Great Resources Supporting Parents and Families

Having a child with a vision problem can be an especially lonely experience. In addition to all the usual challenges of raising a child, you know you will have to take on many more, and you’re not even sure what they all are to say nothing of having little or no idea where to get the answers. If you live in the Knoxville or East Tennessee area, there is Club VIBES. Call us at 865-590-9665 or email at info@club-vibes.org.

They’re sometimes hard to locate, but there are other organizations devoted to helping parents.

The National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairment (NAPVI), in conjunction with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) have created Family Connect.

This is a great web site where parents support each other, share stories and concerns, find resources to assist them in raising their children from birth to adulthood. Whether your child has been recently diagnosed, has been living with a visual impairment for years, or has multiple disabilities, you can talk with other parents on message boards, read blog posts written by other parents describing their challenges and accomplishments, or see positive ideos about other families and their children. The site has much more than this, but, if we were to recommend only a single source for parents, this would be it.

Everything Blind includes material on health and fitness, independent living, computers and education, vocational rehabilitation and more. The strength of the site is that it provides information on topics seldom found elsewhere on the Web.

We’ll have a lot to say about getting quality education from your school system, one of the biggest problems confronting any parent, but, for now, we’ll recommend a very readable source, Parents As Advocates: A guide to Special Education in Maine, written by a special education attorney. Although written with the state of Maine in mind, most everything here is applicable elsewhere.

In addition to what is outlined above, one of the great assets of these resources is that they make it possible to get individual help. Sometimes this is done by communicating directly with the web master and, more frequently, you can communicate with other parents and family members. We, of course, can’t verify the quality of the feedback you’ll get, but there’s a lot to be said for benefiting from others’ experiences.

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