by Carmen Willings
When parents first learn their child is blind or has a visual impairment, they face an emotional impact and may have a difficult time trying to cope with the diagnosis. Families will typically search for support and resources to learn more about the specific diagnosis and also seek to learn how to help their child learn and provide the best support and resources for their child. I have included resources for parents specific on parenting children with visual impairments as well as books about parenting children with special needs. Please let me know if there are additional resource books you would like to see added to this page.
Anthony, Chen, Fazzi, et al. First Steps. The Blind Children's Center, 1993. This handbook for teaching young children who are visually impaired provides a foundation and an overview of issues and concerns to families. Topics include early childhood development, professionals, the eye, the family, behavior management, speech/language, sensorimotor development, O&M skills, self-help skills, IEPs and materials and devices for children with visual impairments.
Just Enough to Know Better: A Braille Primer
Curran, Eileen. Just Enough to Know Better: A Braille Primer. Natl Braille Pr; Braille edition, 1988. This book is designed to teach parents and caregivers the basics of braille. Through sight, you will learn to identify braille alphabet, numbers, contractions, and even a few exceptions to braille rules. It includes exercises in braille, flashcards and a cheat-sheet.
Orientation and Mobility Primer for Families and Young Children
Dobson-Burk, Bonnie. Orientation and Mobility Primer for Families and Young Children. American Foundation for the Blind, 1989. This book describes the skills children with visual impairments need to move safely and efficiently. Includes sensory training, concept development, motor development, and orientation skills. It also includes suggestions for encouraging a child to move, to identify the sources of sounds, to keep track of objects, and to play successfully with others.
Brothers & Sisters
Dwight, Laura. Brothers & Sisters. This book features siblings with a range of disabilities including visual impairment. The siblings play, squabble, and work together to solve differences.
Reach Out and Teach
Ferrell, Kay. Reach Out and Teach AFB Press, 2011. This guide teaches parents and teachers how to promote the development of young children with visual and multiple impairments.
Children with Visual Impairments: A Parents' Guide
Holbrook, M. Cay. Children with Visual Impairments: A Parents' Guide (Special Needs Collection). Woodbine House, 1995. Topics include: diagnosis and treatment; family life and adjustment; your child's development; Early Intervention and Special Education; literacy; Orientation & Mobility; multiple and visual disabilities; legal issues and planning for the future.
Special Children, Challenged Parents
Naseef, Robert. Special Children, Challenged Parents: The Struggles and Rewards of Raising a Child With a Disability. Written by a clinical psychologist and parent of a son with autism, the reflections and perspectives are applicable to families with other disabilities. It discusses the impact of the disability on the entire family.
Peoples, Sandra. Held: Learning to Live in God's Grip: A Bible Study for Special-Needs Parents. This Bible study is written for for special-needs parents by special-needs parents. The study can be done alone, as a couple, or in a group.
Different Dream Parenting
Philo, Jolene. Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs. Jolene Philo offers guidance and encouragement through biblical insights and her own personal experiences. The book helps the reader find spiritual wisdom, practical resources, and tools that can help you become an extraordinary advocate for your child.
Learning to Play
Recchia, Susan L. Learning to Play. Blind Children's Center, 1987. The booklet focuses on exploring toys and materials, making transitions from one activity to another and playing with other children.
The New Language of Toys
Schwarts and Miller. The New Language of Toys: Teaching Communication Skills to Children with special Needs: A Guide for Parents and Teachers. Woodbine House, 1996. A guide about using everyday toys to develop communication skills in children with disabilities and making playtime a fun, exciting and educational experience.
Special Parent, Special Child
Sullivan, Tom. Special Parent, Special Child. Tarcher, 1996. In this book, parents of children with disabilities share their trails and discoveries with others, revealing their special struggles, their methods for overcoming problems, and their advice to others.
Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations
Winter, Judy. Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations. This book provides detailed information on how to let go of the "perfect-baby" dream, face and resolve grief, avoid the use of limiting and outdated labels and provides guidelines on working with professionals.
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