
|Tips#5: Read It Again And Again And Again|
|Your child will probably want to hear a favorite story over and over. Go ahead and read the same book for the 100th time! Research suggests that repeated readings help children develop language skills.|
|Tips#6: Talk About Writing, Too|
|Draw your child's attention to the way writing works. When looking at a book together, point out how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces.|