Helping Children Who Are Blind Family and community support for children with vision problems Written by Sandy Niemann and Namita Jacob Illustrated by Heidi Broner The Hesperian Foundation Berkeley, California, USA.
Credits and Thanks The Hesperian Foundation is especially grateful to the committed health staff of Plan International. They have been important collaborators, sharing their understanding of the needs of parents and health promoters working with children. Plan International staff in Bangladesh reviewed and field-tested early versions of this book, improving it immeasurably. In addition, Plan’s US member, Childreach, is generously helping fund the development of this series.
Credits and Thanks Field Test Sites This book was developed in collaboration with grassroots organizations and parents groups around the world. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of those involved in the field-testing process: Arthur Blaxall School, South Africa National Association of the Blind, India Association of Early Intervention, Czech Republic Nepal Association for the Welfare of the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired, Belize Blind, Nepal Blind Babies Foundation, USA St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association, St. Lucia Blind People’s Association, India Sight Savers International, Kenya Community Disability Program, Institute of Child Health, UK Special Education Organization, Islamic Republic of Iran Development Partners, Bangladesh Uganda National Institute of Special Hilton/Perkins Program, Thailand Education, Uganda Jamaica Society for the Blind, Jamaica Uganda Society for Disabled Children, KAMPI (National Federation of Organizations of Uganda Persons with Disabilities), Philippines Wa School for the Blind, Ghana Institute for the Blind, South Africa Laramara, Brazil Advisors and reviewers This book was written with the guidance of many people around the world. We wish to express our thanks to the many advisors and reviewers who shared their knowledge and expertise: Tayyab Afghani, Al-Shifa Trust Srila Kshmi Guruja Lesley Sternin and Hospital, Pakistan Gulbadan Habibi, UNICEF A.E. Tong-Summerford, Parental Stress Services Nancy Akeson Tessa Hamblin Aminuzzaman Carolina Arnold, Save the Marci Hanson, San Talukder, Helen Children, Nepal Francisco State University Keller International, Pam Bondy Sally Hartley Bangladesh Jonathan Brakarsh Ralf Hotchkiss Catherine Thomas Freda Briggs Khairul Islam, Plan Marigold Thorburn Ellen vor der Bruegge International Sheila Wirz, Centre for Joan Carey, Save the Children, UK Penny May Kaman International Child Mike Collins, Hilton/Perkins Amanda Luek Health, UK Program, USA David Morley Irene Yen Tara Dikeman Dan Perlman Medical reviewers Birgit Dyssegaard, DANIDA Julie Bernas Pierce, Blind Davida Coady Marvin Efron Babies Foundation, USA Gustavo González Roxanna Pastor Fasquelle Sherry Raynor, Blind Lesli Handmacher Children’s Fund, USA Suzanne Gilbert, SEVA Brian Linde Sandra Rosen Teresa Glass John Pratt-Johnson We would like to thank the participants in the South Asian translators meeting (New Delhi, August, 2000), for their comments on “Chapter 12: Preventing Sexual Abuse.” Thanks also to the Voluntary Health Association of India for permission to adapt the story on page 117 from their book, Child Abuse: A Growing Concern (1993).
Contents Chapter 1: How Can I Help My Child? .1 How children develop .4 How you can help .8 How vision problems What about my child’s future? .9 affect development .6 Chapter 2: Getting Started .11 How can this book help? .11 Fitting activities into your daily life .13 Which activities should I do first? .12 Chapter 3: General Guidelines for Learning Activities .15 You are the expert about your child .15 Let your child know what is happening around him .19 Let your child take the lead .15 Remember how children learn .20 Adapt activities for your child .16 Chapter 4: Finding Out What Your Child Can See .23 Is my child totally blind, Helping your child or can she see a little? .24 use the sight she has .28 What does my child see? .25 Will my child’s sight get worse? .30 .
Chapter 10: Movement .89 Activities to help your Helping your child learn to stand .92 baby move by himself .90 Hand and finger skills .98 Chapter 11: Helping Your Child Know Where She Is (Orientation) .101 How a child learns Touch and feeling .108 to know where she is .102 Smell .110 Sight .105 Other orientation skills .111 Hearing .106 How the community can help .114 Chapter 12: Preventing Sexual Abuse .115 Some facts about sexual abuse .116 Preventing sexual abuse .119 Sexual abuse has lasting effects .117 How can I know if my child has been sexually abused? .123 Why is my child at risk for sexual abuse? .118 To make all the children in the community safer .124 .
HoW To USe THiS Book When using this book, try to read Chapters 1 through 4 first. These chapters have important background information on how to help your child learn. Then turn to Chapters 5 through 8, and Chapters 10 and 11, to find examples of activities to help your child learn new skills. The remainder of this book contains information to help caregivers support one another, to help parents learn from one another and work together, and to increase your knowledge of blindness and vision problems. ABoUT THe piCTUreS Since this book was written for people around the world who care for children with vision problems, the drawings show people from many cultures. We hope these drawings will remind you that people all over the world face the same challenges you do. A noTe ABoUT THe lAngUAge We USe in THiS Book Most books about children who are blind talk about the children as if they are all boys and use the word “he” to refer to any child. This happens because society holds men to be more important than women and that belief is built into our language.
1 Chapter 1 How Can I Help My Child? The Stories of Kamala and Rani Kamala Kamala and her parents Suma and Anil live in a small village in southern India. When Kamala was very young, her parents noticed that she never reached for the toys they offered her. So they took Kamala is her to the doctor in a nearby town to see blind, but Try to your other what was wrong. think of children can other The doctor told them that see.