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  • Writer's pictureThabo Baseki

Not Only You

Thoughts and ideas in this article are not limited to blindness, they can be extended to other forms of disabilities.

A young blind student assists her blind companionat school
A sighted student assists a fellow blind student at the Kilimahewa Educational Center in Tanzania

So, you are doing your part to provide support for parents with blind children, but is it enough to end it there? Possibly your child may encounter a blind person at school, at the shopping center, or somewhere in public space. These little ones may develop some friendship and begin playing together. What will happen if your child has not been taught to associate with a blind one?

  • They may start playing games that are not suitable to be played by a blind child, and as such, the young one might feel left out

  • Sighted peers may not see the need to filter words that could potentially hurt a blind child

  • They may not render help to a blind child even in dangerous places, such as when they are crossing the road

Involve Your Child

Children are very observant, and no doubt, your child is keen to know about a lot of things, including those that you do not have answers to.

  1. If your child notices a blind person and ask questions, do not dismiss it: Try to explain or find a better time to have a conversation about it.

  2. Become an observant parent: Your child may take notice of a blind person and decide not to ask any question. Start a conversation about what they saw and offer to explain.

  3. If offering help, involve your child: Maybe you might get your child to share a candy with a blind child. Through that, your child will learn that in order to extend a hand to a blind person, they must talk, rather than just using gestures. Your child might need to say something like, “here’s a candy for you”

  4. If the time is right, maybe your child is above five years old, show them the similarities between them and blind children. This may spark interest in your child to ask more questions, or to want to associate with the blind child.

Benefits of Involving Your Child In These Efforts

No doubt it will take you some time to teach your child about blindness, but the results are worth doing it.

  1. Builds skills that your child grow up with since early childhood

  2. Builds empathy and emotional intelligence

  3. Helps your child understand distinctions in a positive manner

  4. Promotes inclusion of blind peers within your child’s mind

  5. Protects blind children from bullying

  6. Removes societal stereotype about blind people in your child’s way of thinking

Resources to Help You Accomplish This Goal

  • Your example: Your child is closely observing how you treat people, and this will go a long way in their mind as they are growing up. Your good example will influence how they view blind people.

  • Media: Videos are a powerful teaching tool, and children learn a lot by watching. Playing and discussing tailor made videos such as Love All Sorts of People may help your child appreciate differences in people and view everyone as equally important regardless of them being blind.

  • Spending time with blind people: If your child constantly sees blind people around you, they may develop some sense of compassion towards them, making them want to associate with such kids.

  • Art: Never underestimate the power of picture drawings. You could find scenarios that involve blind children and ask your child how they would react if they met that character in the image. What the child sees will stay in their mind and influence their conduct towards blind people.

How will it feel to get credit for your child’s acts of kindness? If your child seeks opportunities to associate with blind children, many will notice it, and the first person they will think of is you, the child’s parent. Imagine the joy your sacrifice will bring you! This is a process, and as your child grows, you will need to keep educating them about blindness, and all this will be built on the foundation you laid when they were young. Baylor University has published an article that can help you teach your child about disability in different ages. Let us conclude this three-part article series by focusing on telling a child that they are blind in our next article.

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